With a mile to go it was a two-man race.
From the side of the trail at the National High School Trail Championships it looked like we had one hot battle on hand. And while it was true - we did - for Middagh and Brunner, it was a lot like it's been all summer long.
Two Battle Mountain teammates sharing the burn of the legs and lungs.
"It was pretty much felt like a team run," Brunner said. "It was so cool to be running with my best friend. But just because we're friends doesn't mean we're not competitive."
The two Battle Mountain juniors had run away from the field early, making the final kick to the finish a Battle Mountain-affair only.
Brunner unleashed a furious kick over the final half-mile.
The Battle Mountain junior went on to claim the National High School Trail Championship title, running 32:13, while teammate Middaugh finished just 15-seconds later, running 32:27.
"To get to run with my teammate, and be up in the mountain, it's awesome," Brunner said after the race. "To come here, it felt great to race again, and be out running against your friends, it was great."
Mountain Vista's Benjamin Anderson was a clear third-place place, and it would play a major roll in the team race, which came down to single digits.
One point separated the team champions from second - and third. And second and third were an actual tie that was eventually decided by 1-3 team average.
The Mountain Vista trio of Anderson, Daniel Romalia, and Milan Patel claimed the team title, tallying 46 points. Longmont and Fort Collins were a close second, with both squads tallying 47 points, though Longmont got the edge with the overall team average being several seconds faster.