Griffin Hay and David Garcia totaled 19 points between them to pace the Fort Collins effort. Photo by Jeff McCoy.
It's been a few years since the Fort Collins boys have been on top. The girls have more than made up for it in the interim, but the boys from the Fort are officially back on top.
And they made it look easy.
Not that holding onto holding onto a sub-17 pace over hill and dale and through rollings waves of dust is easy. Fort Collins just handled it better than the rest of the field. Not in an artistic sort of way, but in a workmanlike, bring-your-lunch-pail-to-the-job-site kind of way.
In a front pack that never really broke up--the spacing merely grew a little wider on the second loop than it was on the first--Fort Collins maintained the strongest presence. David Garcia, Griffin Hay, and Tait Rutherford all claimed places in the top 15. Heritage and Monarch, the two teams going in that figured to have the best chance of keeping Fort Collins out of first, couldn't piece together that kind of effort under the conditions.
Second place went to Heritage and third to Mountain Vista in an impressively sound effort under the adverse conditions of the state meet. Mountain Vista was barely getting any top 10 votes in the rankings at the close of the invitational season, but proved they had been overlooked a little. Monarch, with only one runner in the top 40, dropped to fifth in the team standings.
For a long time, it seemed as if no individual wanted the lead. Justin Lane of Overland held a lead better than a mile into the race, but paid dearly for that on the second lap, ending up in 93rd place.
Dakota Ridge's Danny Carnery and Columbine's Will Kincaid bided their time, allowing the various pretenders to the throne to expend their energy setting the pace just in front of them. But, by the second ascent of Powerline Climb, it was clearly Kincaid and Carney who had the most left in the tank. Keagan Vargo valiantly tried to break free from the rest of the lead pack to join Carney and Kincaid, but the legs didn't have enough left to respond as needed. Down the long finish straight, Carney, too, found the pace too difficult to sustain, and Kincaid strode unaccompanied to a five-second margin of victory.