And then there was one.
One race left in the 2014 season, and just one runner who could say he got the better of Bayfield's Trevor Gabbard. The BHS senior wasn't stressing at all this week, prior to tomorrow's Class 3A State Cross-Country Championships.
"It was a lot better than last time," Gabbard said of his second-place result at last Friday morning's 3A-Region I Championships, held at Confluence Park in Delta. Referring to the season-opening Delta Invitational in August, "I cramped last time, it hurt-it's nice not to be in pain."
"He ran a really good race," BHS Head Coach Joshua Walton said afterwards. "Needed to be in the top 15 to make it to state.ran with first-place for much of the race!"
"Much" meant practically "all," except for 3.81 seconds at the very end. Basalt senior Zach Walsh strode over the finish line and before Gabbard stopped the clock at 16:30.67-helping Bayfield's boys to a seventh-place showing.
"As a team we ran probably the best we have all season," said Gabbard, "but it wasn't enough."
With only the top five teams advancing to Colorado Springs, the Wolverines' 138 points was close, but over 20 more than fifth-place Olathe's 116. Gunnison won the boys' regional title.
But that didn't mean the Wolverines had a bad day; young #2 harrier Alex Knight finished his season a strong 21st in 18:02.41, with even younger #3 Sloan Mazur (18:25.96) close behind in 27th, just over a second from snatching at least a point from OHS and 26th-placer Misael Roque.
Bryan Gram took 49th in 19:46.28 and Joey Sandrey came home 56th in 20:18.40.
In the girls' race, Rachel Cooper was an outstanding near-miss for State, placing 18th in 21:48.53. Amber Johnson took 40th in 24:44.89, but the Lady Wolverines registered no team score as injuries claimed both Bridget Goddard and Brittany Birk during the race, and Lexa Fleming long before it.
"They both had to drop out," said Walton of Goddard and Birk, "but they tried their best and we're proud of 'em! Lexa did not run because of an injury she's had the past couple weeks."
Montezuma-Cortez won the regional girls' title.
The state meet is tomorrow at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, with Gabbard and the rest of the 3A boys scheduled to start at 10 a.m.