The track teams from Cedaredge High School put all the pieces together at just the right time.
The Bruins built off of the momentum from their last meet at home two weeks ago and the Cedaredge boys rallied to win the 2A state championship last weekend at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Sharing the spotlight were the Cedaredge girls, who finished a strong third in 2A team competition at the state meet.
Both Bruins squads showed signs that they were in for something special two weeks ago in Cedaredge and had reason to be confident going into the state meet.
"Absolutely we did," Cedaredge coach Kirby Henderson said as he accepted congratulations from the many Bruins fans who made the trip to Lakewood for the state meet. "We knew that a lot had to go our way and we had to get some help, but yeah, we thought we could win it."
Entering the final day of competition on Saturday, the Bruins boys trailed Lyons by two points. Then they had to hold off Resurrection Christian and its stable of outstanding sprinters and wound up winning with 98 points. Resurrection Christian was second at 85.
"Res and Lyons and all the schools competing the way they did is what brings the fire out in my athletes, and you can't go wrong with that," Henderson said.
Leading the way for Cedaredge was Shane Gates. On the final day of the state meet, in the last meet of his career, the standout senior won the 110 hurdles (15.79), the 300 hurdles (40.62) and the high jump when he cleared the bar at six feet, six inches.
"He really stepped up for us," Henderson said. "We knew he could lead, we knew he wanted to do it, we knew that he had a lot in him. We couldn't be more proud. It was so phenomenal for him. He's a new man after today, that's what we were so proud of. And the teammates responding to him, they were all superheroes today."
Gates was a man of few words after winning the 110 hurdles Saturday morning, although he might have known that the state title was in the Bruins' grasp even before it happened.
"We've had a great season, we've had a lot of stuff go our way," Gates said. "We've been improving a lot. And we're doing pretty well in this meet right now. We should be pretty well set up."
Junior Isaac Swoffer, a sprinter and key member of the relay teams, had praises for Gates and all of the Bruins boys.
"He's an athlete. And everyone else participated. It was great. We got the points that we needed when we needed them," Swoffer said. "Some people stepped up and got points that we weren't expecting and it was fantastic. It was a great experience and I'm ready for next year. I want to do it again."
Picking up key points for the Bruins were the four runners in the 4x100 relay.
Seniors Shawn Badding and Tyler Cooper ran the baton with Ty Grant and Swoffer and finished second in the event.
Gates, Cooper, Bryce Klaseen and Brendon Klaseen took second for Cedaredge in the 4x400 relay.
The Bruins also placed fourth in the 4x800 relay behind Jordan McMillan, Cooper, Drew Markley and Brendon Klaseen.
And Cedaredge got a second-place finish in the 4x200 relay when Grant, Cooper, Swoffer and Bryce Klaseen crossed the line in 1:33.78.
Not to be outdone were the Cedaredge girls.
"The girls were a real motivator for the boys," Henderson said. "This was the first top-three finish since 1993 for our girls and the second time ever. We were in the hunt for that second trophy and they're just a great group of kids. The boys and girls pushing each other like that was just amazing."
The highlight of the meet for the Bruins girls was the 4x100 relay team. Amber Jenkins, Shayna Dale, Kinzey Henderson and Kendall McHugh won the event for the third year in a row with their time of 50.11 seconds.
"They're so demanding of each other on that, they expect it of each other," Henderson said. "They get after it, they want to set those records, they want to get those PRs. They want to do some damage on the state level."
Katie Hyke won the shot put for Cedaredge with her throw of 38 feet, 6.75 inches.
"Last year we learned that we didn't know quite yet how to win on this stage," Henderson said. "We talked about it, the kids learned their lessons and they brought it back this year that they weren't going to let that happen again. So they executed the plan, they did what they could and a lot of boys and a lot of girls scored points for us this weekend and that was great. I couldn't be more proud as a coach."