"The original plan was to try to take it out easier but my 4:46 1st mile was not part of the plan," said Harvey Nelson (Sr., Catalina Foothills - photo left in white).
Nelson wanted to take it out more conservatively through the first mile but Lucky Schreiner (Jr., Campo Verde - photo left in green) was on his heels.
And then there was the coyote who entered the race at a mile and a quarter.
I didn't see the coyote until it passed me on the top of the hill," said Nelson with a chuckle. "At first I thought it was Lucky with a serge to try and pass me. Then the coyote went by."
Schreiner eventually passed Nelson and with 800 meters to go it looked as though his lead was strong enough to give him the win but Nelson saw an opportunity.
"I could see Lucky had a hitch in his stride and he kept looking around," continued Nelson. "I saw an opening and decided I was going to muscle through the pain."
And painful it WAS. "It didn't feel good….it hurt…. but it was me willing myself to see if I could live with it."
Lucky dove for the finish line as Nelson kept sprinting through it and for a short time Nelson wasn't sure who came over the line first.
Nelson won the race in 15:25.64 leading his team to a team victory. Schreiner finished with a time of 15:26.06. Three more runners finished under 16 minutes with Nathan Thomas (Jr., Salpointe) taking 3rd in 15:52.12 followed by Emmanuel Hidalgo (Jr., McClintock) in 15:55.48 and Tyler Beauchamp (So., Saguaro) in 15:558.96.
Emilio Vasquez (photo right) was the next runner for Catalina Foothills finishing 6th with a time of 16:01.16.
Also scoring for Catalina Foothills - senior Vetle Bergmann (22nd, 16:38.44), freshman Sam Pershing (55th, 17:26.43) and junior David Cai (64th, 17:32.12).
Greenway High School took home the 2nd place trophy with the help of senior Austin Lavin (19), junior David Borja (23), sophomore Richard Delara (26), junior Steven Navarro (44) and sophomore Estevan Camacho (45).
On the girls side Tatiana Gillick (Sr., Flagstaff - photo left) brought home her 3rd cross country State Championship with a winning time of 18:28.96 over teammate Alix Manci (Jr., 19:05.79 - photo right).
Gillick took the lead at the gun and improved it steadily thoughout the race. By the time she reached the mile and a quarter mark comments such as "wow, she looks like she is just out for a jog" could be heard from the crowd.
Flagstaff won the team title with an impressive 34 points over Catalina Foothills with 87 points.
Following Gillick and Manci in the 1 -2 spots were 5th place finisher Fiona Nicholson (Jr., 19:24.65), 8th place finisher Rae Johnson (Sr., 19:37.75) and 18th place finisher Ashley Onsae (Sr., 19:58.27).
Scoring for Catalina Foothills were Junior Hannah Whetzel (6), Junior Alessandr Vanasco (10), Senior Anza Wiedenkeller (21), Senior Autumn Brown (23) and Senior Jillian Dawley (27).
Megan Reniewicki (So., Arcadia) finished 3rd in the race with a time of 19:15.97 followed by Carissa Diaz (Jr., Vista Grande) in 19:22.11. Fiona Nicholson (Flagstaff) rounded out the top 5.
Harvey and his running partner.......
Photo by Marylin Aune (Harvey Nelson's Aunt)