COLORADO SPRINGS — Monarch's Charlie Perry was given a lot of freedom this cross country season, racing just four times for the Coyotes and often doing a lot of his own training in order to prepare for what Saturday brought him.
At the Class 5A state cross country meet at the Norris Penrose Event Center, it was Perry who ran with little resistance when all was said and done. Following in the footsteps of now-graduated teammate Isaac Green, Perry made it three straight individual state titles for MoHi's boys as he was all alone entering the stadium finish on a cool morning in the Springs.
Perry turned in a classification meet record time of 15 minutes, 36.8 seconds — making it a perfect 5-for-5 this year in races won for the senior.
"I feel awesome, and this is something I've dreamed of since my freshman year," Perry said. "It was a good dream back then, you know, you wake up from sleeping and are just like, 'I had a dream I won state.' But to finally do it, and in my final race for cross country in Colorado senior year, it's a big deal."
Perry is no stranger to top-five finishes at state, placing third last year in 16:06.30 in helping the Coyotes to the team title. Knowing he had a chance to finish well with the right plan, Perry actually enjoyed a nice taper this week after winning the regional race.
With much cooler temperatures and a good mindset, Perry cut 30 seconds off his time of a year ago and outpaced Rock Canyon's Chris Theodore by nearly six full seconds.
"Racing a little less was a big benefit today, and I was able to just kind of keep my mileage through the weeks just training through," Perry said. "My coach and I had a plan since the start realizing that (winning state) was what I wanted to do. There just weren't races I needed to run. Being able to taper this last week, it felt fantastic and I think it worked for everybody, really."
The Coyotes were ramped up to defend their team title, and with Will Dixon's ninth place finish (16:01.6) and Isaac Russo's 13th place (16:04), Monarch was certainly in the conversation as the first team to have three runners in.
It was Mountain Vista, though, that had six runners place in the top 22 to pull out the team title, and Monarch ended up in fourth as a team with 118 points.
Dixon was pleased with how the coaches set the team up for the race, which saw four seniors lead the way.
"We had the mindset that every person one through seven was going to matter," Dixon said. "We came out with a right mindset to run relaxed, just not blow up too early.
"Charlie is one of the smartest runners I know and he knows exactly when to strike. He did his job and it was awesome."
Boulder once again had a good grouping among their top four — a younger crew, at that — to lead the Panthers to seventh place. Juniors Orion Pipersky and Caleb Hardy finished in the top 40 while freshman Lukas Haug and sophomore Carson Williams placed in the top 47.
Fairview placed 14th led by John Parker (50th, 16:52), and Broomfield's Michael Mooney led the Eagles' effort with a seventh place individual finish.