LAKEWOOD — Before this season began, Isaac Green saw great potential in his teammates.
The Monarch junior has been an individual state champion in the past, but on Thursday he saw his vision for his teammates come to fruition as the Coyotes raced to the Class 5A state title in the boys 3,200-meter relay at Jefferson County Stadium.
"Getting the state title with the team, I'd rather win nothing as an individual and win one with a team," said Green, a junior who won the 5A 1,600-meter title in 2015 and the 5A state cross country title in the fall. "It's incredible, that feeling with the guys."
Green teamed with Ben Hogan, Zach Litoff and Will Dixon for Thursday's championship run, as the group set a school record with a time of 7 minutes, 51.57 seconds. The other three had never competed in state, but Green felt long ago that this could be a special group.
"We made this goal the first day of track that we could be that 4x8 team that goes and wins the state meet," he said. "It's just what we've strived for all year. The feeling of attaining the goal is just incredible."
Green said this was the first year Litoff, a junior, has put his full effort into running and "you saw how good of a runner he actually was."
Inspired by his sister, Ashley, who was a part of Monarch's state championship girls cross country teams, Litoff said, "I've always wanted to win state and it feels amazing."
It was also a breakout year for Dixon, a sophomore.
The whole group was running for Hogan, however. A senior, Hogan had never qualified for state, but made the most of it.
"I've never ran with this big of a crowd and this crazy of a competition field, and I have all my buddies cheering me on," Hogan said. "The atmosphere is just amazing."
Hogan got things started for the Coyotes, running a personal record time and putting the team in first. Litoff kept the Coyotes close to the front on the second leg, and then Dixon kept the pace during the third leg before handing off to Green.
"If you give Isaac a shot and you put him within 3 or 4 seconds (of the lead), you know he's got it," Dixon said. "He's got the all determination in the world."
In third place when he got the baton, Green took the lead with about 175 meters to go and didn't relinquish it.
"It would be impossible without people running the way they did," he said in crediting his teammates.
Monarch needed a record-breaking performance because second-place Boulder was sensational. The Panthers broke a 45-year school record in the race, crossing the line in 7:53.97.
Seniors Eli and Isaac Fournier and juniors Gage Hornung and Sam Primozich teamed up for Boulder's record run.
Boulder's previous school record was 7:57, set in 1971 by Roger and Ron Bunnell, Mark Gilmore and Paul Smith.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.