LAKEWOOD — It took just one track and field state meet for Broomfield's Michael Mooney to develop a reputation as a crowd-pleaser and the architect of come-from-behind victories.
The Broomfield senior passed the leader in the final 100 meters of the Class 5A boys 3,200-meter run to win his first state title of the weekend on Thursday. What he did in the 1,600 on Saturday made Thursday's finish look downright boring.
Trailing Mountain Vista's Carter Dillon by nearly 10 meters coming around the final turn and into the last 100-meter stretch, Mooney kicked and chased down the leader. It took all of his effort and every inch of track, and both runners went tumbling over the finish line at Jefferson County Stadium.
Mooney rose to his feet to find out he had won the 1,600-meter state championship with a time of 4 minutes, 16.15 seconds.
Only two hundredths of a second separated Mooney's time from Dillon's.
"Coming around the turn I just kept saying to myself, 'I wanna win state. I wanna be state champion,'" Mooney said. "I just gutted it out as much as I could and I found that extra gear in my legs and caught him right at the line."
Mooney had a similar photo finish the week before at the St. Vrain Invitational to edge Niwot sophomore Cruz Culpepper by two hundredths of a second. But Saturday's finish happened to a roar of applause from several thousand people in the grandstands.
The event also took place immediately after his twin sister Madison Mooney placed second in the 5A girls 1,600 with a time of 5:54.52. Madison won in a field that saw Fairview's Marlena Preigh place third in 4:58.08, Boulder's Claudia Burgess place fourth in 4:58.13, Broomfield's Katelyn Mitchem place fifth in 5:00.0 after leading the first two laps and Legacy sophomore Brynn Siles place 5:02.88.
After claiming her second individual silver medal of the meet, Madison spent the following race screaming words of encouragement to her brother from atop the podium at the south end of the infield.
"I gave everything I had and that's all I can ask for with the second," Madison Mooney said. "We really work well off of each other and I think him seeing my race and the kick at the end motivated him. He really came back that last hundred and I was freaking out. I'm so happy for him and he deserves it. It was exciting. Man, that kid."
Though the rainy and windy conditions weren't ideal for most of the competitors on Saturday, they were perfect for Broomfield senior Mitchell Gorman. It was football weather and Gorman is a football player, so naturally that helped him not only win the 5A boys 300 hurdles in 37.83 seconds despite entering as the fifth seed but also break the Broomfield school record previously held by current Eagles coach Justin Hazzard.
"It pretty much never felt like I had it locked up," Gorman said. "Those guys are always right on your tail and you never know how hurdle eight can go. Hurdle eight is a killer. Winning was the goal all season and the secondary goal was taking down my coach's time for the school record, which was 38.1 and is now 37.8."
Also in 5A, the Boulder girls 1,600-meter relay team — Lily Margolis, Maria Chapman, Burgess and Lauren Neugeboren — placed fifth with a time of 4:01.67.