Stand at the finish line at the state cross country meet and it’s clear that the runners involved put their heart and soul into that race.

Those who qualify for state are some of the best-conditioned high school athletes around. The elite runners are putting in dozens of miles a week. Often, they’ll do warm up runs of 3-5 miles without hardly breaking a sweat. Yet, when it comes to state, many of the competitors cross the line with nothing left in their tanks. And, shortly after cross the finish, there’s nothing left in their stomachs, either.

Yeah, the finish line is where you’re going to see all the emotions of the runners. But, watch where you step. Countless runners at Saturday’s state meet lost their lunch upon completion of the hardest race of the season. Some could barely walk when it was over because of the complete exhaustion that took over their bodies.

My favorite scene from Saturday: Shortly after receiving his Class 4A eighth-place medal, Skyline’s Connor Timms was making his way back to the Falcons’ tent. He was obviously spent. I had interviewed Connor several minutes earlier; he’s always a good quote. As he slowly made his way across the terrain, I walked by him and said, “So, Connor, did you run until it hurt today?”

“Oh yeah,” he said, literally 2 seconds before doubling over and throwing up.

“Wow, I guess you did,” I joked. “Did you run harder today than you did for any race this season?”

“Definitely,” he said.

I could do without seeing dozens of teenagers vomiting, but it is awesome to watch these athletes at their best, knowing they are giving complete and total effort to making this event one to remember.