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Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
Erie’s Matthew Sease, left, and Centaurus’ Brooks Macdonald collide as they cross the finish line together in the 4A Region 3 race at Lyons High School Thursday. Sease was awarded first place.

LYONS — Together, Erie’s Matthew Sease and Centaurus’ Brooks Macdonald formed a muddy, calamitous heap of exhausted limbs and spraying grass just across the finish line.

But for nearly 20 minutes after their dramatic finish to the 4A Region 3 boys cross country championships on Thursday, neither would-be champion knew who had won the photo finish.

Both runners crossed the 5K finish line at Lyons High School with an official time of 17 minutes, 3 seconds. Since the official times were not measured to tenths or hundredths of a second, the race officials turned to the finish line photo to determine the winner.

After examining the photo finish, race officials determined that Sease had tumbled over the line ahead of Macdonald. The margin was only two inches.

“It was great, it was fun, it was a thrill, it hurt a lot,” Sease gasped after the race. “It hurt so bad and then it all just went numb. I just sprinted all out and I was just trying to get ahead of him at the end. Even if he won, I’d be just as happy.”

Drafting at the back of the lead pack most of the race, Sease began to pass runners in the final mile. As they entered the football stadium at Lyons High School with the finish line in sight, Sease made his move on Macdonald, who led nearly the entire race. In the final 50 meters, Sease and Macdonald battled shoulder to shoulder until Sease gained a slight advantage before the pair tumbled across the finish line and into the rain-soaked grass.

“I was pretty solidly in the lead but right as we entered the stadium, I just see this flash go by me,” Macdonald said. “At that point I just started sprinting with everything I had but it was a really even match and I couldn’t quite haul him in.”

The top four teams and the top 15 individuals from each regional qualify for the 4A state championships in Colorado Springs on Oct. 31.

Macdonald’s Centaurus Warriors took first place in the Region 3 team scoring. Erie was a close second and Niwot was third. Also at Lyons High School on Thursday, the Silver Creek boys team took third in the 4A Region 4 championships and Longmont was fourth. Individually, Silver Creek’s Brock Dykema placed third in 16:57. Longmont’s Sean Kilcullen was fourth in 17:05.

In 4A Region 3 girls race, Niwot won the team championship, Centaurus was third and Holy Family was fourth. Olivia Rogers (Centaurus) took second in 19:30 and Niwot’s Emily Cranny took fourth in 20:00.

The Silver Creek girls finished third in Region 4. Mikayla Gaffney led the team in second place with a time of 19:12.

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

4A Region 4 championships

At Lyons H.S.

Boys

State qualifying teams — Thompson Valley 63, Mountain View 68, Silver Creek 87, Longmont 116.

Top 15 individuals — 1. Jarrett Thollot, Thompson Valley, 16:32; 2. Peter Franklin, Mountain View, 16:46; 3. Brock Dykema, Silver Creek, 16:57; 4. Sean Kilcullen, Longmont, 17:05; 5. Logan Simington, Thompson Valley, 17:07; 6. Cale Englert, Windsor, 17:08; 7. Cade Bickmore, Longmont, 17:09; 8. Conner Shaver, Fort Morgan, 17:10; 9. James Lee, Silver Creek, 17:10; 10. Elijah Grewal,Berthoud, 17:12; 11. Andrew Hanson, Mountain View, 17:13; 12. Arturo Toro, Greeley Central, 17:22; 13. Josh Torres, Northridge, 17:22; 14. Mark Boden, Skyline, 17:31; 15. Hayden Falkinburg, Skyline, 17:35.

Girls

State qualifying teams — Mountain View 51, Thompson Valley 56, Silver Creek 123, Roosevelt 125.

Top 15 individuals — 1. Lauren Offerman, Mountain View, 19:10; 2. Mikayla Gaffney, Silver Creek, 19:12; 3. Madi Kenyon, Roosevelt, 19:49; 4. Emily Leidig, Thompson Valley, 19:51; 5. Rachel Franklin, Mountain View, 19:55; 6. Sophia Maeda, Mead, 19:56; 7. Emily Black, Thompson Valley, 20:14; 8. Kelsey Lagunas, Roosevelt, 20:23; 9. Taylor Stinson, Silver Creek, 20:27; 10. Taylor Petty, Mountain View, 20:30; 11. Izze Johnson, Thompson Valley, 20:31; 12. Tori Thomas, Windsor, 20:34; 13. Denisse Ojeda, Greeley Central, 20:35; 14. McKenna Dellinger, Mountain View, 20:42; 15. Gracy Roitsch, Thompson Valley, 20:42.

4A Region 3 championships

At Lyons H.S.

Boys

State qualifying teams — Centaurus 53, Erie 57, Niwot 74, Standley Lake 100.

Top 15 individuals — 1. Matthew Sease, Erie, 17:03; 2. Brooks Macdonald, Centaurus, 17:03; 3. Anthony Willert, Erie, 17:15; 4. Trevor Smith, Standley Lake, 17:20; 5. John O’Malley, Centaurus, 17:02; 6. Isaac Flores, Niwot, 17:23; 7. Riverz Flores, Denver North, 17:24; 8. David McGill, Centaurus, 17:27; 9. Johanes Alem, Denver South, 17:28; 10. Kenny Lang, Niwot, 17:31; 11. Jonah Munoz, Holy Family, 17:43; 12. Ethan Steiner, Niwot, 17:48; 13. Jacob Schipper, John F. Kennedy, 17:49; 14. Luke Simeon, Erie, 17:53; 15. Tanner Price, Holy Family, 18:04.

Girls

State qualifying teams — Niwot 45, Centaurus 46, Standley Lake 96, Holy Family 108.

Top 15 individuals — 1. Kayla Young, Denver North, 18:12; 2. Olivia Rogers, Centaurus, 19:30; 3. Emma Abernathy, Standley Lake, 19:37; 4. Emily Cranny, Niwot, 19:53; 5. Jenna McCaffrey, Niwot, 20:00; 6. Esmeralda Baltierra, Denver South, 20:09; 7. Helen Glover, Centaurus, 20:12; 8. Maggie Smith, Niwot, 20:14; 9. Brooke Calvo, Centaurus, 20:16; 10. Samantha Skeen, Denver North, 20:23; 11. Kika Napierkowski, Holy Family, 20:32; 12. Claire Gillett, Niwot, 20:36; 13. Molly Maskin, Centaurus, 20:50; 14. Crystal Perez, Skyview, 20:50; 15. Maggie Moline, Centaurus, 20:50.