Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
LAKEWOOD – For a brief second, as he began the final lap of the 3,200-meter run at the Class 5A state track and field meet on Saturday, Monarch’s Charlie Perry snagged the lead from teammate Isaac Green.
“Almost every race, I get this little moment where I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can beat him,’ and then I try to go,” Perry said. “And he’s like, ‘No, not today,’ and he just goes. When he goes, you can’t catch him. He’s unbelievable.”
When Perry passed him, Green smiled and then bolted past his teammate and never looked back, claiming the first of what he hopes is four event championships at Jefferson County Stadium.
“It’s a good start,” said Green, who finished the race in 9 minutes, 26.39 seconds to edge Perry (9:27.37) by less than a second. Another Coyote, senior Zach Litoff, finished third, in 9:31.28.
“I was really happy winning the two-mile and even better getting 1-2-3,” Green said.
Later in the day, Green added another championship, helping the Coyotes claim the 3,200-meter relay for the second consecutive year.
Green and Litoff teamed up with juniors William Dixon and Sean Gazarik to win the relay with a time of 7:50.04 – more than 7 seconds ahead of second-place Legend.
In winning the 3,200 meters in the morning, Green claimed the fourth individual state title of his career, including cross country championships in 2015 and 2016 and the 1,600 meters at the 2015 state track meet.
In just his second competitive 3,200-meter run, Green stayed with the pack most of the race. It wasn’t until about 1,000 meters to go that he and Perry moved to the front.
“This one, it was definitely more tactics,” Green said. “Since we had three guys in it, we had an opportunity to really control the race and take the race over. We’re lucky because we have some guys with kicks, so we can afford to go out relatively slow.”
Knowing Perry isn’t too fond of kicking at the end of a race, Green waited for his teammate to make a move at some point.
“I was running up on the turn and he just comes flying by and I was like, ‘OK, let’s go Charlie,'” Green said.
The duo cruised to the finish together, although they had very different thoughts down the stretch.
Green said because Perry is still developing as a runner, “He’s kind of an unknown quantity. It’s just one of those things where I don’t know what he’s going to pull out. I don’t know how fast he’s to go. I wasn’t sure if he was still there (at the end).”
Perry, meanwhile, knew that the win was in Green’s hands. He was more worried about being caught by Litoff.
“You always want to go for the win, but with a guy like Isaac, it’s kind of hard to take him in the last 200,” Perry said. “He’s so fast in the last part of the race.”
Green and the Coyotes were fast in the 3,200-meter relay, as well, and closed the day with 35 team points, good enough for second place going into Sunday.
Aiming for their first-ever team title, the Coyotes are depending heavily on their distance runners. Green is favored to win the 800 and 1,600 on Sunday, with several teammates also competing in those races.
“We can’t afford to make a mistake and luckily we started off pretty well,” Green said.
For the Monarch girls, senior Audrey Lookner placed eighth in the 5A 3,200-meter run. That race was dominated by Grandview’s Brie Oakley, who set a new Colorado prep record with a time of 10:09.26, breaking the previous mark of 10:17.48 by Niwot’s Elise Cranny in 2014. Lauren Gregory of Fort Collins was second place and also topped Cranny’s time, finishing in 10:16.43.
The girls closed the day with a sixth-place finish in the 3,200 relay.