It may have been one of the most dramatic finishes at any cross country state championship meet.
Campo Verde junior Lucky Schreiner had the Division II individual state title in his sights as he led heading down the hill to the finish line at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix on Saturday.
But the finish was not so lucky for Schreiner, who suffered a heartbreaking loss at the wire despite a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 26 seconds.
Near the end, Schreiner looked back to see where Harvey Nelson of team-champion Tucson Catalina Foothills was since Nelson was coming on with a strong kick. Schreiner then decided to dive into the finish line. Schreiner who had a 10-meter lead down the stretch figured he could cruise to victory and was running out of gas.
In a photo finish, the computer decided Nelson was the winner in 15:25, and Schreiner's distant consolation being he will be back next year looking for that elsuive state title.
"Coach said if I had my bib up higher I might have won it," Schreiner said. "It's kind of tough. I keep losing to seniors (last year as a sophomore finishing runner-up in the 1600 and 3200 meters in track at the state meet). Nelson is a tough runner, I beat him by a second at the (Desert Twilight race in September), give him credit today he won the one that counted the most."
"I had not talked to him yet about the finish, it looked like in that moment he lunged at the finish line," Campo Verde coach Josh Appelbach said. "He ran a great race, except the last couple of meters. It's not the day we pictured the way his day going. Last year was just his first year in track and has come so far and I'm excited to see where he goes from here."
Schreiner had beaten Nelson by 18 seconds to win the sectional race, was two seconds off first place after a mile and led at the two-mile mark. He came down the hill, and, even though the PA announced Schreiner as the likely winner.
"I saw him coming out of the corner of my eye ansd then I dove to the finish line, it may keep me awake for awhile," Schreiner said. "It was a (personal best) on a tough hill course. Last year, I was doing a cooldown run during awards because I didn't think 21st place was given a medal. I'm still happy and had a great year. I will continue to improve my times, get stronger and hope to win it next year."
Saguaro finished fifth as a team led by Tyler Beauchamp's fifth-place finish at 15:58 and Alex Stevens finished seventh. Emmanuel Hilgago of McClintock finished fourth at 15:55.
On the girls' side, Tatiana Gillick of Flagstaff (18:28) won her third straight Div. II individual state championship, as her team won the team title with 34 points. Saguaro finished fifth as a team led by 14th place from Jelani Huma.
Queen Creek was ninth despite talented Lucy Hilarides not running. Freshman Alexus Navarro had a 13th place finish.
In Division III, Rio Rico had a 1-2 finish with Oscar Amaya (15:47) taking the honors, but Rio Rico finished as the runner-up to Tuba City who had four top-ten finishers. Freshman Alexandra Schadler (18:38) won the individual title leading Rio Rico's girls to the team championship.
In Division IV, Hopi once again won the boys team championship. Josh Hoskinson (16:14) of Arizona Lutheran cruised to a 18 second win.
Scottsdale Prep's girls had a solid third-place team effort. Charlotte Moore led the way with 4th place (19:58). Amber Miller added a 9th and Madison Babione 13th.
Hopi girls won the team title and Valentina Nyhart of Northland Prep (19:58) the indiviudal title.