Grand Junction Kieran Corrigan collapsed as he crossed the finish line.
"I gave it everything I had," the Soroco High School senior runner said Friday from the Region 4 Championships in Grand Junction.
Behind great 800-meter runs from Kyle Hendrickson, Johnny DeCosta, Jesus Garcia and Corrigan, the Rams on Friday qualified for state in the 3,200-meter relay and won the Region 4 championship.
Paonia's relay team took the lead early and held it until Corrigan grabbed the baton for the anchor leg. He blew past Eagles anchor Josh Burns, running a 55.5 split on his first 400 and held on in the final 100.
"It has been our goal to make it to state since last year," DeCosta said.
Soroco placed fourth at the Region 5 meet in 2005. The top three individuals and relays in each event qualify for state, so the Rams just missed out last spring.
"I was no nervous," said DeCosta, who began warming up for the race more than an hour before it started.
Soroco arrived at Stocker Stadium just after 7 a.m. Friday. Events did not begin until 9 a.m. Two hours is a long time to think about the season being cut abruptly short.
Fortunately for Garcia, a senior, he will get his shot to run on the Dutch Clark Stadium track in Pueblo. Hendrickson, DeCosta and Corrigan already had qualified in the 1,600-meter relay.
The relay finals are today.
After stiff competition for the final spot on the 3,200-meter relay, Garcia emerged as the frontrunner, something that was important to him in his final year, he said.
Friday was mostly a day for preliminaries in Class 2A, but it was a big day for Corrigan. Not only did he anchor the 3,200-meter relay to a regional championship, but he also won a regional championship in the 1,600, turning in a personal best time of 4 minutes, 35.55 seconds.
Soroco's Emily Hallenbeck narrowly missed qualifying for state in the triple jump, placing fourth.
Individual and relay finals begin at 8 a.m. today at Stocker Stadium.