The National High School Trail Championship race came down to a photo finish for the boys, as brothers Sullivan and Porter Middaugh raced across the finish line just 0.02 second apart, with Porter diving forward trying to beat his older brother.

Sullivan, 17, finished with a time of 33 minutes, 32.47 seconds, while Porter, 15, finished at 33:32.49. The brothers are from Battle Mountain High School in Vail.

In the girls’ race, Aubrey Surage, 18, from Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, broke the girls’ course record by just a few seconds, with a time of 37:28.68.

The race course was 5.4 miles through the Arkansas Hills Trail System. It began on the north side of the F Street bridge and finished in Riverside Park.

Buena Vista’s 3,200 prep state champion Zaila Smith took fifth place in the girls race in 40 minutes, 29.86 seconds. Mallory Salazar finished ninth 43:08.30, Scarlett Smith was 34th in 1:00:15.23 and Erin Bigley was 35th with 1:03:24.02.

The experience was more than worth the effort, BVHS cross country coach Julia Fuller said.

“It is always so fun to get out there and run with other high school athletes especially in the offseason. We get to see another level of dedication and fun in off season training and competition,” she said.

“There were some incredible runners there this weekend, our BV crew ran course bests in the race, and it’s always so impressive to see what these athletes can do on a longer and harder course than anything they’ll see in the upcoming fall season. (This race was 5.4mi where a usual XC race is only 3.12mi),” Fuller said. “This is definitely setting them up for success and helps build such great confidence as runners.”

Representing Salida High School, Elijah Wilcox, who finished seventh in 3,200-meter race at the Colorado State High School Track and Field Championships last month, took third in the boys’ category with a time of 33:58.25.

“The race was really nice,” Wilcox said. “The weather was perfect. I had to run a bit tactically at the beginning, with all of the mud, slipping and sliding around, but I just kind of floated through.”

Also running for the Salida boys were Ezekiel Wilcox, 14, finishing 22nd with a time of 38:36.43; Kuper Banghart, 17, finishing 26th at 28:26.43; and Jackson Landry, 15, finishing 50th with a time of 45:02.42.

For the Salida girls, Emerson Reed, 14, finished 22nd at 51:44.22; Alexandra Hebert, 16, was 30th at 58:14.51; Quinn Smith, 16, was 31st at 58:16.38; and Kalister Banghart, 18, finished 39th with a time of 1:08:03.12.

Before the high school races the Beas Knees Citizens Race, a memorial to Brett Beasley, took place.

Isiah Rodarte, 23, won the Beas’ Knees race with a time of 33:31.80 for the men, while Tessa Holderman, 18, finished first for the women with a time of 41:13.69.

Fuller finished fifth in 47:14.72

“This was our fifth year holding this race, and I’m so grateful to continue to build on what we have done,” race coordinator and Salida High School cross-country coach Kenny Wilcox said. “We had racers from as far away as New York and California, and we are excited to keep expanding. Hoka (running shoes) came out this year to support us with awards and prizes, but we couldn’t have done this without all of the local support. We just can’t say thank you enough.”

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