Olathe Both the Lawrence High and Free State track teams managed to save their best for last at the regional meet Friday.
The Lawrence High girls' 4X400 relay team set a school record, while the Free State boys overcame a 23-point deficit in the running events alone to take the regional championship, 106-93, over LHS.
"The strength of our team is on the track," Free State coach Steve Heffernan said. "I knew coming out of the field that we had performed well enough that it would give us a chance to overtake people at the end."
The turning point for the Firebirds might have come in the two-mile.
After the 4X100 boys' relay team was disqualified, Heffernan feared his team might not have the boost needed to surpass Lawrence High.
The spark instead came from Gabe Moss, who entered the 3200 ranked sixth overall.
Though the sophomore would have been happy beating his previous record, he ended up surprising even himself with a third-place medal. His time of 10:17.90 topped his previous best by three seconds.
The Firebirds followed Moss' lead, ending the meet with a victory in the 4X400 relay.
"If he scored a point, I was going to be happy," Heffernan said. "For him to score six points and qualify for state was a big swing for us."
Meanwhile, the LHS girls also ended with a bang, as the 4X400 team of Jennifer Taylor, Courtney Barber, Sue Schwartz and Kristina Taylor smashed the previous school record of 3:57.54 with a 3:56.27.
The team, which has not lost since the Kansas Relays last month, ran in second for most of the race.
"Leavenworth was coming after them," LHS coach Scott Stidham said. "It was kind of fun to see how they responded to being behind like that."
The sophomore overcame a significant deficit down the stretch to take both the victory and the record.
All this after LHS coach Scott Stidham told the fatigued girls to focus on placing fourth to ensure themselves a spot in next week's state tournament.
"He seemed pretty excited," Kristina said. "He had a big smile on his face."