After the start of the high school boys' Nordic race at Gold Run Nordic Center, Summit's Henry Trowbridge, Jackson Hill and Cameron Bobb were double poling up the initial gradient to the front of the pack.
With them were Evergreen's Nathan Maddox and Aspen's Hudson McNamee as the pursuit race got started.
The group stuck together, with Summit's Wade Rosko and Liam McDonnell and Colorado Rocky Mountain School's Nic Reitman joining pack as the transition from classic ski to skate ski approached.
The course, a 3.6-kilometer classic ski and 3.5-km skate ski section, was mostly flat due to the narrow loops necessary for the transition - which meant some of the skiers chose to use their stiffer skate skis throughout the race rather than transition. It meant the skiers double-poled throughout the first portion of the race.
As the boys' race came to a close, it was Hill and Trowbridge who raced for the win, with Hill coming out on top in 19 minutes, 24 seconds to Trowbridge's 19:51. In the earlier girls' race, Taeler McCrerey finished in 23:48, beating out Vail Mountain School's Katie Scruggs (24:20) and Aspen's Hailey Swirlbul (24:22).
Meanwhile, Miikka Wickman qualified for state, the last girls' skate skier to make the ranks, and the boys saw Kevin Curnutte and Tyler Shaw make the cut. It was the last skate ski event of the season, and five racers were left to qualify. Logan Ramsay and Anders Lewis did not make the state ranks in skate ski.
"Having a race at home is exciting because they get to ski it more and we get more people out for it," coach Hannah Taylor said, to which McDonnell added, "It was a fun race, getting to ski with the whole team."
With the race taking a different form as a pursuit race, it was a mental test, Billy Wilcox said.
"It screws around with your brain" to have to head out and come right past the finish line to transition before heading back out on the skate portion of the race.
It was a warm day for a race, too, which skiers enjoyed.
"This temperature is great to race in," Trowbridge said. "It's not every day you get to ski in a T-shirt."