CARSON CITY — As Colton Peterson waited for the handoff on the final stretch of the 4x100 relay, only one thing was going through his mind.
This was his team’s final chance at winning a state championship after spending the last three years running together and breaking school record after school record. The last 100 meters never meant so much.
After grabbing the baton from Reid Clyburn, Peterson, with Drake Copley and Broder Thurston screaming him on, raced down the final stretch, neck and neck with Desert Pine’s Jay Vone Bradford. As both leaned across the finish line, uncertainty overcame the arena. Who won?
A 15-minute review ensued. Fallon’s “Big Four” sat on the bench in front of the awards podium, hand in hand and their heads down, awaiting their fate. As the results were announced, a photo-finish review was revealed to determine the winner. Two-thousandths (0.002) of a second was the difference in Fallon winning the Division 3A state title on Friday at Carson High School.
“When I saw him running that runway, I could just picture Broder and everyone screaming at me,” Peterson said. “I gave it my all. We all knew we won that. That was our race. We worked three years for it. It was gut wrenching.”
The review consisted of three officials examining a photo of the finish with the computer system drawing lines within the collage of still frames. Different angles of the photo were blown up and examined but in the end, Bradford’s torso twist at the end was the difference. Desert Pines won the race with a time of 42.698.
“It was awful. Waiting that 15 minutes was probably the worst part about it,” Thurston said. “Getting our hopes up thinking that we had it and then it being 2 thousandths of a second really stunned us.”
Peterson jumped high in the air off the bench while his teammates walked to the podium stunned. Competing for the final time in the 4x100 – they still had the 4x200 on Saturday – came to a shocking and dramatic end for the quartet. But they did break the school record in the 4x100 for the third time.
“It was a little devastating that we lost by that much,” Clyburn said. “We went out there and gave it all we got. We had smooth handoffs and really fast splits. That was one of our best races. We couldn’t have gotten any better.”
The next day was less dramatic but yielded the same result. Fallon finished 0.06 seconds behind Desert Pines for the state title in the 4x200 but this core broke the school record for the fifth time since becoming a unit. This race, however, they shaved 2 seconds off their record time from last weekend in the regional meet, finishing it in 1:28.93.
“We were all really motivated to better today than we did yesterday. I still believe we competed phenomenally yesterday,” Copley said after Saturday’s race. “We ran the best we could have. We competed well and we all ran hard. It shows by breaking our school record by 2 seconds.”
Although they won the silver in both races, their legacy has been cemented in the school record books.
“They’re absolutely the best and they’ve got the time to prove it. Proof is in the time,” Fallon boys coach Keith Sluyter said.