TCA coach Alan Versaw didn't stand before his team the night before the state cross country meet and jump into some long-winded speech about overcoming all obstacles and running for the guy next to you.

Versaw kept it simple.

"I told them they knew what they had to do, and that we didn't want that feeling we had at the end of last season," Versaw said.

Reminding his Titans of the disappointing eighth-place finish in the 3A state meet the season prior was more than enough motivation for the Titans. They knew what had to be done.

And despite a running a classification up in an extremely competitive 4A division, Conner Wilburn led all of the area runners in the classification with a fourth-place finish in 16 minutes, 44 seconds, as TCA took second place after five of its runners came in the top 50 at Norris-Penrose Event Center.

"We had a more business-like attitude this season," said Wilburn, who is leaning toward running at the Air Force Academy next fall. "I think our coach knew we didn't need to get any more pumped up for a meet. I think he saw it as added pressure for us.

"We ran the right race this year and it paid off."

That race built a foundation in 4A that the Titans hope to have for years to come, Versaw said. He said he hopes the boys' team can have even a part of the success at 4A that they had in 3A, where the boys won four state titles in the past decade.

"We would have liked to win it and all, but we had a good showing," the 14th-year coach at TCA said. "Our seniors and our team have set up a good start for us in this new classification so we're excited."

Brent W. New, The Gazette