Widefield's Jordan Edmonds and Falcon's Kalen Ballage didn't pump their fists or holler at the bleachers at Garry Berry Stadium after they won multiple events at the Cougar Classic Invitational on Friday.
Instead, they gave a quick smile and cautiously walked off the track, eager for the ice bath that awaited them.
They know the main event is still to come.
After leg injuries sunk both sprinters at last year's state meet, Edmonds and Ballage continued their quests for a second chance at a state title as the Gladiators' junior showed off with wins the 100 and 200-meter runs in the girls' events while the Falcons' senior won the 100, anchored his 400 relay to another win and took second in the 200 in boys' action.
"It feels really good to get this win. But the main thing is how I feel for state," said Edmonds, who was slowed down at the state meet due to right knee tendinitis last season and eventually finished outside the top five in the 4A 100 and 200. "I'm still dealing with tendinitis and I'll probably just have to deal with it going forward."
Currently, Edmonds has the fastest time in the 100 at 12.2 seconds and the third-fastest time in the 200 at 25.29. She broke neither time on Friday.
Different than Edmonds, however, Ballage, an Arizona State football signee, has no lingering pain following last season's hamstring injury - proving that with more than 3,000 all-purpose yards during this past football season.
Now, at 230 pounds (20 pounds heavier than he was last year at this time), Ballage said he is feeling confident that his newfound strength can help himself, as well as Falcon's sprint relays, going forward.
"I just feel powerful out there. I'm not meaning to gain weight, but it just happens with all the work I'm putting in lifting and stuff (in preparation for football)," Ballage said. "I don't feel as strong right now though after five events today. My legs feel like noodles."
Overall, Palmer Ridge and TCA tied for first with 59 points in the boys' standings, while Palmer Ridge (66) finished runner-up to Niwot (70) on the girls' side.