After two ho-hum seasons in 2013, sprinters Octavia McFadden and Jaysean Skrine are hoping to push Fountain-Fort Carson to the next plateau.
On a rainy, overcast Saturday, they helped the Trojans dominate the sprinting events at the Palmer Terror Invite.
Mirroring one another - McFadden in the girls' events and Skrine in the boys' - the seniors helped Fountain-Fort Carson grab wins in the 100 meters, the 400-meter relays and the 800-meter relays at Garry Berry Stadium.
The Trojans took first in the boys' meet with 137 points and the girls took second (96) behind only Pine Creek (118.50) in the 21-team invite.
Widefield (72), led by Kyree Gerstle-Goodman's four wins, and Doherty (53) took second and third, respectively, on the boys' side, while Palmer (63) and Coronado (55) took fourth and fifth on the girls' half.
"We were just happy to finish a meet this season," said longtime Fountain-Fort Carson coach Ben Montoya, whose team had been snowed out of its previous three meets. "Luckily the rain didn't turn to snow. But, no, we did some good things today, and a lot of our sprinters did well. I'm happy about it."
His teams are hoping to improve upon last season at the Class 5A state meet where the boys finished second and the girls finished eighth.
While Montoya isn't one to talk about state goals, at least to the media, not even he could downplay the resurgence of runners like McFadden, who didn't qualify for an individual event at state last year, and Skrine, a transfer from Virginia.
A taste of confidence and a high level of in-team competition have made all the difference this season.
"I want to compete to be the best and help out in any way I can," said McFadden, who hopes to qualify in the 100 and 200 after missing the cut last year. "I think last year I was caught up only in my own competition and my own stuff. This year it's about helping the team and doing whatever it takes to get us to that next level."
Other Trojans wins came via Tevin Donnell in the boys' 200 (21.97 seconds), Drue Harris in the boys' 400 (50.35), Thomas Phillip Benjamin inn the boys' 800 (1:59.55), Duane McClurklin in the boys' high jump (6-feet, 71/2 inches), Chasidy Horton in the girls' long jump (17-1) and Rajon O'Quinn in the girls' high jump (5-8).
Jai'shawn Thompson, who was the 5A state champion in the boys' 200, meanwhile, is still recovering from a leg injury.
"These are some of the best sprint squads we've had here," Montoya said. "We have a busy last part of the season, and I'm excited to see what they can do."