FOUNTAIN - A needle poking through the bottom of the foot sounds like something that would prevent someone from running, but it’s helped The Classical Academy’s Mason Norman stay ahead of the pack in his final season of high school cross country.

Similar to acupuncture, dry needling allows treatment on tissue that lies deep inside a muscle. Norman had previously received the treatment on his hips, but the foot was a little more daunting.

“Right on the bottom,” Norman said. “That was probably the worst thing I’ve ever had to do, but it was more the anticipation of it than anything.”

The result was a first Colorado Springs Metro League win for the back-to-back defending state champion. Norman, who was second last year and third as a sophomore, won the 4A race Wednesday at Fountain-Fort Carson in 16 minutes, 24.31 seconds, while Rampart’s Ben Conlin crossed in 16:39.4 to claim the 5A title.

“I haven’t had a lot of chances to run with someone who’s really fast, so it was a lot of fun to be able to use him to push me,” Conlin said after his second straight 5A league title.

Liberty won the 5A boys’ title behind Oscar Goll and Colin Bervig, finishing third and fourth, while the Titans earned the win behind Norman in 4A.

Pine Creek won the 5A girls’ title behind freshman Lauren Boutelle’s 20:26:51. In 4A, freshman Sawyer Wilson was the first to finish in 20:00:6, roughly 30 seconds ahead of teammate Kennedy McDonald, giving The Classical Academy a sweep of the 4A individual and team honors.

“My coach told me to be a little bit conservative at the start and then kinda kick it in at the last part because at the last two races, I’ve kinda gone out full speed at the start and then kinda died a little bit,” Wilson said.

“It turned out it worked well.”

Wilson said she’s taking the rest of the season as it comes without any exact goals other than maintaining where she’s at and staying healthy. Her senior teammate on the boys’ team might have some suggestions.

“Last year, I got injured and I think that was part of the reason because I wasn’t doing something like that,” Norman said of his new-age treatment. “But this year, I've stayed away from injury pretty well, and I think it’s because I’m doing that type of stuff and staying on top of it, because obviously, it sucks to get needled but it’s much better than not being able to run for two weeks.”

The hope for Norman, who plans to have a college decision made in the coming weeks, is that there are a couple of more first-place finishes at regionals and state left.

“I definitely want to focus on trying to hit the same time that I hit last year at state, because that was a really good race for me,” Norman said. “And I’d like to be able to perform better than that this year.”