LAKEWOOD - Through just two seasons of racing together TCA’s Kaylee Thompson and Katie Flaherty have developed an unspoken language that they use to their advantage mid-race.
The seniors used their telekinesis to their advantage on Saturday as Thompson and Flaherty took gold and silver, respectively, in the Class 3A 1,600 meters.
“This was our last race together so that was definitely the biggest motivator of the race,” said Thompson, who is the 3A cross country champion and won the 3,200 on Friday.
Thompson and Flaherty paced each other while silently sending encouragement, not really worried about who would finish in front.
“Going into the last 200 I was like, this is it, this is the last time racing in this uniform with these coaches, and everything just went away at that point and nothing hurt,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty made a pass on Thompson’s inside around the final corner, but the two were elbow-to-elbow a few strides later before Thompson made a pass in the final 10 feet.
“When I saw Katie pass me I yelled at her to go, and that kind of gave me energy too,” Thompson said.
She finished with a time of 5 minutes, 4.27 seconds, followed by Flaherty in 5:04.61.
“It was just unsaid. We are teammates, training partners, she’s one of my best friends in the whole world, so we are always going to be there for each other no matter who wins,” Flaherty said. “We knew we have to run for each other, and that was really our biggest mindset."
Flaherty entered the weekend’s last distance race seeded fourth and Thompson followed in fifth, with three Peak to Peak runners taking the top three seed times.
“We weren’t really thinking about anyone else going into this race,” Flaherty said. “We knew they were there, but we knew this was it for Kaylee and I, and we wanted to just go out and finish strong.”
Thompson and Flaherty are also cross country teammates, but this spring was Thompson’s first year running track.
Her addition was a huge help for the Titans in the weekend’s team race, as she pulled in 20 points herself with two gold medals. The pair’s finish in the 1,600 put TCA in contention for the 3A crown.
Ultimately TCA settled for second, breaking the program’s seven-year title-winning streak as Lutheran took the championship by three points.
But Flaherty and Thompson were happy with the way their careers ended at TCA.
“We just made a decision to end it the way we wanted it,” Flaherty said. “I’ve been thinking about this moment for four years and two years ago at cross country I left so disappointed in my performance, and that was the worst feeling, so we told ourselves, not today. We weren’t going to deal with that today.”