For a while there, Century middle-distance man Mitchell Honeyman admitted things looked a little bleak.
But his Patriot teammates changed the complexion of things in time to give Century the state Class A boys track and field championship on Saturday at the MDU Resources-Community Bowl.
"It was really worthy of concern," Honeyman said of the 75 to 55.5-point mid-meet deficit the Patriots faced in their attempt to run down Bismarck for their third championship in four years.
"But we had loads of guys who stepped up. ... We knew this meet would be super-close, but luckily we had people who stepped up," he continued.
Century finished with a 137.5 to 117-point edge on BHS, and defending champion Legacy came in with 92.
Seven first-place finishes helped the Patriots build their winning total.
Senior thrower Levi Rockey won the discus on Saturday with a throw of 168-8 to follow up his victory in the shot put. He threw the shot a personal-best 58-1 on Friday.
Century won three relays and picked up other firsts from Evan Sayler in the 3,200 and Honeyman in the 800. They sewed up the championship with three wins in the final four events, including the finale, the mile relay.
Honeyman, a junior, anchored the 1,600 relay, closing with an anchor leg that moved the Patriots from second to first.
"We were down maybe 10 yards or so. I knew I had enough left in the gas tank to finish it up and put the cherry on top for Century," he said.
Honeyman was running his fourth and final race of the meet. Earlier he won the 800, placed third in the 400 and ran a leg on Friday's 3,200 relay.
The Patriots led BHS by 12 points going into the race, so the championship was not at risk.
Rockey, a senior, said he didn't perform in the discus the way he'd hoped, but said he was happy with what his win in the discus did in terms of the team race.
"It wasn't what I wanted to do, but it benefited our team, so I'm satisfied with it," he said.
Rockey threw 168-8, almost 10 feet off his season best, on Saturday.
"I was looking to go big this meet, and get as close as I could to the school record (184-6)," he said.
Sayler, after placing second in the 1,600 on Friday, came through with a victory in the 3,200 on Saturday by pulling away on the seventh lap.
"That's kind of the plan. Laps five, six and seven are the core laps and that's where you really have to work," Sayler said.
Fargo North's Alex Luz overtook Sayler with a closing kick in the 1,600 on Friday, so Sayler and his coaches factored that into Saturday's plans. The idea was to build a lead that Luz wouldn't be able to overcome in the final lap.
"We weren't 100 percent it was going to work, but that was our plan going in," Sayler said.
It's a plan that took Sayler's strengths into account.
"On the sprinter and endurance spectrum, I guess I've got the endurance part of it," he said.
Sayler said he knew there was a lot riding on the race in terms of team points.
"Going in (assistant coach Brad Lies) said 'you've got to win this.' It's my senior year and I wanted to get that championship. The team points were very valuable."
A large part of Legacy's third-place finish rested on the shoulders of freshman Kalob Larson, who mopped up in the sprints.
He said he knew he was in for a battle with Mandan junior Christopher Koester.
"He's beaten me all year, but I've been right on top of him," said Larson, whose state qualifying time was one one-hundredth of a second behind Koester in both the 100 and 200.
Larson said his ability to sustain his speed has been a valuable asset.
"Usually I still have power at the end when everyone else dies," he said.
Larson won handily in the 400 with a 48.22, outdistancing Bismarck's Isaiah Olsen by more than a second. That race brought out the best in the Legacy sprinter.
"I didn't expect that. That was a full second better than my previous best," he noted.
Bismarck made its mark in the hurdles, getting wins from David Kpadeh in the 110s and Christian Walth in the 300s.
Walth's winning time of 39.15 was a personal best.
"I never thought that I could get under 40 (seconds)," he said.
Walth said he prefers the 110s, but is probably better at the 300s.
"I run the 110s for myself. I was put in the 300s without my choice last year, and I guess you could say my coach was right," he said.
Kpadeh runs only the 110s and sometimes the two short relays.
"I ran the 300s last year and had like a 41.3, but I wanted to focus on the 100s," he said.
Kpadeh, who moved to Bismarck from Maryland last fall, plans to attend the University of Arizona.
Two relay records fell in the boys meet. Fargo South's foursome of Prince Gowah, Targen Gensee, Dawson Breyer and Jon Farr posted a 42.25 in the 400 relay to eclipse the 42.29 run by Legacy last spring. Century's Hunter Wilmes, Grant Anderson, Oliver Nelson and Caleb Monger cranked out a 1:27.74 in the 800 relay, to better the standard of 1:28.61 set by a CHS foursome in 2017.
Class A coaches voted Rockey as the state's outstanding senior athlete and named Century's co-coaches, Tim Jacobsen and Justin Miller as coaches of the year.