PEORIA | This one was as close to a no doubter as you'll see, but Beecher's Grant Nykaza will tell you only the win counts.
"A win's a win," Nykaza said of the Beecher boys cross country's 70-point Class 1A state finals victory. "It doesn't matter if it's a hundred or one point. You still get the state championship."
The Bobcats ran away from second place East Richland 80 to 150. Beecher was looking to avenge a questionable sixth-place team finish at the 2009 state finals, and it made sure there was no mistake about the outcome in 2010.
Grant Nykaza finished in fourth place overall with a time of 15 minutes, 2 seconds, while brother Griffin Nykaza finished in eighth in 15:05. Both times were personal records for the brothers and the entire boys team ran personal records Saturday at Detweiller Park.
"The fact that they all PR-ed at a state meet is awesome," Beecher coach Pamela Deery said. "They've been just been getting better, and better, and better, every race. But it's been amazing to watch them grow. They just work so hard together and they work for each other. All the hard work and training paid off. This was their year, it really was."
Bobcats Jordan Joaquin and Aaron Borgman finished in 26th and 33rd place, respectively. Joaquin recorded a time of 15:26 and Borgman finished in 15:39.
"It's like a shock," Joaquin said of the win. "I feel pretty good right now. I'm happy for the team."
Beecher's Mike Polzin finished in 66th over all with a time of 16:15. Bobcat senior and eighth place finisher Griffin Nykaza struggled to put into words his emotions of the moment.
"This has been our goal for two years now," Griffin said. "I don't even how how to explain it. It feels great. This is just amazing as a team. Everyone works their butt off every day. You can't ask for anything better than going out with your team and winning state by seventy points. Everyone in the town believing in you all year. This is a great memory I'll never forget."
The Beecher boys are struggling with the possibility of having no cross country team the team next season, so going out on top in 2010 may prove to be a bittersweet.
"I was crying up there," Grant Nykaza said. "It was tears of joy, man. The best feeling it's ever been."