Racing often brings out the best in athletes, especially when two equal counterparts won't give in.
And on Friday in the elite Sole Sports Boys Sweepstakes race at the Desert Twilight Festival at Casa Grande Sports Complex in Arizona, fans bore witness to an incredible duel between Leo Daschbach and Cole Sprout.
Daschbach wouldn't give in to the No. 2 ranked Sprout.
And by the finish line, it was Dashbach, the senior from Highlands High School and the 4:03 miler who set a career best at this very event in 2018, who took the tape in an astounding 14:14.26, which will go down as the No. 2 time in cross country history, Arizona's all-time best effort at 5K and now a national best for 5K.
Sprout had an incredible effort, too, finishing just two seconds afterward in 14:16.01, which is now the third best 5K of all-time and a Colorado all-time best. Both Daschbach's and Sprout's effort is just ahead of St. Benedict's Prep's Edward Cheserek's 14:18.70 from 2012.
Skyline's Thomas Boyden was third in a US No. 3 time of 14:39.62 North Phoenix Prep's Jordan Black also broke 15 minutes, finishing as the fourth boy overall to go under the barrier in 14:55.61.
Sprout had come into the meet with big aspirations, and he had said beforehand that he would go after Dathan Ritzenhein's all-time best of 14:10.40. The Valor Christian (CO) High School senior had owned the national lead at 5K beforehand, running a superb 14:38.40 at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational on September 7.
And he was close.
But you can never quite know how others are going to respond during record attempts. And likely only Daschbach, who was ranked No. 19 on the MileSplit50, knew how well he was prepared to challenge Sprout on Friday night on this course.
The senior from Highlands ran 14:52.60 in 2018 and said weeks previously he was ready to make a statement. On Friday, he did.
With the win, he immediately shot his name among the ranks of the nation's best, alongside Newbury Park's Nico Young, Sprout, Jesuit's Matt Strangio, Ashland's Evan Holland and Boyden.
Daschbach averaged 4:35 per mile on a mostly flat course, which consisted of pristinely cut grass. Sprout's average was 4:36.