Mark Boyle and Co. held it down in the interim.
And on Friday, the Draper Corner Canyon (UT) High School boys finally added the last piece of the puzzle, inserting a top five finisher at NXN a year ago, Easton Allred -- previously injured with a stress fracture -- to the lineup at the Region 4 Championships at Pleasant Grove.
And it wasn't even close.
The No. 11 ranked Chargers, whose form had been building with each race and had resulted in a Bob Firman Invitational win in September, showed the form many were anticipating when the season began, beating three strong teams in American Fork, Skyridge and Lone Peak in scoring just 30 points behind a 15:32 average and a 32-second spread.
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But it was the win over American Fork, which had previously dispatched Corner Canyon at the BYU Autumn Classic in September and the Pre Region 4 Meet in August, that fully realized the shift for this team with Allred in the lineup.
On the Pleasant Grove 3-mile course, senior Caleb Johnson broke away from the pack at 1.7 miles and battled with American Fork's Ashton Hysell in the final seconds, winning in 15:05.03.
In his debut -- with limited training -- Allred was fourth-overall in 15:18.41, while senior Alex Harbertson was fifth (15:21.69), Dastrup eighth (15:26.68) and Boyle 12th (15:37.84).
"I'm so happy to run with these guys," Allred said. "It hurt a lot. I haven't done too much training myself. It felt really good to be back and hope to be back in better shape for later races."
"We have some big goals for the rest of the season. And I'm just trying to do my part to get in good shape," he added. "Hopefully we can compete at NXR and hopefully get to NXN and do some cool things there."
Perhaps scarier is the fact taht Boyle had an off race. Friday marked the first time in the 2019 season when he didn't lead the Chargers -- which means on a better day the displacement and average is potentially even greater.
The performance almost immediately moves the squad into the conversation for a potential Nike Cross Nationals podium performance -- granted it qualifies in a difficult NXR Southwest Region which also includes No. 12 American Fork, No. 16 Mountain Vista, No. 18 Dakota Ridge and honorable mention teams Davis, Skyridge and Farmington.
But as the top ranked Southwest team in the country and now with one of its top runners in tow, Corner Canyon looks dangerous.
And Friday was the first glimpse.