The announcer's voice was filled with anticipation as the runners approached the finish line at the 30th annual Stanford Cross-Country Invitational on Saturday.
Lindsey Kirschman of Enterprise High in Redding was leading down the stretch, but Saratoga junior Alicia Follmar was closing in.
``Follmar, the state champion in the mile last year, has a strong finishing kick,'' the announcer said, noting that she might fly past Kirschman at the tape.
Running stride for stride with the Enterprise sophomore with about 15 yards to go, Follmar stumbled to the turf of the Stanford Golf Course.
Seconds later she picked herself up and struggled to the finish line of the Division III 5,000-meter race, six seconds behind Kirschman, with a time of 18 minutes, 33 seconds.
``I thought I was going to have her at the end, but she ran really well,'' Follmar said. ``I lost control of my legs, and once I went down, I just wanted to finish before anyone else passed me.''
St. Ignatius junior Ciara Viehweg was also impressive, finishing in sixth place out of 213 runners with a time of 19:02. The Wildcats finished ninth among 34 teams.
The Division IV boys race was the fastest of the day and featured a pair of defending cross-country state champions in San Lorenzo Valley's Alex Dunn (Division III) and Duarte's Mohamed Trafeh (Division IV).
Trafeh ran the 3.1-mile course in 15:16, while Dunn finished at 15:24.
``It was the first time I've ever raced Mohamed, so I wanted to see what I could do against him,'' the Cougars senior said. ``I think I made my kick a little too late, but now I know what I have to work on. I can't wait to run at Mt. Sac,'' the next big statewide race on Oct. 24.
Carmel won the Division IV team race with help from Patrick Parsel, Dylan Fitzpatrick and Nick Shea. San Lorenzo Valley was third, getting strong runs from Russell Bush and Kevin Kelley.
In the Division I boys race -- which had 359 runners -- Menlo-Atherton's Jeremy Mineau, who won the Division II Central Coast Section title last year, was at the front of the pack. He finished third, three seconds behind Mead High's Evan Garber, with a time of 15:33.
Other CCS standouts included North Monterey County's Nathan Huerta, who led the Condors to the Division III team title by finishing second with a time of 15:53. St. Francis finished second, led by Ben Sitler (16:09) and Kevin Chaves (16:17).
Carlmont's Kyle Shackleton was fourth in the Division II race (15:56). Gunn junior Tori Tyler was sixth (18:41), and Archbishop Mitty's McKayla Plank was 12th (18:54) in the girls Division II race. The San Lorenzo Valley girls team was second in the Division IV race, led by Stephanie Hamilton and Emily Romo.