Tyler Bernard stuck out his chest at just the right instant Friday.
The Shadow Ridge senior ran stride for stride with Bonanza’s Jacob Thornell in the final 100 meters of the Class 4A Sunset Region boys cross country meet at Veterans’ Memorial Park in Boulder City.
The two looked like Siamese twins coming down the stretch, but as they crossed the finish line, Bernard thrust forward his chest.
The lunge was enough to allow Bernard to win the regional crown, officially topping Thornell by 0.24 of a second.
“It was pretty crazy,” Bernard said. “It was just me and him, and I could hear his footsteps. I knew he was right there with me.”
Bernard’s finish helped Shadow Ridge place second to Centennial in the boys race. Centennial breezed to a girls championship, finishing 29 points ahead of second-place Palo Verde.
The top two teams and top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance to the state meet next Saturday in Reno.
Close friends who planned to attend a movie together after the race, Bernard and Thornell ran a thrilling final 100 meters in the 5,000-meter race. At the end, each thought he had won.
“We gave it all we had,” Bernard said. “It was just a great race.”
As the two seemed to cross the line simultaneously, race officials immediately declared Bernard the winner, saying his upper torso crossed the line first. Both had a time of 16:38.
“I know I out-leaned him,” Thornell said. “Tyler’s a great runner. It was an exciting finish. I went past him, and he went past me.”
Centennial’s Talihar Hasson and defending regional champion Nathan Williams ran with the top two for much of the race but didn’t keep up the pace.
Still, the Bulldogs, with five of the top 22 runners in the race, easily advanced. Centennial had 54 points. Shadow Ridge finished with 61. Bonanza was third with 103.
“We definitely needed our five up there the way we were to have a chance at Shadow,” Centennial boys coach Mike McGuire said. “As a team, we’re really happy with the finish.”
In the girls race, Spring Valley’s Kourtney Moody pulled off a mild upset, winning in 20:17, six seconds ahead of Cimarron-Memorial’s Tiffany Hutton. Two-time defending champion Leah Ballard of Clark was third.
“I’m happy I got the win, but I’m not totally satisfied,” Moody said. “I wanted to be right at 20 (minutes) or just under 20. I knew it would be close, but I thought I could win.”
After the top runners finished, Centennial brought a wave of four straight, claiming the sixth through ninth spots in a pack separated by a total of 28 seconds.
“On paper, we looked good, but you have to run the race,” Centennial girls coach Bill Miller said. “We’ve stressed all year to have all seven keep each other in sight.
“It helps to have each other to run off of.”