Fisher, a Valley Center senior, and Saunders, an Olathe North senior, stood side by side as they looked up to the massive scoreboard at Memorial Field watching for the official times to pop up.
Quite simply, neither knew who had won; it was that close.
Then, at last, the times flickered onto the board: Saunders 10.59, Fisher 10.60.
“Aw man, it was a good finish, Fisher is a good, strong runner, so I had to finish strong,” Saunders said. “It was actually kind of close, I didn’t know if I could pull it off, but I did, so I’ll of course take it.”
After Fisher got off to a furious start, Saunders quickly gained ground, and before long the two matched one another stride-for-furious-stride for the final 30-meters.
Then, and really, even at the start of the race, it was only the two of them.
They were still deadlocked as the finish line approached, and both dipped their bodies forward as they crossed the line — where Saunders, quite literally, edged Fisher by a nose.
“He was there the whole way,” Fisher said. “I knew it was going to be close.”
Saunders also led the Eagles to a first-place finish in the 4x100 relay, which he said he enjoyed even more.
“It’s more of a team thing,” Saunders said. “I have all of my other brothers there with me, so it makes it that much better.”
Both Saunders and Fisher will undoubtedly receive invites to the adidas Grand Prix in New York in June, though Fisher is unsure if he will attend, as he’s scheduled to compete in the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic the week before.
Saunders, who is signed to play football at KU in the fall, said he’s spoken to coach Turner Gill about the possibility of running track as well.
“He said it’ll be up to me, so we’ll have to see,” Saunders said.
As for Fisher, who will run track at Auburn in the fall, there was little solace in falling a mere fraction shy of victory in is first appearance at the KU Relays.
“It stinks,” said Fisher, who ran a 2011 state record 10.44 in the 100 earlier this year. “I came to win and it just didn’t happen today.”
Shawnee Heights takes both Sunflower Showdown relays
The Shawnee Heights boys relay 4x400 team wasn’t about to be outdone by the girls 4x400 relay group.
Only a few minutes after the quartet of Thunderbird girls — Kaley Hauschild, Cassidy Downing, Sheylon Ryce and Gavyn Yetter — captured first place in the Sunflower Showdown, the boys did the same.
Jayce Donnelly, Randy Luedke, Austin Smith and Johnny Acker combined for a time of 3:26.82 to take first, while the girls turned in a time of 4:05.24.
“It’s sad that (Downing and Ryce) are (graduating),” said Yetter, who anchored the girls relay team. “But we ended on a good note for them.”
Thor starts slow, finishes eighth
Bishop Carroll junior David Thor overcame a tough start in the boys 1600, pulled ahead of the pack and took the lead with roughly 700-meters to go.
Thor seemed headed for a first-place finish, until Westminster’s (St. Louis, Mo.) David Everett flew past him and coasted over the line.
Everett’s twin brother, Daniel, took first overall with a record-time of 4:12.58.
“My body felt like it could take the lead,” said Thor, who finished eighth at 4:23.28 — two seconds slower than his personal best.
“I felt like I was running at a good pace when (he) passed me in the last 300-meters and I just didn’t have enough to keep up.”
He may have finished in the top-10, but Thor was far from pleased.
“I still have a way to go,” Thor said. “I just need to get over this one.”