When asked about what winning the 4x400 means to the Fountain-Fort Carson boys each time they step on the track to race, the answer is almost instantaneous.
And with good reason. The Trojans have won state championship in the event in back-to-back years and this year, two of the four runners on last year's team have already cemented their spot. With plenty of time to go until the state meet in May, there's plenty of time for the other two spots to be filled.
Coach Ben Montoya even says that up to six runners are in line to battle for those two spots. But for now, whoever fills those spots at any given meet has to be ready to run with a chip on their shoulder as Jason Farrell and Sergio Cedano do every time the starting gun is fired.
"Every single we're out here, we always know that we have the advantage," Cedano said. "We just need to be sure we execute that advantage."
They've been able to do that thus far. The Trojans have rattled off wins in the 4x400 in the last three meets that the team has competed at.
A big part of that is the leadership that Cedano and Farrell bring each week.
"They bring a lot of leadership," Montoya said. "They're fun to have on the team. On the bus ride home they'll have little chats going and have the entire team involved. They lead our team warmup at the beginning of every meet."
And they're the ones who get things going in that race. Farrell is first off the blocks once the gun fires and he hands the baton to Cedano for the second leg.
Even with their experience, however, the team is still running about 10 seconds behind their state championship pace of 3 minutes, 17.91 seconds. That time was only three-tenths of a second better than the Fruita Monument team that finished second. They ran a 3:29.54 at the Palmer Terror Invitational on Saturday.
Regardless of which team takes the track at state, they'll have their work cut out for them if they want to come away with a third-straight title in the event.
"It's a big job," Farrell said. "Especially since we ran a 3:17. We have some big shoes to fill."
Malic Bonner was on the title team last year so he may have a shot at being back. The Trojans lost senior Christian Lyon, but his brother Jalen comes in this year as a junior.
But according to Montoya, it's going to take more than just a last name fill a spot. Jalen was a state champion in the 4x200 last year along with Farrell and his older brother.
If one thing is for certain over the course of the next six weeks, it's that this race is going to be quite the adventure for Montoya and his boys.
"Since we have a rich legacy in that race, we know it's something we need to uphold every time we get on the track," Cedano said. "We just make sure we put everything we have into that race and hope for the best."