For one team champion, Saturday's cross country meet was the completion of a week's worth of work, with another week of work waiting. Followed by another. And another.
For the other champion, the 15th annual Ojo Rojo Invitational may have been the stepping stone to bigger meets.
The Desert Vista boys and Mountain View girls earned teams titles at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler.
Desert Vista finished with 92 points to cruise past runner-up Mountain View, which totalled 105. Dobson and Highland were next at 122 and 145, respectively.
The girls race was more bunched at the top with the Toros finishing with 102 points, followed by Tucson Canyon del Oro at 109 and Marana Mountain View (111).
"We'll have a good weekend now," Mountain View girls coach Bill Webster said. "We really want to get invited to the Doug Conley (Invitational). Hopefully this helps."
The Desert Vista boys are also focused on the Conley meet, scheduled for Oct. 4, but they have another matter to prepare for before that elite in-state meet.
The Thunder boys will join the school's girls team and compete at The Great American meet next weekend in Cary, N.C. The meet attracts the nation's premiere prep teams.
"We had one of our most intense weeks of practice this week," Desert Vista boys coach Chris Hanson said. "It is tough to run after a week like that, but I believe in racing hard as much as you can. We have another week to go. And then it's on to the Conley."
Some Thunder runners may not be overjoyed to hear that, but at least one was.
"I am so excited to go there and just give it our best," said Thunder senior Pat Grahan, who won Saturday's race in 15 minutes, 56 seconds. "When else (do you) get an opportunity to go against the best in the country?"
The Thunder boys, ranked No. 2 in the state by Arizonatrack.com, behind Tucson Catalina Foothills, didn't have many problems disposing of the competition.
Blake Gibson joined Grahan with a top 10 finish, placing 10th with a time of 16:49.
"All we do is try and control the things we can control," Hanson said. "We can control racing hard, training our best and giving our best effort. That is what we did today and will do again next weekend."
Dobson's Jacob Hayes placed second to Grahan at 16:03.
"Two weeks ago I choked at a meet here and was not happy," Hayes said. "I am pretty satisfied with today. I was able to keep up with Pat better this time."
In the girls meet, Canyon del Oro dominated the top 10 standings with three runners, but it was Mountain View's depth that proved to be the difference. Elizabeth Schow led the Toros with a fifth-place finish in 20:29. Teammate Emily Allred came in 11th.
Canyon del Oro's Jessie Ingraham (20:10) and Sara Figuerol (20:24) grabbed the top two spots, and teammate Ala Lubers (20:27) was fourth.
"We were hoping to run well enough to place in the top five," Webster said. "We've run against some good competition this year, so we feel like we can hold our own."