It wasn't enough that Madera South High's boys ran with flash and dash, sporting candy-striped purple-and-black shorts, placing 1-2, four of the top 10 and capturing a fourth straight Central Section cross country title on a warm November Thursday at Woodward Park.
Then the Stallions did what nobody else does.
They stood – all seven of them – with patience, attention and respect at the finish line, shaking hands with every other participant in the Division II race.
Understand, there were 125 of them.
Understand, the last one came through the chute more than 6 minutes after Madera South's No. 7 runner finished.
"It's the thing we do to show sportsmanship," Jose Herrera said after winning the race in 15 minutes, 58 seconds over the 3.1-mile course in temperatures that crawled into the 70s.
It's what Madera also did under coach Rich Parris, when he won five consecutive D-I championships from 2002-06.
And now the transfer of power and tradition has shifted next door to Madera South, where Parris began the string of four with a D-III title in 2008.
"The idea is no matter if you win or lose, you do so with class and grace," he said. "We may have small defeats or big wins, but everything we do is in the tradition of Madera Unified cross country. We feel we need to continue to be examples of what the guys and girls set up before us."
The Stallions girls will join their boys at the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park on Nov. 26 after placing second to repeat champion Clovis North, behind junior Cristal Rivera's third-place finish at 19:15.
"The girls are going to the dance and the boys win the title," Parris said. "I'm amazed and in awe. It's such an honor to win a Valley title."
Signs point to continued excellence in a program that could expect to be promoted to D-I on the girls and boys levels in the section's upcoming divisional realignment.
Madera South's seven-member boys team included only two seniors – Juan Navia (16:02), who placed second after taking 10th a year ago, and Nathan Esparza (16:27), who finished seventh after taking fourth in 2010.
Also contributing to the Stallions' 39 points were sophomore David Garcia (10th, 16:31) and junior Uriel Cabanas (20th, 16:56).
Herrera, another junior, clocked 16:23 while placing second a year ago – his first in the sport.
"As a freshman, I noticed them running and it looked pretty hard, but I like competing," he said. "Coach Parris saw me watching and asked me to come out the next season.
"I love running, and I'm also running for a college scholarship; that's my main goal."
That's what it's all about in purple and black – goals.
"We finish one and go for the next," Herrera said.
And the next? The state finals for a team that's ranked third in the state's D-II by ESPNHS.
"We've been looking forward to it the whole season," Herrera said. "For Coach, that's like a Christmas gift. He's pretty happy."