DENVER – It has been a steady climb up the state leaderboard for Vail Mountain over the last few years.

Tuesday at the Class 3A tournament at Pinehurst Country Club, the Gore Rangers finally reached the summit.

After carrying a two-stroke lead into the final round, it was a roller coaster of a day for Vail Mountain. The Gore Rangers led by as many as 10 strokes midway through the round, but had to hold their breath at the end.

Resurrection Christian had stormed back and was within a stroke with one golfer remaining. A birdie on 18 by the Cougars’ Clint Summers would have forced a playoff, but Summers’ putt to do that drifted just a few inches to the left of the hole.

The Gore Rangers finished with a two-round 445.

The Vail foursome of senior Felix Gruner, junior Stewie Bruce, junior Tiki Jaffe and senior Hunter Salani made their third attempt at a state title a charm. The Gore Rangers finished fifth two years ago and third last year.

“It’s been a three-year battle for us,” Vail Mountain head coach Will Sipf said. “We were able to get it done this year. It’s been the same four guys all four of those years. It’s pretty awesome. They played super well. They fought hard, only had a couple of stumbles on the back nine. Still a heck of a way to win, win by one. Coming down to the wire like that, it was awesome.”

Gruner and Bruce both shot a 75 on Tuesday and both finished with a combined 148. Jaffe shot a 76 to finish with a 151 and Salana shot a 74 to finish with a 157.

Resurrection Christian was second, just one shot behind Vail Mountain. Colorado Academy was third, nine behind the winners. It was Vail Mountain’s first state championship.

After two years of finishing second, Montezuma-Cortez’s Thayer Plewe took home the individual title with a 6-under-par 64 in his second round. He was in second place coming into the round after firing an even-par 70 on Monday.

He finished six strokes ahead of Summers, who had the individual lead after the first day and ended up finishing second.

“Finishing second the last two years has been bittersweet,” Thayer said. “I played well, I just haven’t gotten it done. Coming into this round, I just knew I had to be patient. I wasn’t making a ton of putts yesterday. Today it started off kind of the same way. Being patient with myself and being patient with the putts, and finally seeing it all unveil on the last couple of holes where I had a really strong finish was awesome. It was so rewarding.”

Plewe made the turn at even-par but birdied 10 and 14 to go to 2-under before an eagle on 16 pretty much sealed it for him. For good measure, he birdied 17 and 18.

Summers took second. He was the only player Monday with a round under par and finished the two rounds 1-under after an even 70 on Tuesday. Liberty Common’s Ryan Woodley was third, one stroke behind Summers.