Crist said several of his usual top performers didn't do as well as they normally do.
"To win it we would have had to do all those things better, plus had Nathan in the 3200-meter and healthy Mark Martin," he said. "In other words, a perfect performance to win it."
Normally Martin helps lead the Colts to victory in the relay races, but had to sit out with a torn hamstring from regionals.
"I'm OK with the individual events, because that's no big deal for me right now, but with the relays it's pretty tough," he said, adding, "I think I could have made that little bit of a difference (in the 4x400). The meet came down to the four by four, so it was hard to stand around and watch that."
After 14 out of the 18 events were completed, West was just 5.5 points behind Tilghman and ahead of Highlands. Then trouble came. West had no one competing in the 200-meter dash, and Tilghman and Highlands each placed in the event. Also, the pole vault, where senior Joseph Guthrie and sophomore Andrew Fadley normally score big points, didn't go well.
Guthrie was disappointed with his performance.
"It was not my best jump by a foot," he said. "I wish I had done better."
He said a lot of factors, like the wind, pole stiffness and speed he ran, all affected it.
"I felt really badly for him," said coach Crist. "His was right there for the taking, you know, do what he's done before and he's the state champion. It just didn't work today."
Crist said the pole vault is notorious for being inconsistent, and that Saturday's crosswind didn't help.
"It sure makes for an emotional roller coaster," he said. "I see athlete after athlete rise up with the best performance of their life, and then others, or the same kids in another event, just can't quite get it right that day. The joy I have for one kid after an event can disappear a moment later knowing how disappointed another of my kids is going to feel."
Senior Bryan Orme was disappointed, saying, "We didn't want to get third place. At least, we wanted to get first or second."
Orme said he was most proud of his third place finish in the 400-meter dash, setting a new school record.
"This is the first year I've ever ran in the state meet for the 400," he said. "A lot of hard working and training went into this."
Senior Brian Johnson was happy with his fifth place finish in the discus throw, but also hoped for better in the team.
"It's good to be third, but we didn't want to be third," he said. "We gave it everything we had, we just came up a little short."
Distance specialists Liversedge and junior Forrest Stratford tried to be optimistic after the meet.
"Yes I'm disappointed because we lost by two points," said Stratford. "But I would say this for myself; I'm not disappointed because I didn't leave anything back. I gave everything I had and did everything I could have done."
And as far as distance races go, he laughed and said next year they will dominate, as Fleming County's senior Ron Duncan did this year. He won the 1600-meter, 3200-meter and 800-meter runs.
"It was a challenge, [Nathan's] tough," Duncan said, shaking his head. "I know how Nate is, he's smart, he knows what to do. I knew we were both about the same in the physical aspect. I knew if I did things right in my head, I could drive myself to do it. I didn't want to lose."
Liversedge said he's raced against Duncan since freshman year and never beat him and said he wished he could have competed in the 3200-meter to earn his team crucial points.
After finishing second to Duncan in the 1600-meter, Liversedge said, "I tried to jump him in the third lap and take him by surprise. It worked, but I just didn't have enough to bring it in at the end."
West's senior Jason Crist also didn't want to lose, and finished with the Colts' only individual gold medal, winning the 110-meter hurdles.