Brandon Nelson never discounted the possibility.
Nelson, an Oswego senior, estimated that his best previous finish at conference was seventh in cross country, last fall.
He way exceeded that last Thursday.
Nelson swept the 3,200 and 1,600-meter races to lead Oswego to third at the Southwest Prairie Conference meet in Joliet.
"I honestly didn't put it out of my mind," said Nelson, who will run collegiately at Nebraska. " I thought it was possible. I knew that beating [Oswego East's] Matt [Blanco] wouldn't be easy because he's a crazy good runner. It worked out for me."
Nelson first won the 3,200 in 9:13.55, just edging Blanco (9:15.19).
"I was behind him for a lot of the race," Nelson said. "With about 1,000 meters left I took the lead. He was on my tail the whole time. The last stretch was a pretty good sprint."
Nelson won the 1,600 in 4:23.48, with Romeoville's Dan Ford second in 4:25.51.
"Initially I was just trying to stick with the front pack, but then I said if I had anything left I was going to go for it," Nelson said. "I took it after the second lap. I got that momentum and kept rolling."
It's continued a breakout spring for Nelson.
"I've never been able to be as fast in meets as I am in workouts," Nelson said. "I'm a whole league ahead of how I was training last year. I've been able to hit times I never hit before."
Also at conference, Oswego's Matt Ogilvie (14 feet, 6 inches) was second and Jared Middleton (14 feet) was third in pole vault.
Oswego's Joe Fioresi was fourth in the 800 and Oswego East's Justin Clark fourth in the 100. Oswego's 3,200 relay took third.
Plainfield North (115) won the meet, followed by Minooka (107) and Oswego (66). Oswego East (42) was sixth.