If there was pressure, the Hawks had it under control.

They were the focus throughout fall — the online rankings that labeled Bozeman’s cross-country teams tops in the northwest. Hawks head coach Casey Jermyn did his best to shield his runners from outside expectations, but all were aware of their status.

There was comfort, however, in racing again Saturday afternoon at the Nike Cross Northwest Regional in Boise, Idaho. Last season, the girls won a second title there and the boys took second. These runners knew what needed to be done, Jermyn said, and didn’t disappoint.

Bozeman delivered its most declarative statement yet. The Hawks claimed both regional titles for the first time and will head to the national meet in three weeks to continue adding to program history.

“It just shows you how good these teams really are,” Jermyn said. “There’s a lot of coaches around the country that look at us and say, ‘What’s in the water? What’s going on?’”

What’s happened is first-year coach Jermyn listened to his runners’ desires to win more than state titles. While in previous years Bozeman’s focus has been on being the best in Class AA, this fall goals were affixed to qualifying for and competing in Dec. 3’s national meet in Portland, Oregon.

That’s why the Hawks are only scratching the surface in terms of how fast they can go.

“You set these goals early in the summer and it’s something they look forward to,” Jermyn said. “To see it come to fruition is a special thing.”

There’s no better example than senior Chase Equall, who went from being a top 20 runner in the region to one of its best. Things didn’t go according to plan from the outset of the 5-kilometer race, though, and he was slowed at the start.

“He got boxed in,” Jermyn said. “He was cool, calm and collected and slowly worked his way to the front. He took the lead at about the 1-mile mark, and kept the pace honest and broke up the front pack.”

It was then a dual between him and Tacoma, Washington’s James Mwaura. Mwaura edged Equall by five seconds in 15 minutes, 13.2 seconds. Junior Duncan Hamilton (15:40.1) wasn’t far behind in sixth.

Riley Collins (25th, 16:02.6), Leonard McComas (37th, 16:11.8) and Orrin Clark (46th, 16:16.5) rounded out scoring.

“They all ran great races,” Jermyn said. “We did what we needed to do.”

The girls were just as impressive, placing three in the top 20 led by Camila Noe (17:58) in seventh. Jermyn said his junior ran in the shadow of the lead pack for much of the race.

Kalispell Glacier’s Annie Hill set a course record in 17:22.2.

Piper Meuwissen (12th, 18:13.7) and Kenenni Wiegand (19th, 18:22.2) gave the Hawks two more top finishes, and Zoe Eberspecher (67th, 19:26.5) and Laina Hall (71st, 19:33.4) did just enough to aid the win.

“If we went down through the list, I think they would have wished they would have run better,” Jermyn said. “We knew the course would be challenging, but they brought it home for us.”

The boys’ average finish rounded out to 15:53, 13 seconds faster than runner-up Central Oregon Track Club, whose girls also were second. Bozeman’s girls average of 18:42 was 20 seconds ahead.

“Next week we go into practice and it’s just more of the same,” Jermyn said. “We don’t have to go crazy in miles. The next goal is to go in the nationals and mix it up and compete.”

Michael Appelgate can be reached at mappelgate@dailychronicle.com or 582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @mappelgate206.