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ALBUQUERQUE – Despite having a relatively small contingent in the Class 4A track and field meet, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys were in contention the entire way for a trophy.
Los Alamos, which pulled out a state title in the final event of the state championship, the 1600 meter relay, finished with 38 points, just one point behind third-place finisher Piedra Vista.
The Hilltoppers overachieved in several events to put themselves in contention and picked up a pair of state event titles along the way.
The Albuquerque Academy Chargers picked up the team victory. In an unusually low-scoring meet, the Chargers earned 55 points, not a whopping total but enough to top runner-up Bloomfield by 13 points.
The highlight for the Hilltoppers at the state meet, however, was the performance of their individuals under the brightest light in New Mexico.
Hitting his stride in 2012 was junior Sean Reardon. Reardon had the performance of the meet for the Hilltoppers in Saturday’s 1600 meter final.
Facing a familiar foe in Del Norte’s Jackson Thomas, Reardon ran a blistering final lap, passing Thomas with about 310 meters to go and won the contest going away.
Reardon won the state title in the event with his time of 4:23.51.
While he was ecstatic with the victory, Reardon said it didn’t come without a price.
“It was extremely painful,” he said of the final lap. “It feels like you’re back is attaching itself to your butt, kind of, but it’s the greatest feeling in the world. That’s one of my strong suits, the end of the race.”
The Hilltoppers were buoyed by a surprisingly big day Friday, where it picked up a better-than-expected 15 points.
Spearheading the day one charge was Reardon. Reardon, who has had his finest year in prep track this season, nearly pulled off a stunning upset over No. 1 seed Jackson Thomas in the 3200 meters.
Thomas, who was favored to win the event going away – his seed mark going in was far and away the best in 4A this season – but Reardon finished just behind Thomas with a fantastic performance, finishing less than half a second behind him.
Los Alamos also got a solid performance from David Stroud in the long jump, who placed fourth overall (20 feet, 10 3/4 inches) and a surprising performance from Nate Robbins, placing third in the discus (139-11 1/2).
Heading into the event, Robbins appeared to be relegated to also-ran status, but came up big, coming through with his second-best toss of the season. For Robbins, being lightly-regarded was just fine with him.
“Not being seeded high helped and I could relax,” he said. “There was not much expected out of me so I could just go out there and throw.”
The meet was the final prep competition in Robbins’ career. Following high school, Robbins will head to the Merchant Marine Academy in New York, where he will play football.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, the preliminary running events didn’t go as well as they’d hoped. The team didn’t qualify enough athletes into the finals to build on the solid day one showing.
Los Alamos still found some success Saturday. Along with Reardon’s finish, Jacob Brown came through with a third-place showing in the triple jump. Brown went 43-1/4, an excellent distance but more than two feet behind state champ Brett Moss.
Brown said he started to worry about Saturday’s competition Friday, but his confidence returned when the event got going.
“You always have that goal of getting first, but as long as I can glorify Jesus. That’s what I’m here on this earth to do,” Brown said.