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The end is near for the Los Alamos Hilltopper track and field teams as they wrapped up their regular seasons at home Friday.
Los Alamos hosted the five-team meet at Sullivan Field, with most of its District 2-4A competitors taking part. The Hilltoppers will host the district meet this coming Friday and Saturday.
With just the district and state championships remaining, the Hilltoppers are hoping to get hot at the right time and several team members feel they’re on track to do so.
“I’m very happy with how I’m performing and how I’m peaking,” said Los Alamos sprinter Hayley Schake. “I’m very pleased with my teammates, also. I think we make a very good team this year.”
Schake, who anchored both the 400 and 800 meter relays Friday, helped the Hilltoppers secure a second place finish and a win in those two events. Los Alamos finished right behind the Santa Fe Demons in the 400 relay – a race that wasn’t decided until the final 10 meters – and had some crisp handoffs and runs in the 800 meters to win.
While competing with the Demons, who sport quite possibly the most powerful relay groups in the state, was a big deal for the Hilltopper girls Friday, it had to be tempered somewhat by the fact that Santa Fe’s top sprinter, Tiffany Garcia, was taking Friday off. Garcia owns the best 100, 200 and 400 times in Class 4A right now – the only athlete who’s even within striking distance to her in any of those events in her teammate, Akeisha Ayanniyi, in the 100.
Nevertheless, Los Alamos did get a shot of confidence with its relay performances.
Los Alamos’ girls also won the sprint medley and the 1600 relay. The 1600 relay win was no small feat, either, as three of the team members had just completed the 800 meter race minutes earlier.
Madison Foley, who qualified for state in the 800 meters Friday, posting a time about four seconds better than her previous career best, just prior to the 1600 relay said she has entertained the thoughts of competing in the 400 open as well this season, but with three Hiltoppers already qualified in that event, it’s probably not going to happen.
“I really wasn’t expecting to qualify in the 800,” Foley said. “It was a big surprise and that was really fun. And the 4-by-4 was really fun…we’re all getting faster and faster. I think we’re ready for state. We’re all physically and mentally ready.”
On the boys side, Los Alamos’ high jumpers Skyler McCall and Greg Ahlers went 2-3 for the Hilltoppers behind St. Michael’s Isaiah Dominguez. Dominguez cleared 6 feet on his second attempt, equaling McCall, but Dominguez finished with fewer misses on the competition.
Ahlers, who went 6-0 on his third attempt, went 6-2 two weeks earlier and is looking for 6-4 before the year’s out, and with the work the jumping team is putting he, he feels the best marks for himself, McCall and Simon Bailey are still yet to come.
“We are basically working overtime at practice,” Ahlers said. “There’s currently a 7-way tie for third (in 4A) right now, and Skyler and I are going to try to get out of that. I think our standards right now are looking pretty good. We’re stoked for state. We’re looking to kill it.”
Many of the Hilltopper boys were at or near their season-best marks Friday.
The team picked up wins in all the relay events, while Colin Hemez won a decisive victory in the 3,200 meters to start off the day.
Sklyer Veenis, meanwhile, earned a big win in the 300 meter hurdles, an event he’d never competed in before Friday.
Veenis not only won but earned a state qualifying mark, that despite clipping the final hurdle with his back leg.
Los Alamos will go into this weekend’s district meet as the favorite to capture its 15th consecutive 2-4A title.
See the Los Alamos Monitor later this week for the final results from Friday’s competition.