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’Toppers track begins 2017 season at Chile Quad

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By Jose Corral

The pursuit to regain dominance in Class 5A begins Saturday for the Los Alamos girls track and field team.
The Hilltoppers look to build on 2016’s success by starting off strong in 2017 at the Chile Quad, which is Los Alamos’ season opener and is hosted by Albuquerque Academy.
Los Alamos will compete against Academy, Sandia Prep and St. Pius.
Relay teams are expected to lead the Hilltoppers, who have six runners returning from first-place finishers at state. Three runners from the 1,600 sprint medley are returning and three are also coming back from the 4x100 relay team.
Los Alamos returns last year’s triple jump second-place finisher Elizabeth Lockhart.
In distance events, the Hilltoppers will look to Zoe Hemez and Paulina Burnside to garner points against Academy’s loaded distance runners.
Los Alamos has dominated the Chile Quad the past two seasons and is looking to win its third straight season-opening meet.
Youth will lead the Los Alamos boys track and field team in 2017.
And that youthful team will have its hands full in the season-opening Chile Quad Saturday at Albuquerque Academy.
The Hilltoppers are matched against St. Pius, Sandia Prep and two-time defending state champion Academy. The Chargers have dominated this meet for the past two seasons.
Eight-grader Rafael Sanchez can be Los Alamos’ best shot at winning a distance event, as the Chargers usually dominate in that category. Sanchez will be the Hilltoppers top distance runner throughout the season. Seniors Chris Buntain and Kai Coblentz are also among top distance runners for Los Alamos.
Sophomore Elijah Velasquez is expected to garner points for the Hilltoppers in the triple and 110-meter hurdles.
Los Alamos needs to replace numerous relay runners in the 1,600 sprint medley and the 4x400.