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Atomic City Update: Cross country teams deserve fan support at only home meet

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By Phil Scherer

Playing a low-profile sport isn’t always the easiest thing to do in high school. Unless you’re playing football, soccer, basketball or baseball, you do all the hard work, put in all the long hours, yet you receive little credit or accolades.

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I know firsthand how difficult that can be. As a swimmer in high school, few people outside of the swim parents ever attended the meets, and people around school didn’t realize how big of a deal it was for us to beat a rival school. It just wasn’t at the top of mind like football games were.

It is also hard for sports that don’t compete in town very often. That’s why I think it’s important for everyone to support the Los Alamos High School cross country teams when they compete at the Los Alamos County Golf Course next weekend.

This is the team’s only home meet of the season, and it is the last regular season meet before the team heads to the district competition.

Throughout the fall, the community has had the opportunity to watch athletes compete in football, soccer and volleyball in town, and now the cross country athletes deserve the same type of support.

They are undoubtedly one of the most talented groups at the school, finishing as state champions more often than not, and opportunities to marvel at their athletic abilities are limited.

The meet will begin at 3 p.m. Friday with the junior varsity girls competing. The junior varsity boys will follow at 3:35 p.m., with the varsity girls right after at 4:10 p.m. Following the varsity girls, the elementary mile will be run, which gives spectators a glimpse of  future LAHS runners that will one day occupy the longer course. The varsity boys will conclude the day at 5:05 p.m.

It should be an exciting meet for the runners, as they have improved in each meet this season, and appear poised for another impressive finish at the state meet next month in Rio Rancho.

Freshman Rafael Sanchez, who has consistently been putting up impressive times throughout the season, leads the varsity boys team in their quest to reclaim the state title. Other key contributors to the team include Josh Strevell, Steven Strevell, Duncan Fuehne, Shawn Williams, Kevin Parkinson, Elijah Vasquez and Hunter Swavely.

Lidia Appell and Norissa Valdez are the leaders of the varsity girls team, consistently finishing in the top 10 in this year’s meets.

Other key contributors to the team include Zoe Hemez, Marin Kelly, Mabel Pyle, Paulina Burnside and Amaya Coblentz.

The cross country teams may well be Los Alamos High School’s best chance at claiming a state championship this fall. I think it’s only right that the community embrace the team and show them tons of support next week when they compete in our backyard. The runners have been preparing for this meet since before the season began, and they are more than ready to show you what they can do.