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Boys cross country: LA finishes in 2nd place, Pittman wins AAAA title

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By The Staff

RIO RANCHO — More races than not, a score of 40 will be good enough to win.

That wasn't the case Saturday for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys cross country team, however.

The Hilltopper boys turned in what would've been a dominating performance had they been facing any team other than the Albuquerque Academy Chargers.

The Chargers, the dominant force in Class AAAA and the defending state champions, posted a miniscule 24 points at Saturday's state championship meet to earn their second straight state title and fifth in the last six seasons. The Chargers have only been defeated twice since joining AAAA, both times by Los Alamos.

Saturday's race was held at Rio Rancho High School.

Individually, Los Alamos senior Kyle Pittman capped a remarkable 2009 season and a remarkable prep career with his second state title in a row. Pittman posted a blazing time of 14 minutes, 59 seconds to capture the state AAAA individual title.

The highly-touted Pittman avenged his only loss of 2009 in New Mexico by topping Academy's Pat Zacharias, the individual state runner-up. Zacharias' time of 15:10 was hardly anything to sneeze at, but Saturday belonged to Pittman.

"It was a sigh of relief for him," Los Alamos co-head coach Kathy Hipwood said. "Just to hold it together and have a great race is something special."

Pittman's time Saturday was nearly identical to his finish time when Los Alamos competed at the Rio Ranch Jamboree Oct. 17, where he finished in 14:58.

Behind Pittman, Los Alamos took seventh, eighth and 11th places. Daniel Roybal turned in perhaps his best outing of 2009, grabbing seventh place overall with his time of 16:05.

Just behind Roybal in eighth-place was Ian Pulliam. Tim Wermer, who came up big down the stretch for Los Alamos, finished in 11th place, while Alexander Romero was 13th.

But the Chargers grabbed six of the top 10 team places Saturday, including the two, three, four and six spots to earn a very impressive victory.

No other team in AAAA finished within 130 points of either Los Alamos or Academy.

More results from Saturday's AAAA championship race will be in Tuesday's Monitor.