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ALBUQUERQUE — In the second meeting between the two biggest rivals in Class 4A, the Albuquerque Academy Chargers grabbed a solid win.
Los Alamos traveled south to take on Academy and the rest of the field at the Academy Invitational. Los Alamos finished fourth in team competition with 129 points, while the Chargers nipped the Cleveland Storm for Friday’s team title.
The top finisher for the Hilltoppers Friday was Sean Reardon. Reardon, who stuck right with the top runners through more than half the race, wound up finishing seventh overall.
Individually, Cleveland’s Luis Martinez took a near wire-to-wire victory. His time of 15 minutes, 43 seconds was more than 30 seconds better than Rio Rancho’s Ryan Betty, the race’s runner-up.
Despite a fast start, Reardon was among the lead group chasing Martinez at the midway point of the 3.03-mile course.
Unfortunately, right behind Reardon was a tight pack of Academy runners, Andy Eras, Ethan Long and Ryan Lesansee. Those three would also finish as a group, taking the 10-12 slots, with just slightly more than a two-second spread between them.
The Chargers’ ability to clump together ultimately won them the race, despite Cleveland picking up three of the top five individual finishes on the day. They held off Cleveland by just one point in the final standings.
Reardon, who finished in 16:35, became the third different Hilltopper in as many races to pace the team.
“I felt really good (Friday),” he said. “It’s the best day I’ve had so far this season. I got out quick. We did a good job of getting out and working hard.”
Academy’s Jordan Farrell finished right in front of Reardon, taking sixth overall.
The meet was the second time the Hilltoppers and Chargers squared off this season. The Hilltoppers were only three points behind the Chargers at the University of New Mexico Invitational Sept. 3, an unusually close finish for the Hilltoppers during the regular season.
Running against Academy, however, didn’t put any undue pressure on Los Alamos.
“I don’t think our team has any goals,” Reardon said. “We just come in and do the best we can. Give it our best effort.”
Zak Kennison finished 19th overall and second for the Hilltoppers. Kennison just outkicked Zuni’s Kevin Gia at the finish line. Gia had a two-step lead over Kennison with less than 50 meters to go, but Kennison won the sprint to the finish by .41 seconds.
Also for Los Alamos, Colin Hemez, a first-time varsity starter, finished a solid fourth among the team. Hemez, who had a big showing two weeks earlier in the junior varsity race, got the starting nod Friday and placed 37th overall.
1. Albuquerque Academy, 57; 2. Cleveland, 58; 3. Sandia, 108; 4. Los Alamos, 129; 5. Rio Rancho, 161; 6. Laguna-Acoma, 185; 7. Eldorado, 191; 8. Moriarty, 227; 9. Volcano Vista, 231; 10. Grants, 251; 11. Zuni, 276; 12. Miyamura, 332; 13. Gallup, 340; 14. Highland, 353; 15. Atrisco Heritage, 409; 16. Sandia Prep, 441; 17. Valencia, 460; 18. Thoreau, 484.
1. Luis Martinez, Cleveland, 15:43; 2. Ryan Betty, Rio Rancho, 16:13; 3. Zac Castillo, Volcano Vista, 16:21; 4. Aaron Flores, Cleveland, 16:28.38; 5. Matt Smith, Cleveland, 16:28.84; 6. Jordan Farrell, Academy, 16:29; 7. Sean Reardon, 16:35; 8. Joe Mauelito, Sandia, 16:39; 9. Preston Charlie, Rio Rancho, 16:42; 10. Andy Eras, Academy, 16:45;
19. Zak Kennison, 17:04; 27. Alexander Romero, 17:13; 37. Colin Hemez, 17:34; 39. Nick Hill, 17:35; 64. Daniel Romero, 18:08; 89. Aaron Roybal, 18:54.