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Boys track and field: LA comes from behind to pick up win at home

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Topper distance team, 1600 relay cap comeback

By Mike Cote

There are still plenty of things to work out for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys track and field team.
However, the Hilltoppers have been able to get over some big bumps during this 2011 season, as evidenced by their performance Friday afternoon.
The Hilltoppers overcame an early disqualification in the 400 meter relay Friday and came back against a solid Aztec Tiger team to win the Los Alamos Classic. The Hilltoppers picked up 124 team points, topping the runner-up Tigers’ total of 100. Hope Christian finished in third with 67 points.
Los Alamos had strong performances at the end of the meet to earn the come-from-behind victory.
Daniel Roybal, Nick Hill and Josh Bowman finished 1-2-3 in the 3200 meters, the next-to-last event of the day, while the 1600 relay team, anchored by Andy Thoma, shut down all comers to win the meet’s finale.
Rob Hipwood, Los Alamos’ veteran cross country coach who took the helm of the track and field team this season following the retirement of longtime coach Larry Baca, said he couldn’t have been much happier with the performance, particularly coming off the mid-season lull of the previous week.
“It went really well,” Hipwood said. “There’s definitely things we need to work on, but we’re pleased with the progress of the team. Post-spring break, we’re getting everyone back.”
Aztec, a Class 4A team, led much of the way Friday, particularly after two nearly disastrous relay showings by the Hilltoppers. The Hilltoppers flubbed all three handoffs in the 400 relay, the final handoff coming well out of the zone.
The 800 relay fared no better, with a bad first exchange that dropped the Hilltoppers behind the other two schools in the race, a deficit from which the team never recovered.
But the strong late-day performances made up for the shaky first half of the meet.
Roybal, Los Alamos’ top distance runner, led the first six laps of the 3200 virtually the whole way, but he could never completely shake Hill.
With about 700 meters remaining, Hill overtook Roybal. Hill, however, could never open much of a lead against Roybal, and with about 350 meters left, Roybal kicked it into high gear to earn the win.
Roybal, who for the season is only about four seconds off qualifying for the state Class 4A meet by time, said he’s thrilled with how the team’s distance runners are performing this season. Earlier in the meet, teammate Tim Wermer picked up an impressive win the 1600.
“Tim’s amazing,” Roybal said. “Everyone’s taking it really seriously. Nick, Sean (Reardon), they’re doing well, especially for their age. We could take five of us to state,  qualifying by time.”
A big showing Friday was also turned in by Kyle Stephens. Stephens, who has struggled for much of the school year with injury, missed qualifying for the 100 — he placed second behind Thoma — and the 200 by a total of five-hundredths of a second. Stephens has also made big gains in the high jump, where he finished third.
Thoma, Graham Delano and Mike Leslie, who joined the team this season off of soccer, have also been a major boost. Thoma in particular has quickly become the team’s top sprinter.
“They’re quality kids,” Hipwood said. “They know how to compete. They work really hard.”
Here are the results from Friday’s LA Classic. Athletes are from Los Alamos unless otherwise noted.

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Team scores
1. Los Alamos, 129; 2. Aztec, 100; 3. Hope Christian, 67; 4. Pojoaque, 34; 5. East Mountain, 18.

400 relay
1. Aztec, 43.78; 2. Hope, 45.47; 3. East Mountain, 48.02.

110 hurdles
1. Ben Sinclair, Hope, 17.00; 2. Isaac Jennings, 17.48; 3. James Swope, Aztec, 17.62; 6. Brady Stokes, 18.31.

100 meters
1. Andy Thoma, 11.00; 2. Kyle Stephens, 11.02; 3. Justin Watkins, Aztec, 11.24; Dan Christensen, 12.46.

1600 meters
1. Tim Wermer, 4:44.34; 2. Daniel Roybal, 4:53.72; 3. Ian Pulliam, 4:58.59.

800 relay
1. Hope, 1:36.34; 2. Aztec, 1:36.59; 3. Los Alamos, 1:37.97.

400 meters
1. Sterling Farnsworth, Aztec, 52.74; 2. Carlos Vigil, Pojoaque, 54.00; 3. Hippolyte Bernard, Pojoaque, 56.18; 4. Topher Owens, 58.68; Jacob Brown, 1:00.40.

800 meters
1. Eric Fenton, Hope, 1:58.87; 2. Zach Breshears, 2:03.56; 3. Sean Reardon, 2:09.21; 4. Paul Hemez, 2:11.93.

300 hurdles
1. CJ Berryman, Pojoaque, 42.62; 2. Brady Stokes, 44.72; 3. Anthony Gonzales, Hope, 45.88; Isaac Jennings, 46.24.

1600 medley relay
1. Los Alamos, 3:59.37; 2. East Mountain, 4:00.59; 3. Aztec, 4:05.00.

200 meters
1. Kyle Stephens, 22.75; 2. Justin Watkins, Aztec, 22.78; 3. Graham Delano, 22.85; David Stroud, 24.48.

3200 meters
1. Daniel Roybal, 10:41.54; 2. Nick Hill, 10:43.56; 3. Josh Bowman, 11:23.31.

1600 relay
1. Los Alamos, 3:27.25; 2. Aztec, 3:35.02; 3. Hope, 3:36.44.

Javelin
1. Rivver Higgins, Aztec, 141-0; 2. Jake Atencio, 133-11; 3. Brady Stokes, 131-6; 4. David Brock, 129-4; 5. Grant Washburn, 114-2.

High jump
1. Arren Wells, Hope, 5-10; 2. Tyler Root, Aztec, 5-8; 3. Kyle Stephens, 5-8; Mike Sanchez, 5-2.

Shot put
1. Jeremy Hathcock, Aztec, 45-0; 2. Jon Millar, Hope, 41-9; 3. 3. Michael Cowden, Aztec, 41-8; 4. Brad Lungstrom, 38-2; Nate Robbins, 37-7; Grant Washburn, 30-3 1/2.1.

Pole vault
1. Josh Martinez, Aztec, 12-0; 2. James Ritter, Aztec, 11-6; 3. Chris Ryan, 11-6; 5. Carson Wiens, 10-6; Topher Owens, 9-6.

Triple jump

1. Brett Moss, Aztec, 42-9 1/2; 2. Hippolyte Bernard, Pojoaque, 39-10; 3. Jacob Brown, 39-2 1/2; 4. Daniel Christensen, 39-1/4; Nico Mendez, 36-4 3/4.

Long jump

1. CJ Berryman, Pojoaque, 20-6; 2. Arren Wells, Hope, 19-6 1/2; 3. Mike Sanchez, 19-5; 4. David Stroud, 19-0; Dan Christensen, 18-0; Nico Mendez, 15-10 1/2;

Discus

1. Nate Robbins, 128-1 1/2; 2. Ty Atencio, Aztec, 123-2; 3. Brad Lungstrom, 123-1 1/2; 6. David Knapp, 115-2 3/4; Grant Washburn, 105-9.