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ALBUQUERQUE – Things continue to look bright for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys track and field team, even when the clouds are rolling in.
Despite thick storm clouds hanging over Wilson Stadium and the Buddy Robertson Invitational late Friday afternoon, Los Alamos still put together a good showing against some tough competition.
In team competition Friday, Los Alamos collected 87 points. While Los Alamos wasn’t able to hang around with either Cibola, the defending Class AAAAA champion which should have a pretty good chance to repeat this season, and Highland, a solid AAAAA squad in its own right, Los Alamos earned a substantial victory over an important competitor.
Albuquerque Academy, one of the elite programs in the state, regardless of classification, finished well behind Los Alamos in team competition Friday. The Chargers finished in fourth place with 65.5 total points.
Cibola, which was in Los Alamos’ grouping for the second straight week, earned the team victory with 120 points, while Highland finished second with 110 points.
“Everybody’s working hard and everybody’s looking good,” Hilltopper sprinter Raul Rodriguez said of his team’s performance Friday.
Rodriguez was no exception.
With his family in the stands watching him – his father drove in from Phoenix that day to catch his meet – Rodriguez won the 400 meters with a time of 50.44, just holding off teammate David Bjorklund, who finished in 50.60.
Despite his state meet-clinching time in the race – Bjorklund earned a qualifying mark with his finish as well – that wouldn’t be Rodriguez’s best 400 finish time of the day.
In the final event, the 1600 relay, Rodriguez’s anchor leg performance of 49.94 secured his team a second place finish in the event.
Rodriguez said he went out too quickly and had to stop mid-stride to get the final handoff from teammate Gareth Gilna, but in doing so Los Alamos slipped back to fourth place in the race, but was able to hold off challenges from both Highland and Albuquerque in the last 75 meters to pick up second.
A week earlier, at the Albuquerque Public Schools meet, Rodriguez and teammate Jason Reagor finished 1-2 in both the 100 and 200 meters.
Those finishes and his 400 open finish Friday, he said, have been real boosts to his confidence.
“It’s going well,” he said of his season to date. “I have a pretty good possibility of going to the Meet of Champions in the 100, 200 and 400 and Jason in the 100 and 200.”
The Meet of Champions, scheduled for April 13, is an invitation-only meet attended by the holders of the top eight marks in the state in each event.
Gilna and Kyle Pittman could also be among the invitees from Los Alamos in the distance events just based on early season results.
Gilna finished first in the 3200 meters Friday with a personal best time of 9:38.68 in the event, holding off Pittman, who came in second with a time of 9:41.88.
Reagor won the 200 meters for the second week in a row with his time of 22.58.
Los Alamos also picked up several second place finishes, including Benigno Sandoval’s state qualifying pole vault of 13 feet, 3 inches. Bjorklund, who also had a big meet Friday, was second in the long jump with a 20-1 performance, while Garrett Idler was second in the high jump, clearing 5-10.
Here are Los Alamos’ results from Friday’s Buddy Robertson Invitational.
1. Cibola, 120; 2. Highland, 110; 3. Los Alamos, 87; 4. Albuquerque Academy, 65.5; 5. Sandia, 30; 6. Volcano Vista, 23; 7. Albuquerque, 10.5; 8. Rio Grande, 7.
Oliver Funsten, 41-4 ½; Isaac Schilling, 38-2 ½; Shaun Parkinson, 35-10 1/2.
Isaac Schilling, 106-11; Oliver Funsten, 104-4; Shaun Parkinson, 102-1.
Garrett Idler, 137-11; Jamie Wigger, 134-1; David Brock, 127-7.
2. Benigno Sandoval, 13-3; 5. Tom Day, 11-3.
2. Garrett Idler, 5-10.
2. David Bjorklund, 20-1; 5. Dion Obermeyer, 18-4 ½.
Dion Obermeyer, 37-7; Garrett Idler, 37-1; Daniel Christensen, 37-0.
6. Gavin Kierstead, 11.48; David Brock, 12.13.
1. Jason Reagor, 22.58.
Ethan Clayton, 19.65.
Ethan Clayton, 44.15; Dion Obermeyer, 47.00.
1. Raul Rodriguez, 50.44; 3. David Bjorklund, 50.60.
5. Nat Gustafson, 2:10.69; Andrew Vierra, 2:13.58.
2. Kevin Hemphill, 4:35.43; 4. Andrew Vierra, 4:40.53; Austin Jacobson, 4:56.60.
1. Gareth Gilna, 9:38.68; 2. Kyle Pittman, 9:41.88; 6. Nat Gustafson, 10:24.34.
3. Los Alamos (David Bjorklund, Raul Rodriguez, Benigno Sandoval, Jason Reagor), 43.28.
3. Los Alamos (David Brock, Gavin Kierstead, Benigno Sandoval, Jason Reagor), 1:34.03.
1600 medley relay
3. Los Alamos (David Brock, Gavin Kierstead, Tom Day, Kevin Hemphill), 3:48.95.
2. Los Alamos (David Bjorklund, Kyle Pittman, Gareth Gilna, Raul Rodriguez), 3:27.10.