Cross country: LA boys were 2nd in nation in 2007

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By Mike Cote

There are worse ways to end the season than the way the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys cross country squad ended 2007.

Few thought the 2007 state Class AAAA title meet was going to be little more than a coronation run for the Albuquerque Academy Chargers, but the Hilltoppers stunned the Chargers at that meet, grabbing four top 10 team finishes.

Little did anyone know, however, Los Alamos was just getting warmed up.

In the postseason, Los Alamos and Academy finished deadlocked for the regional championship, grabbing an invitation to the Nike Team Nationals, where the squad placed second in the country among prep teams.

Oddly enough, however, that finish didn’t seem to afford the Hilltoppers a ton of respect heading into the 2008 season. In the just-released preseason coaches poll, the Hilltoppers were rated second behind Academy’s Chargers among New Mexico’s big schools.

That, however, doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Hilltoppers.

“On paper, we lost more than Academy did,” Hilltopper co-head coach Rob Hipwood said. “They already had more depth than we did. Academy, it’s fair to say, is the favorite this year. We want the guys to feel that way…we don’t want them to get in the habit of comparing themselves to last year.”

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