Cross country: LA girls like their chances to reclaim state title

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By Mike Cote

Some may have thought that when Kathy Hipwood said the Belen Eagles shouldn’t be overlooked heading into the 2007 state Class AAAA girls cross country championship race, she was being polite.

Apparently, though, Hipwood was doing more than trying to avoid giving the Eagles locker room fodder, and she alone may have seen the Eagles as a legitimate state title threat.

Of course, Belen proved Hipwood, the co-head coach of the Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country program correct on all counts, topping all comers at the state championship race, held at Rio Rancho.

For the first time since state classes were realigned in 2000, someone other than the Hilltoppers or the Albuquerque Academy Chargers is going in as the reigning Class AAAA girls champion. Los Alamos had won six of the previous seven titles before Belen’s victory last season.

This season, however, the Hilltopper girls are determined to get back to championship form.

Heading into the season opener, Saturday’s University of New Mexico Invitational, Los Alamos feels ready to get the ball rolling on its 2008 season.

“I feel a lot more fit and the girls in general are a lot more fit,” Los Alamos senior Ariana Rowberry said. “Our goal is to win state. We feel we’re in a better position to do that this year.”

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