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Cross country: Topper boys take fourth at UNM, girls finish eighth

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By The Staff

Things are still progressing about as expected for the Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country teams as evidenced by their first race of the season Saturday.

The Hilltopper girls finished eighth at Saturday’s University of New Mexico Invitational meet Saturday while the Hilltopper boys took fourth place in team competition. The powerful Academy boys won Saturday’s team title and Academy’s girls finished second behind Chaparral, Colo.

The UNM meet is one of the largest team events in the state. The meet, which is run in conjunction with the Lobos’ collegiate cross country invitational, featured 26 boys prep teams and 22 girls prep teams.

Los Alamos head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood liked with they saw Saturday.

“That’s an extremely solid finish at UNM for a bunch of guys with little varsity experience,” Kathy Hipwood said of Los Alamos’ boys. “We thought (the girls) would place higher than that. We feel we’re better than eighth, but we feel confident they’re going to gain more confidence going forward.”

Individually, Kyle Pittman of Los Alamos won the boys prep title Saturday, posting a very healthy time of 15 minutes, 38 seconds, topping Cibola’s twin brother duo of Vincent Montoya and Christopher Montoya, a pair considered among the top entries in Class 5A. The Montoyas finished within two-tenths of a second of one another, about nine seconds back of Pittman.

Pittman is the defending Class AAAA individual champion and may well be the best distance runner in the state, regardless of classification.

Behind Pittman for the Hilltoppers was Tim Wermer, who took 25th place individually and Alexander Romero, who came in 30th.

Chaparral, meanwhile, placed a pair of runners in the top 10 — fifth-place finisher Keegan Vargo and 10th-place finisher Curtis Doubet. As a team it collected just 95 points, which was nearly double that of the Chargers’ point total but earned it one spot better than a solid 5A school, Rio Rancho.

Chaparral’s girls, meanwhile, finished with just 83 team points, easily topping Academy and finishing with the only sub-100 score of the girls meet.

The Hilltopper girls had 220 team points, but limped into Saturday’s competition, missing runners Teresa Sandoval and Victoria Honnell, who were both out sick at the end of the week last week with the flu. Megan Reader, Los Alamos’ top finisher at the 2008 state meet, has been battling a foot injury as well, although she did compete Saturday, placing 51st.

Hipwood said Reader’s foot was sore afterward, but the injury didn’t appear as serious as it had been feared earlier.

The top Los Alamos finisher Saturday was Holly Walker. Walker, a senior, finished a solid sixth in individual competition with her time of 19:43.

“Holly had a good, solid race,” Hipwood said. “She went out a little more conservatively than is typically her style, but she passed people throughout.”

Caroline Hine of Chaparral was the girls overall winner, posting a finish of 19:08, 12 seconds better than Jenna Padilla of Rio Rancho.

Chaparral is scheduled to appear at Los Alamos’ next meet, the Liberty Bell Invitational, which is run in Denver. That race is set for Sept. 19.

Entered in Saturday’s college race were several former Hilltoppers, including UNM redshirt freshman Allen Pittman, and true freshmen Kevin Hemphill and Adrienne Larson of New Mexico State.

Allen Pittman, one of the top runners to come out of the Hilltopper program in the past decade, finished 11th in the men’s race for the Lobos.

Here are the results from Saturday’s University of New Mexico Invitational. Runners are from Los Alamos unless otherwise indicated.

Girls

Team scores

1. Chaparral, Colo., 83; 2. Albuquerque Academy, 103; 3. La Cueva, 114; 4. Rio Rancho, 122; 5. St. Michael’s, 173; 6. Albuquerque, 195; 7. Eldorado, 198; 8. Los Alamos, 220; 9. Manzano, 226; 10. El Dorado, Texas, 253;

11. Belen, 280; 12. Cibola, 288; 13. Sandia, 310; 14. St. Pius X, 330; 15. Hope Christian, 371; 16. Navajo Prep, 425; 17. Miyamura, 431; 18. Pojoaque, 444; 19. Valley, 576; 20. To’Hajillee, 598; 21. Jemez Valley, 601; 22. Highland, 631.

Individual results

1. Caroline Hine, Chaparral, 19:08; 2. Jenna Padilla, Rio Ranchio, 19:20; 3. Julia Foster, Academy, 19:28; 4. Aleona Reyes, Belen, 19:32; 5. Tamera Lementino, Rio Rancho, 19:41; 6. Holly Walker, 19:43; 7. Paige Throckmorton, Academy, 19:50; 8. Katie Jewell, Sandia, 19:58; 9. Kate Norskog, St. Michael’s, 20:02; 10. Sophia Torres, Pojoaque, 20:03;

51. Megan Reader, 21:40; 56. Jennifer Mooday, 21:45; 57. Angie Hammer, 21:46; 67. Victoria Trujillo, 21:59; 73. Emily Pittman, 22:07; 101. Sylvia Holland, 22:44.

Boys

Team scores

1. Albuquerque Academy, 50; 2. Chaparral, 95; 3. Rio Rancho, 102; 4. Los Alamos, 127 (won tiebreaker); 5. Cibola, 127; 6. Sandia, 180; 7. La Cueva, 193; 8. Manzano, 223; 9. Pojoaque, 271; 10. Belen, 339;

11. El Dorado, Texas, 361; 12. Eldorado, 385; 13. Jemez Valley, 393; 14. Highland, 409; 15. St. Michael’s, 413; 16. Volcano Vista, 447; 17. Navajo Pine, 452; 18. Miyamura, 471; 19. Hope Christian, 476; 20. Cleveland, 485;

21. St. Pius X, 536; 22. Navajo Prep, 550; 23. Albuquerque, 555; 24. Valley, 687; 25. Sandia Prep, 722; 26. Cuba, 806.

Individual results

1. Kyle Pittman, 15:38; 2. Vincent Montoya, Cibola, 15:47.80; 3. Christopher Montoya, Cibola, 15:47.99; 4. Pat Zacharias, Academy, 16:06.16; 5. Keegan Vargo, Chaparral, 16:06.98; 6. Neil Longenbaugh, Academy, 16:09; 7. Caleb Rubalcaba, Rio Rancho, 16:23; 8. Troy Madalena, Jemez Valley, 16:29; 9. Ryan Clark, Academy, 16:29; 10. Curtis Doubet, Chaparral, 16:33;

25. Tim Wermer, 17:07; 30. Alexander Romero, 17:19.17; 32. Daniel Roybal, 17:19.66; 39. Ian Pulliam, 17:28; 43. Josh Bowman, 17:30; 47. Zach Breshears, 17:37.