Girls cross country: LA takes third at 4A title meet

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By Mike Cote

RIO RANCHO — Pulling off the upset proved to be too tall of an order for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls cross country team Saturday.

Los Alamos had high hopes of knocking off the top-ranked Albuquerque Academy Chargers at Saturday’s state Class AAAA cross country championship, but Academy, which has been the AAAA favorites virtually since day one held on to take top honors.

Saturday’s race was run around the campus of Rio Rancho High School, finishing at the 50-yard line of Rio Rancho’s football field.

The Chargers earned just 60 points to grab their first AAAA championship since 2005. St. Pius X, which had a solid 2008 regular season, took second with 68 points and the Hilltoppers finished third with 74.

The defending state champion Belen Eagles, minus top runner Aleona Reyes, were fourth in the team standings.

It was an emotional finish for Los Alamos’ runners, particularly seniors Hannah Little and Ariana Rowberry, who finished 16th and 17th in team competition.

“They’re said because they’re seniors and they’re sad because they gave it all they had,” Los Alamos co-head coach Kathy Hipwood said. “But they laid it all out for the team.”

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