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ALBUQUERQUE – It’s still early in the season, but the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls track and field team may be starting to emerge as a serious contender.
The Hilltoppers won a decisive team victory at Friday’s Buddy Robertson Invitational, held Friday at Milne Stadium. The Hilltoppers grabbed 121.5 team points, easily outdistancing second-place Cibola and nearly doubling the point total of third place Albuquerque Academy.
Along the way Friday, Los Alamos had some big early season individual finishes and picked up eight state qualifying marks.
Hilltopper head coach Paul Anderson thought Friday might be a special day when he saw his 800-meter relay team win a lopsided victory with its finish time of 1:47.68, a race Los Alamos has historically been slow to qualify.
Emi Weeks, one of the Hilltoppers’ big performers Friday, broke the race open just 60 meters into the first leg, cruising to a 26.38 split. Lindsay Benage’s second leg split of 26.81 gave Los Alamos a huge cushion and the team cruised to the victory and the mark.
“The relay teams are great this year,” Weeks said. “We’ve got so many fast girls. I’m really excited. We’ve got a really good chance of getting top two.”
Weeks also finished third in the 100 meters with a state qualifying time of 12.72 and second in the long jump.
The Hilltoppers won four events Friday with two of those wins posted by Taylor Ealey.
Ealey, competing in just her second meet of the season, qualified in both the shot put (34 feet, 1-1/2 inches) and the javelin (113-9).
Catherine Chen was also a winner Friday, matching her state qualifying pole vault mark from a week earlier of 8 feet.
The victories, combined with several other solid performances, helped propel the Hilltoppers to the big win. Most significantly was the Hilltoppers’ topping of Academy’s Chargers, who beat out Los Alamos for the state title.
The Chargers have won every state Class AAAA meet since 2005 and five titles since 2002.
One of the Hilltoppers hoping to topple the Chargers’ dynasty this season is Jessica Stokes, a senior.
Stokes did her part Friday, earning a second place finish in the 100 hurdles and a fourth place finish in the 300 hurdles. Stokes just missed out on a qualifying mark in the 300 hurdles (49.66) but earned one in the 100 hurdles (16.68).
“I’m really close in the 300,” she said. “Hopefully, by the looks of things, we can have five people going to state in the 300 hurdles. We’re really good.”
Amanda Trujillo, Los Alamos’ reigning state sprint champion, finished ahead of Stokes in the 300 hurdles, taking second with a qualifying time of 48.46. Trujillo was one of seven Hilltoppers to finish second at Friday’s meet.
“We have a lot of strength and depth,” Stokes said. “We have so many good girls it’s hard to figure out who’s even going to be running in the varsity meets.”
Amelia Weaver had a hand in three of the big relay finishes, including the second-place 400 and the winning 800 and 1600 relays.
In the 1600 relay, Trujillo ran a 1:00.67 split. Anchor leg Trujillo and lead leg Madison Ahlers would’ve both qualified in the 400 open with their splits, as Ahlers ran a 1:01.13.
1. Los Alamos, 121.5; 2. Cibola, 102; 3. Albuquerque Academy, 66.5; 4. Highland, 62; 5. Albuquerque, 55; 6. Sandia, 42; 7. Rio Grande, 3; (tie) Volcano Vista, 3.
3. Kelsey Neal, 13:07.22; 4. Adrienne Larson, 13:08.72.
2. Los Alamos (Jessica Stokes, Amanda Trujillo, Angelica Johnson, Amelia Weaver), 51.09.
2. Jessica Stokes, 16.68; 5. Michelle Earley, 17.76.
3. Emi Weeks, 12.72.
2. Holly Walker, 5:37.66; Hannah Little, 5:54.96; Elizabeth Brug, 6:13.37.
1. Los Alamos (Emi Weeks, Lindsay Benage, Madison Ahlers, Amelia Weaver), 1:47.68.
4. Angelica Johnson, 1:03.27; Keyla Tumas, 1:07.12.
2. Amanda Trujillo, 48.46; 4. Jessica Stokes, 49.66.
2. Victoria Honnell, 2:29.78; 3. Victoria Trujillo, 2:31.94.
1600 medley relay
3. Los Alamos (Taylor Ealey, Keyla Tumas, Michelle Earley, Holly Walker (4:35.78).
3. Lindsay Benage, 28.12.
1. Los Alamos (Madison Ahlers, Amelia Weaver, Victoria Trujillo, Amanda Trujillo), 4:09.80.
1. Taylor Ealey, 34-1 ½; Sarah Pollat, 24-1 ¾; Shelby Keffler, 21-4.
6. Shelby Hiller, 74-1; Sarah Pollat, 65-6; Shelby Keffler, 57-6.
1. Taylor Ealey, 113-9; 6. Shelby Hiller, 79-2; Allie Glasco, 67-5.
5. Victoria Honnell, 30-2; Jessica Stokes, 27-9 ½; Kyra Roybal, 27-1.
2. Emi Weeks, 14-10; 5. Kyra Roybal, 14-5.
1. Catherine Chen, 8-0; 2. Allie Glasco, 7-6; Keyla Tumas, 7-0.
2. (tie) Lindsay Benage, 4-10; 6. Brianne Fanning, 4-6.