Girls track and field: Toppers take second in AAAA

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — For a brief second, Amanda Trujillo tried to hide her smile.

It didn’t work.

Despite a less-than-ideal start, Trujillo bounced back to become the fastest sprinter in Class AAAA, winning the 100 meters at Saturday’s state track and field championship, held at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex.

Trujillo, with her win in the 100 and the 200 and a second in the 300 hurdles and anchoring the second-place 400 relay squad, sparked the Los Alamos Hilltopper contingent to a second-place finish in the Class AAAA title meet. Los Alamos, which garnered 72 points, finished just behind the Chargers, who picked up 78 points to win the AAAA crown.

Trujillo, who brought a sizeable cheering squad with her, turned toward the stands to see her father, who still owns school records at Pojoaque. She said when she crossed the finish line that she didn’t know how she’d finished.

She saw a thumbs-up, indicating a state title finish.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “Last year I was fifth or sixth...it hasn’t totally hit me yet, but the moment I see my friends and family and everybody, I know I’ll start to cry and stuff.”

Going into the final race of the day, the 1600 meter relay, it was very much anybody’s ballgame.

“To have a shot at the end, you can’t ask for anything more than what they did,” Hilltopper head coach Paul Anderson said. “We couldn’t have asked for one more point from anybody.”

It was an improbable runner-up finish to say the least.

With just two events to go, the Hilltopper girls had just moved into third place, thanks to Trujillo’s nipping of Piedra Vista’s Kendra Woodson in the 200 final, a scant point ahead of those same Panthers.

But in the 3200 meters, both Holly Walker and Margaret Wood came back from well behind to catch Albuquerque Academy’s Clara Milne and finish in second and third place.

That 2-3 finish put the ’Toppers within a point of the meet-leading Chargers.

Wood, with her time of 11:48.01, tied her personal best in the 3200, but she said she was happiest about the distance team’s finish — Jessica Mietz took fifth place in the event, a solid finish on her part as well.

“It’s awesome having them there, definitely,” Wood said. “We’re really close from cross country...when you feel like quitting, you know they’re out there busting their butt for you.”

Albuquerque Academy jumped out to the lead on Friday’s first day of competition — a lead they held for most of Saturday — and Roswell wasn’t too far behind, the teams garnering 23 and 21 points. Of Academy’s 23 points, 17 came in one event, the 1600 meters, where Chargers took four of the top six slots.

Los Alamos headed into day two with eight points, half of those provided by Emily Weeks in the girls long jump, who took third place with a leap of 16 feet, 5-1/4 inches and three more added by Lindsay Benage’s 5-foot, fourth-place finish in the high jump. Holly Walker was sixth Friday in the girls 1600 meters, a finish that didn’t sit well with her.

“(Friday) I lost a couple of points by not finishing at my seed in the mile,” she said. “I wanted to make it up to the team (Saturday).”

Walker finished just behind Santa Teresa’s Jackie Campos, the defending AAAA individual cross country champ who also won her third straight AAAA title in the 3200.

Madison Ahlers had one of the more impressive races of the day for the Hilltoppers in the 400 meters, picking up some points that ended up factoring into the final. Ahlers, a freshman, bounced back from as far back as fifth in the final, passing two runners in the final 100 meters to place third.

With Los Alamos within a point heading into the final race, the Chargers took notice and put on a show in the 1600 relay, winning the event by more than five seconds over Moriarty.

The team collectively grimaced coming up short of the title, but it was an exciting finish to a meet that didn’t seem exciting only an hour or so before the final runner crossed.

“It was amazing,” Wood said, finishing off her prep career before she joins former teammate Kristen Hemphill at Colorado State. “Life would be so much different if I wasn’t a part of this…it’s nice that it doesn’t end here. I’ve learned a lot from these people.”

Results from the meet will appear in Tuesday’s Monitor.