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Hilltopper boys win X-C title

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By Mike Cote

RIO RANCHO — It would take a total team effort. And that’s just what happened.It was a tall order the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys cross country team was trying to fill going into Saturday’s Class AAAA cross country championship, held at Rio Rancho High School. The task was to knock off three-time defending champion Albuquerque Academy, which was ranked among the elite squads in the nation.But an all-out assault by the Hilltoppers, who put five runners into the top 10 Saturday was enough. The Hilltoppers pulled out a six-point victory over the Chargers to win the boys team title.“It’s amazing,” Los Alamos’ Gareth Gilna said after learning his squad had capsized the Charger juggernaut. “This is the best day of my life!”At about the 1-mile mark in the race, it appeared Academy was well on its way to a fourth straight title, with six Chargers running in the top 15.But Los Alamos’ three top runners, Allen Pittman, Kyle Pittman and Gilna stayed within striking distance of the front-runners.Meanwhile, Tom Bowidowicz and Tom Witherell were running stride-for-stride with each other, slowly closing in on four closely-packed Academy runners.It would be Bowidowicz and Witherell who would ultimately cement the win for Los Alamos. The two finished just one-tenth of a second of each other.


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