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Hilltopper girls X-C takes third Saturday

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By Mike Cote

RIO RANCHO — Going into Saturday’s Class AAAA Championship cross country meet, there wasn’t a lot of buzz about the Belen Eagles.But now, the Eagles will have plenty of people talking.Belen was the surprise winner in Saturday’s state title race, knocking off both the favored Albuquerque Academy and third-place Los Alamos.While few expected Belen to be a huge state title threat, the Hilltoppers felt it would be a three-team race for the AAAA crown, and Belen was one of those three.“It really could’ve gone to any of those three,” Hilltopper co-head coach Kathy Hipwood said following the race.The Hilltoppers had hopes going in of a second-straight state title, but ran into some trouble along the way.Going in, Los Alamos knew it would have to stay at or near the front packs to have a chance at a victory, but at about the halfway point, Los Alamos slid into a hole that would prove too much to recover from.While it would be a disappointing team finish, Los Alamos still placed a pair of runners in the top five individually.Holly Walker, who over the course of the season became one of the top runners in the state regardless of classification, finished second overall.Walker ran an outstanding race — her time of 19:06 was the fourth-best girls time posted Saturday — but would be outdone by Santa Teresa’s Jacueline Campos, who


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