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LA boys, girls favored at Class 4A state meet

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By Mike Cote

It’s an unusual position for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys cross country team to be in: on the top looking down.
After many years of, more often than not, playing also-ran to the Albuquerque Academy Chargers, the Hilltoppers will go into Saturday’s Class 4A championship race as the favorites to win it all.
Los Alamos’ boys and girls take part in the state championship meet, which will be run around the campus of Rio Rancho High School. The Hilltopper boys will race at 11 a.m. and the Hilltopper girls are scheduled to run at 1:45 p.m.
The Hilltopper boys will have a shot at winning their second straight Class 4A team titles, a feat that has never been accomplished in the program’s history.
And while Los Alamos has had the edge over its main rival all season, the team’s runners are going to keep an eye out for Academy.
Meanwhile, the Hilltopper girls, who are also expected to win this season, are not as heavily favored as are the boys, largely because of St. Pius X.
The St. Pius Sartans have strong runners at the top of their lineup — including Julie Giannini and Marissa Nathe, who could contend for an individual title — but haven’t yet found the runners on the back end to contend with the deeper Los Alamos squad.