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LA boys, girls top all comers Friday

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Cross country: Reardon finishes as overall runner-up, ’Toppers nip St. Pius by 4 pts.

By The Staff

If there were any doubters remaining, and apparently there were, they should be quieted now.

Before Friday’s University of New Mexico Invitational, Los Alamos runner Orion Staples said there were Albuquerque Academy faithful claiming on the Internet that the Hilltoppers’ decisive victory at the 2011 state tournament was a happy turn of events for Los Alamos and nothing more.

Well, maybe not.

The Hilltopper boys, along with the Hilltopper girls, the queens of New Mexico cross country, scored wins at the UNM Invitational meet, their season openers.

Los Alamos’ boys stole the show in that race, scoring a scant 38 points, less than half the total of Class 5A juggernaut Cleveland. Los Alamos placed four runners in the top 10 in a loaded field of individuals.
Meanwhile, the Hilltopper girls may not have been the flashiest team running Friday night, but they were far and away the most consistent.

The Hilltopper girls nipped a top-loaded St. Pius X by four points to claim the title in their first race of the season.

The UNM Invitational is traditionally the largest single running event in the state. This year, 35 boys teams and 33 girls teams took part, including heavyweights such as Cleveland’s Storm, Rio Rancho, Academy and La Cueva.

But the Hilltoppers bested them all Friday night — the UNM Invitational had traditionally been run in the daytime but was held under the lights this year, with the varsity races going off after sunset.

Individually, Sean Reardon pulled off an astounding runner-up finish at UNM, topping Alonzo Chavez of Mora by two-tenths of a second. Cleveland’s Luis Martinez, the undisputed top runner in the state, coasted to a 23-second victory for the individual title.

But Reardon, who has in relatively short time turned into a distance dynamo, staked his claim as the man to beat in November when the Class 4A championship race rolls around.

Also cracking the top 10 — a notable feat, considering the breadth and depth of the meet — were Nick Hill in fourth, Colin Hemez in ninth and Zak Kennison in 10th.

In the girls competition, St. Pius’ Sartans, the team that has been considered for the last two years to have the best shot at upending the Hilltoppers’ current string of three consecutive state championships, placed three individuals in the top 10, the only team in the field that had more than one, including overall winner Julie Gianinni, who trounced all comers, and runner-up Marissa Nathe.

But Los Alamos made up for the Sartans’ hot finish near the top by putting all five of their scorers within a six-runner span from 14-19. Mikayla Pulliam, Teresa Sandoval and Nica Vasquez took the 14th, 15th and 17th spots, while Miranda Barraza and Amanda Mercer followed quickly behind.

The team’s 1-5 runner split was an incredible six seconds.

The Sartans, who had a big edge after three runners were in, could only manage a 35th and a 41st place with their final two runners.

Academy’s boys, the Hilltoppers’ arch-rivals, finished a distant fourth, while Academy’s girls, who have eclipsed Los Alamos in the past before, took third with 116 points, possibly still within striking distance of the Hilltoppers and Sartans.

Los Alamos won’t compete again until Sept. 21, but the program will host a fundraising event Sept. 6 at Los Alamos Golf Course.

Here are the results of Friday’s University of New Mexico Invitational boys and girls varsity race results. Runners are from Los Alamos unless otherwise noted:

Boys

Team scores

1. Los Alamos, 38; 2. Cleveland, 77; 3. Rio Rancho, 118; 4. Albuquerque Academy, 138; 5. Eldorado, 194; 6. La Cueva, 232; 7. Volcano Vista, 234; 8. Belen, 259; 9. Sandia, 265; 10. El Paso, Texas, Americas, 381;

11. Pojoaque, 397; 12. Manzano, 406; 13. Hope Christian, 410; 14. St. Michael’s, 418; 15. Piedra Vista, 422; 16. St. Pius X, 424; 17. Pecos, 485; 18. Santa Fe Prep, 509; 19. Ruidoso, 522; 20. Moriarty, 530;

21. Sandia Prep, 600; 22. Navajo Prep, 601; 23. Taos, 623; 24. Santa Fe Indian School, 657; 25. East Mountain, 672; 26. West Mesa, 674; 27. Colorado Springs, Colo., Christian, 728; 28. Atrisco Heritage, 748; 29. Socorro, 796; 30. Estancia, 823;

31. Capital, 875; 32. Albuquerque, 881; 33. Robertson, 979; 34. Jemez Valley, 1006; 35. ATC, 1108.

Individual results

1. Luis Martinez, Cleveland, 16:01; 2. Sean Reardon, 16:24.7; 3. Alonzo Chavez, Mora, 16:24.9; 4. Nick Hill, 16:29; 5. Zac Castillo, Volcano Vista, 16:35; 6. Ryan Betty, Rio Rancho, 16:39.0; 7. Aaron Flores, Cleveland, 16:39.3; 8. Preston Charlie, Rio Rancho, 16:44.1; 9. Colin Hemez, 16:44.5; 10. Zak Kennison, 16:47;

18. Orion Staples, 17:09; 30. Samuel Sherrill, 17:27; 36. Mike Walker, 17:33.

Girls

Team scores

1. Los Alamos, 83; 2. St. Pius X, 87; 3. Academy, 116; 4. Eldorado, 117; 5. Cleveland, 172; 6. La Cueva, 213; 7. Volcano Vista, 269; 8. Rio Rancho, 380; 9. East Mountain, 396; 10. Colorado Springs, Colo., Christian, 405;

11. Albuquerque, 434; 12. St. Michael’s, 438; 13. Navajo Prep, 439; 14. Sandia, 444; 15. Manzano, 447; 16. Santa Fe Indian School, 472; 17. Santa Fe, 476; 18. Hope Christian, 497; 19. El Dorado, Texas, 514; 20. Belen, 524;

21. Taos, 530; 22. Robertson, 546; 23. Estancia, 584; 24. Moriarty, 600; 25. Piedra Vista, 618; 26. Sandia Prep, 619; 27. Bosque School, 645; 28. Atrisco Heritage, 655; 29. Jemez Valley, 705; 30. Santa Fe Prep, 758;

31. Pecos, 761; 32. El Paso, Texas, Americas, 784; 33. ATC, 876.

Individual results

1. Julie Gianinni, St. Pius, 19:37; 2. Marissa Nathe, St. Pius, 19:54; 3. Rachel Fleddermann, Sandia Prep, 20:03; 4. Arena Lewis, Belen, 20:04; 5. Crissy Amberg, Eldorado, 20:05; 6. Malia Gonzales, Cleveland, 20:07; 8. Kelly Reagan, St. Pius, 20:13; 9. Hannah Struttmann, Colorado Springs Christian, 20:14; 10. Cassey Amberg, Eldorado, 20:18;

14. Mikayla Pulliam, 20:27; 15. Teresa Sandoval, 20:29; 17. Nica Vasquez, 20:32; 18. Miranda Barraza, 20:33; 19. Amanda Mercer, 20:33; 21. Jennifer Mooday, 20:36; 25. Talia Drecier, 20:44.