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This could be a meet for the ages for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls track and field team, but this could also be the closest call for the Los Alamos in some time, too.
The Hilltopper girls and boys will both compete in the Class 4A state championship meet this weekend.
The state title meet, which will be at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex in Albuquerque, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
The Hilltopper girls have a chance to make history by earning their fifth consecutive state title. Only four teams in the history of New Mexico have won at least five straight — interestingly, it is only the second-longest current streak, however, as Fort Sumner has won seven in a row including last week’s small-school state meet.
Los Alamos’ four current state titles matches with Class 4A record-holder Albuquerque Academy, one of the Hilltoppers’ main rivals.
However, Academy doesn’t appear to be poised to pose a threat to the Hilltoppers’ dominance. Instead, the biggest challenger appears to be a team from the Four Corners area.
Piedra Vista was the only 4A school in the state that gave Los Alamos much of a challenge in head-to-head competition this season. At the Harper Invitational in late April, Los Alamos just held off a charge for the No. 3 spot in the team competition over Piedra Vista. The margin between the two teams at that meet was a mere three points.
Piedra Vista is very strong in the sprint distance events. The Panthers are led by Zhianna Flores, who is the top seed in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races, as well as the 300 hurdles, all by relatively wide margins.
Los Alamos’ biggest edge is the fact it’s the deepest team in the state and it is poised to do very well in the relay events. Los Alamos is the No. 2 seed in the 400 and 800 relays and medley relays and is the top-seeded team in the 1600 relay.
But the Hilltoppers don’t have the luxury of relaxing in the relays, however, as the Panthers are seeded right behind Los Alamos in both the 400 and 800 relays.
The Hiltopper girls will rely heavily on state-tested seniors Laura Wendelberger and Amy Neal. Neal is the defending 200 meter champion and is one of just three pole vaulters to have cleared 10 feet, 6 inches in 2013.
A win this weekend would also move Los Alamos into sixth place on the all-time victories list. Another state title would give the Hilltopper program seven total titles in its history.
Los Alamos’ boys, meanwhile, are hoping to repeat their surprising fourth-place finish in the 2012 meet.
Spearheading the big finish for the Hilltoppers last season was Sean Reardon, who won the 1600 meters and was just nipped by a powerful runner in Jackson Thomas of Del Norte in the 3200. Additionally, Reardon ran a blistering 400 split to help Los Alamos clinch the 1600 relay title.
This weekend, Reardon will be looking to pull off a rare triple, the 800, 1600 and 3200.
Those three distance races were won by former Hilltopper Gareth Gilna in 2008 and Reardon has high hopes for history to repeat itself.
Reardon is the top seed in both the 1600 and 3200 and his best time in the 800 is under half a second behind top seed Tyler Valdez of Belen.
Los Alamos will be leaning on its strong distance squad for the majority of its points. The Hilltoppers have five runners qualified for the 1600 and six for the 3200.
Also, Daniel Dunning has had a strong latter part of the season and could be a factor in the triple jump, where he is seeded fifth.
Academy was the victor in the boys 4A meet last season, garnering 55 points in a relatively low scoring meet.
The win in 2012 was Academy’s third team title in four years.