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ALBUQUERQUE — The fourth time might have been the charm.
It went down to the wire at the Class 4A state championship meet this weekend, but the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls clinched their fourth consecutive state title.
Los Alamos needed virtually every bit of the top performances from its top athletes at the 4A state meet, held at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex, to earn its fourth title in a row. The Hilltoppers grabbed 78 points, just holding onto the top spot and fending off a stout charge from the Aztec Tigers.
The outcome of the team competition was still in some doubt until the 200 meters, when Amy Neal pulled off an upset victory and state championship, topping Aztec’s Kendra Mitchell and Goddard’s Araceli Macias, the top two seeds heading into Saturday’s final.
Giving the Hilltoppers some cushion were big late performances in the 3200 meters by Mikayla Pulliam and Amanda Mercer, who clinched the No. 4 and No. 6 spots.
The Hilltoppers once again relied on their mega-star Chase Ealey to lead them to victory and Ealey was as good as ever in her career finale.
Ealey, who earned her second-consecutive high-point athlete honor with a staggering 26 points, taking three individual state titles and having a hand in two relay titles.
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