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Members of the cross country and track and field programs at Los Alamos High School cleaned up at Thursday’s Senior Athlete Awards Ceremony.
Los Alamos honored its graduating student-athletes at the ceremony, held at the Duane Smith Auditorium. In, all, 90 Hilltopper seniors were acknowledged for their contributions to the school’s athletics program.
The big winners of the night were cross country and track athlete Amanda Mercer and track and basketball standout Skyler Veenis. Mercer and Veenis were named this year’s recipients of the Clendenen Student Athlete Award, the top honor bestowed by the school to senior student-athletes.
Thursday also marked one of the final official public duties of outgoing athletic director Vicki Nelms, who is leaving next month to take a similar position in Oregon.
Nelms announced proudly that the student-athletes at LAHS have a higher grade-point average than the student-at-large population, led by girls tennis, which has a program-wide GPA of 3.76.
Along with Mercer’s Clendenen Award honor, she was also named a Wally Walters Memorial Scholarship winner, along with other cross country athletes Colin Hemez, Mike Walker and Mikayla Pulliam. Hemez and Mercer were also nominees for the New Mexico Athletic Directors Association scholarship.
Taking the Coach of the Year honors for boys sports was Mike Gill, skipper of the Hilltopper baseball team.
The Hilltoppers had one of the most notable seasons in their history, winning 22 games and advancing to the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Gill has led Los Alamos to six consecutive 2-4A championships, including going 12-0 in district play in 2014.
Golf coach Mike Lippiatt was named Girls Coach of the Year.
Special acknowledgement Thursday was given to Los Alamos’ five three-sport athletes, Veenis, Seth Drop, Sidney Ellis, McKenna Nadeau and Kiana Zerr.