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There is a bit of a lull now, but the race to the finish of the prep spring sports 2013 season was something else.
It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a long haul for players, coaches, myself and Los Alamos Monitor photographer John McHale. I’ve had almost a week to decompress and I still feel worn out.
In case you missed the action, here’s a quick recap of what went down:
Baseball: Los Alamos knocked off Aztec in the best-of-3 series that is the first round of the playoffs. The Hilltoppers handily defeated the Tigers, which had a solid season but struggled on defense at Bomber Field. Los Alamos then faced the top-seeded Piedra Vista Panthers and were knocked around by Piedra Vista’s very potent lineup.
However, the Panthers couldn’t finish the job, losing to the St. Pius X Sartans, the No. 7 seed in the tournament. It was one of the biggest wins in Sartan team history but apparently no one from St. Pius could stop celebrating long enough to post a box score from the championship game.
Boys tennis: Los Alamos still has some young talent, but doesn’t yet have the horses to run with the stallions of 4A, particularly Academy, which waltzed to a 5-0 win over second-seeded Farmington for yet another state title.
The Hilltoppers qualified a pair of doubles teams, Stephen McCrory/Daniel Dahl and Nikita Belooussov/Dalton Smith, for the state tournament.
Boys track and field: I didn’t really know what to expect from the Hilltoppers at the state meet, but they again made a push to get into the top three. It was a crowded field near the top of the 4A team standings, but Piedra Vista – which has now become the new Farmington, apparently, pulled away late in day two to win handily.
Individually, Sean Reardon won the 1600 meters and Nick Hill won the 3200, which was a splendid way for two distance stars to close out their prep careers.
Girls tennis: What can I say? One of the most successful programs in school history rose the occasion once more, led by its seniors. Madeline Margevicius/Gillian Hsieh-Ratliff won the doubles title, topping a very tough team from Farmington, then two days later, another pair of seniors, Susanna Lucido and Colleen Fitzsimmons, combined to score three of Los Alamos’ five victories as the Hilltoppers upset Farmington’s Scorpions in the final.
This tournament was anybody’s ballgame, or at least anybody between Farmington, Los Alamos and Academy, but the veteran and battle-tested Hilltoppers were the last ones standing.
Girls track and field: Los Alamos had no margin of error in its attempt to five-peat as state 4A champions. But even with a perfect meet, it would’ve been very difficult to hang on to that title. Aztec, which had a surprisingly deep team led by stars Sarah Root and Kayli Farmer, won the team title going away.
Los Alamos didn’t give up its title without a fight, taking the state 400 title (and coming in only about a quarter-second behind the Hilltopper team that set the state record mark last year) and Chelsea Chalacombe picking up an impressive third-place finish in the high jump.
Softball: It was an obviously disappointing finish for the Hilltoppers, but it was an exciting game in the first round of the 4A playoffs. The Hilltoppers led by two runs over Los Lunas and needed just three outs, but Los Lunas, which couldn’t get any sustained offense against pitcher Kiana Zerr, rallied for three runs in its final at-bat to win.
Dancie Smith doubled in a pair of runs in a five-run sixth inning to give Los Alamos a 7-3 lead, but Los Lunas’ bats got warmed up late to top Los Alamos in the playoffs for a second straight year.
Piedra Vista went on to win its eighth straight state title. That’s quite a few.