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ALBUQUERQUE – Sarah Lott capped off a memorable regular season with a couple of big performances Saturday.
Lott, a sophomore for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls swim team, captured a state championship in the 100-yard freestyle, coming back from about a half-second deficit at the halfway point to earn the first state title of her career.
She had a pair of top-two finishes at the state championship meet Saturday.
Los Alamos’ girls finished with a trophy at the state meet, which was hosted by Albuquerque Academy. The Hilltoppers took third overall with 218.5 points.
Los Alamos’ boys also competed at the meet, finishing in 12th place overall.
“It feels amazing to get that,” Lott said after her win, topping Madison Burns of Alamogordo by just one-tenth of a second to win. “I saw her and I was like, ‘OK, I have to win this,’ so I gave it everything I had.”
The extra push Lott got from Burns – whom Lott just nipped Friday for the No. 1 seed – gave her that extra motivation to get her to the top of her event.
In the 200 freestyle, Lott finished second behind defending state champion and No. 1 seed heading into the meet, Albuquerque’s Cassaundra Pino. Lott finished in 1:53.68, which was good enough to set a new Los Alamos school record, her second of the year.
Lott had a solid split of 26.47 after 50 yards, but had to play catch-up with Pino the entire way, as she posted a sub-26 second first 50 yards and didn’t let up much for the next 100 yards.
She also helped the girls 400 freestyle relay team to a runner-up finish in the last girls event of the day, as well as the 200 freestyle relay team to a fourth-place finish.
Along with Lott, Maria Venneri, Sydney Schoonover and Izzy Runde finished in 3:29.23, just over a second behind Eldorado.
Having such a big hand in the Hilltoppers’ finish was a big deal for Lott, who won’t be taking much of a break from swimming as she’ll rejoin her club team shortly.
But she was savoring the flavor just for a bit following state.
“I’m feeling really excited for this,” Lott said. “I wasn’t expecting any of this. I think I did really well this season. I put in a lot of hard work, so I’m really happy with the outcome.”
In team competition, Eldorado’s girls repeated as state champ, picking up a big 332.5 points, 70.5 ahead of La Cueva. Cibola’s boys held off Academy 292-231 to win that title.
The first day of competition didn’t go as well as Los Alamos’ boys hoped it would. The Hilltoppers managed to get just in two final races.
The Hilltoppers’ top swimmer, junior Michael Moore, who had a strong third-place finish in the 500 freestyle, struggled in Friday’s preliminary of the 200 individual medley, finishing ninth in that race.
He would actually bounce back in that event Saturday with a time of 2:01.10, which won the consolation race and actually would’ve been good enough for fourth place in the championship race.
Moore actually led the 500 from about 200 yards before Luis Felipe Conejo of Rio Rancho crept up on him and caught him at about the 220-yard mark and dominated the swim the rest of the way.
In the girls 100 backstroke, senior Maria Venneri of Los Alamos took fourth place.
Los Alamos’ two divers also took part in the girls competition, with Madeline Le Scouarnec got to the podium with her eighth-place finish and newcomer Annika Bronkhurst was ninth.