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ALBUQUERQUE — While Larry Baca is very much a “take care of your own business”-type guy, even he might have been worried about the pre-meet omens around his team.
An important cog on Baca’s boys track and field team, Matt Zocco, was out with sickness that landed him in the hospital. Even one of his assistants, Will Stolpe, was out sick the night before Friday’s Harper Invitational started.
But things turned out just fine.
The Hilltopper boys finished fourth at the Harper Invitational, held at Albuquerque Academy. Meanwhile, the Hilltopper girls took third at the event, which concluded Saturday.
Only a handful Class AAAA teams took part in the Harper Invitational — most notably Los Alamos, St. Pius X, Belen and the host Chargers. Los Alamos was the top among those teams in both boys and girls competition.
Friday was qualifying for most running events, with finals held on Saturday. About half the field event finals were held on each day.
“Thing went our way for the most part,” Hilltopper girls head coach Paul Anderson said. “It wasn’t perfect, with Amanda (Trujillo) coming up gimpy, but she wanted to give the relays a shot.”
Trujillo, who is having an outstanding season for Los Alamos, had considerable tightness in her legs following Friday’s competition and sat out her individual finals, but anchored the 400 relay, which won Saturday’s final, just a day after posting a season best time of 50.03.
Lindsay Benage had a big day Friday. In addition to finishing second in the high jump, she helped the 400 relay team to the top seed going into Saturday’s finale.
In the high jump, Benage cleared 5 feet, finishing just behind Los Lunas’ Lesley Torres, who jumped 5-2.
In the 400 relay, Benage had the second leg and moved the Hilltoppers into a dead-heat for second place. After a flawless handoff to third leg Taylor Ealey, the ’Toppers took off.
Ealey had a nose over the third leg from Manzano, and Trujillo closed the deal, pulling away in the last 75 meters.
Not only did Benage think she beat her best time of 13.10 in her 100 meter split, there was another big reason the Hilltoppers picked up the No. 1 seed.
“We had really good handoffs,” Benage said. “Those were probably our best handoffs this year.”
In the first running event of the meet, Margaret Wood had a personal record time in the girls 3200, finishing second behind Eldorado’s Allison Bedonie. Wood finished in 11:47.52.
Also in that race, Shaina Riciputi made the state qualifying mark with her fourth-place, 12:19.72 finish.
For the boys, Kyle Pittman set a pair of school sophomore records. Pittman, who was also down with illness earlier this week, eclipsed Simon Gilna’s sophomore record by .17 seconds in the 3200 with his time of 9:41.66.
Pittman spoke with Gilna, who is attending Northern Arizona University, following Friday’s 3200. Gilna gloated that he still owned the sophomore record in the 1600, but Pittman took care of that Saturday, eclipsing that record by nearly six seconds with his time of 4:26.00.
Gareth Gilna had a big showing in Friday’s 800 meters. Running right with a big pack pushing a breakneck pace, Gilna outsprinted two competitors in the final 50 meters to finish fourth.
Gilna’s time in the race was 1:58.56, which was not only the first time a Hilltopper had broken the 2-minute mark in the event, but was a state qualifying time for Gilna.
Academy’s Curtis Beach, quite possibly the top track and field athlete in the state, won the 800 with a blistering 1:53.88.
Ruben Martinez was the big winner in his best event, the javelin, tossing a 170-11 Friday, and placed in the top five in both the shot and the discus.
In the girls competition, Weeks leapt 16-8 in the long jump to win that event and ran the first leg of the 1600 medley relay which qualified for state.
Holly Walker finished third in the 1600 and Ealey was third in both the javelin and shot put.
With only two weeks until the District 2AAAA meet, both programs are in good shape and barring more sickness or injury, are likely to only get better.
“As a whole group, not just the girls and not just the boys…they’ve put in a lot of hard work,” Anderson said. “They have respect for their competition and they want to do well for each other.”
Here are Los Alamos’ results from this weekend’s Harper Invitational:
1. La Cueva, 90.75; 2. Cibola 69; 3. Los Alamos, 61; 4. Albuquerque Academy, 55; 5. Eldorado, 44.75; 6. Los Lunas, 35.75; 7. Belen, 22; 8. Manzano, 19.75; 9. Monte del Sol, 13; 10. St. Pius X, 7, 11. Capital, 4; 12. Sandia Prep, 3; Highland, Rio Grande, Santa Fe, no score.
2. Margaret Wood, 11:47.51; 4. Shaina Riciputi, 12:19.72; Ariana Rowberry, 12:36.75.
1. Los Alamos (Emily Weeks, Lindsay Benage, Taylor Ealey, Amanda Trujillo), 50.31.
Jessica Stokes, 16.74.
6. Emily Weeks, 12.56; Amanda Trujillo, 12.34 (prelim); Keyla Tumas, 13.68.
3. Holly Walker, 5:27.44; 5. Victoria Honnell, 5:36.06; Jessica Mietz, 5:37.02.
6. Los Alamos (Taylor Ealey, Jessica Stokes, Lindsay Benage, Keyla Tumas), 1:49.91.
3. Madison Ahlers, 1:01.62; Clare Charsley-Groffman, 1:04.37; Keyla Tumas, 1:04.72.
6. Sarah Weeks, 50.06; Amanda Trujillo, 47.94 (prelim); Jessica Stokes, 49.81 (prelim).
Holly Walker, 2:30.75; Jessica Mietz, 2:33.58; Victoria Trujillo, 2:33.88.
1600 medley relay
4. Los Alamos (Emily Weeks, Lindsay Benage, Clare Charsley-Groffman, Margaret Wood), 4:25.40.
5. Emily Weeks, 26.72; Madison Ahlers, 27.63.
4. Los Alamos (Taylor Ealey, Keyla Tumas, Clare Charsley-Groffman, Madison Ahlers), 4:16.93.
1. Emily Weeks, 16-8; Marlena Greene, 14-9 3/4.
Marelena Greene, 30-4; Victoria Honnell, 29-2; Rebecca Boerigter, 28-7.
2. Lindsay Benage, 5-0; Brianne Fanning, 4-6.
6. Catherine Chen, 7-9.
3. Taylor Ealey, 115-5; 5. Alex Nichols, 110-4; Shelby Hiller, 87-7.
3. Taylor Ealey, 34-7; Sarah Pollat, 27-5.
6. Molly Willms, 89-10; Sarah Pollat, 77-11; Rebecca Boerigter, 63-1.
1. Cibola, 117; 2. Highland, 64; 3. La Cueva, 55; 4. Los Alamos, 52; 5. Academy, 46; 6. Eldorado, 42; 7. St. Pius, 21; 8. Sandia Prep, 17; 9. Los Lunas, 15; 10. Manzano, 13; 11. Belen, 12.
3. Ruben Martinez, 49-10; Isaac Schilling, 36-5.
5. Ruben Martinez, 132-7; Isaac Schilling, 98-9.
1. Ruben Martinez, 170-11; Spencer Schoonover, 132-6; Garrett Idler, 115-8.
5. Benigno Sandoval, 13-3; Tom Day, 11-3.
Garrett Idler, 5-5; Noah Sandoval, 5-5.
Dion Obermeyer, 19-6; David Bjorklund, 19-4.
Dion Obermeyer, 41-6 1/2.
1. Raul Rodriguez, 10.90; Spencer Schoonover, 11.68.
Spencer Schoonover, 23.68.
Dion Obermeyer, 16.62.
Noah Sandoval, 43.22.
3. Martin Romero, 50.00; David Bjorklund, 53.19; Tom Day, 56.21.
4. Gareth Gilna, 1:58.56; Kevin Hemphill, 2:05.75; David Bjorklund, 2:10.90.
3. Gareth Gilna, 4:23.18; 4. Kyle Pittman, 4:26.00; Tom Bowidowicz, 4:34.81.
2. Allen Pittman, 9:39.53; 3. Kyle Pittman, 9:41.66; Tom Witherell, 9:52.28.
6. Los Alamos (Noah Sandoval, Benigno Sandoval, Ruben Martinez, Spencer Schoonover), 1:32.59.
1600 medley relay
6. Los Alamos (Benigno Sandoval, Noah Sandoval, Tom Bowidowicz, Allen Pittman), 3:45.40.
4. Los Alamos (Allen Pittman, Benigno Sandoval, Ruben Martinez, Martin Romero), 3:25.72.