Boys track and field: Five qualify for state meet

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — For the first meet of the season, things went pretty well, although there’s still plenty of room for improvement.At the season opener Saturday, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys track and field team put five qualifiers into the state Class AAAA meet in four events.Saturday’s meet, which was held at Milne Stadium included several teams from around Albuquerque and northern New Mexico. In its team competition, Los Alamos finished third among the seven teams competing in its pool.La Cueva won the team competition with 99 points. Albuquerque Academy, which is the early season favorite in Class AAAA, was second with 85, but the ‘Toppers were right behind with 84 team points.While the close finish is a good omen for the rest of the season, Hilltopper head coach Larry Baca said it’s a little early to celebrate, particularly because two of Academy’s top athletes, Curtis Beach and Ben Johnson, weren’t in the lineup as they usually would be.As expected, the Hilltoppers’ distance squad fared well Saturday.Kyle Pittman easily won his heat of the 1600 meters, an event that was dominated by Hilltoppers and Albuquerque Academy’s Chargers.Pittman had at least a share of the lead for most of the race. With about 350 meters to go, Pittman started to take full control of the race and pulled away for a winning by a comfortable four-second margin.Following the race, Pittman said he was fairly but not totally satisfied with his performance.“For the most part of the third lap, everyone took it kind of slow,” Pittman said. “I do it, too, preparing for a big kick at the end. I was trying not to get too tight at that point. That’s an important part of the race and you don’t want to get too tight.”Pittman picked up a state qualifying mark in the event with his finish of 4:36.89.In the 3200, Allen Pittman, Gareth Gilna and Tom Witherell not only went 1-2-3 in the event, but also picked up qualifying marks.Witherell’s finish was particularly notable in the event. Not only was his 10:13.15 just under the state cut time of 10:14.00, it was a personal best for him by about 30 seconds.It was a good personal showing for many of the Hilltoppers along with the solid showing in team competition. There were 17 total personal records set by the Hilltoppers Saturday.Ruben Martinez had a big day of his own in the opener. Martinez picked up two state qualifying marks in field events, the shot put (47 feet, 6 inches) and the javelin (176 feet, 5 inches), as well as helping the 400 and 800 relays to second place finishes.Among the things Los Alamos still needs to work on is its relay handoffs. Los Alamos might have qualified for both the 400 and 800 relays, but a botched third handoff in the 400 and a rough second handoff in the 800 may have prevented reaching the marks.Saturday’s meet was the first of three straight in Albuquerque for the Hilltoppers to start the season, which Baca said was about as encouraging as he could’ve hoped for.“I’m tickled to death the way things turned out,” he said. “The kids really performed.”

Here are Los Alamos’ results from the Albuquerque Public Schools meet:

Team scores1. La Cueva, 99; 2. Albuquerque Academy, 85; 3. Los Alamos, 84; 4. Highland, 67; 5. West Mesa, 21; 6. Capital, 0; 6. (tie) Volcano Vista, 0.

Shot put1. Ruben Martinez, 47-6; Isaac Schilling, 34-4.DiscusIsaac Schilling, 85-6.Javelin1. Ruben Martinez, 176-5; Spencer Schoonover, 119-6; Garrett Idler, 110-6.Pole vault2. (tie) Matt Zocco, 11-3; 2. (tie) Benigno Sandoval, 11-3.High jump2. Brett Hill, 5-8; Garrett Idler, 5-4.Long jumpDion Obermeyer, 17-5; Raul Rodriguez, 17-3 ?.Triple jumpDavid Brock, 33-0.100 metersDavid Brock, 12.68; Joey Martinez, 12.94.200 metersBrett Hill, 24.94; Garrett Idler, 25.47.110 hurdlesDion Obermeyer, 18.01.300 hurdles1. Matt Zocco, 41.53.400 meters3. David Bjorklund, 52.83; Garrett Idler, 59.12.800 metersNat Gustafson, 2:14.46; Tanner Johnson, 2:15.25; Ian Pulliam, 2:18.00.1600 meters1. Kyle Pittman, 4:36.89; 5. Tom Bowidowicz, 4:51.51; Kevin Hemphill, 4:57.25.3200 meters1. Allen Pittman, 9:52.68; 2. Gareth Gilna, 9:54.79; 3. Tom Witherell, 10:13.15.400 meters2. Los Alamos (Matt Zocco, Ruben Martinez, David Brock, Raul Rodriguez), 45.53.800 relay2. Los Alamos (Matt Zocco, Ruben Martinez, David Brock, Raul Rodriguez), 1:33.65.1600 medley relay3. Los Alamos (Spencer Schoonover, Joey Martinez, Tom Day, David Bjorklund), 4:03.22.1600 relayLos Alamos (Benigno Sandoval, Allen Pittman, Ruben Martinez, Raul Rodriguez), 3:34.50.