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Distance events lead LAHS boys' track to fourth place finish

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By Phil Scherer

For the second year in a row, the Los Alamos High School boy’s track and field team placed in the top four at the state championships, with many athletes putting together impressive results for the Hilltoppers. 

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Nobody was more impressive than junior Elijah Velasquez, who earned an individual state championship in the 800-meter run in unlikely fashion. In the prelims, Velasquez finished with the fourth-fastest time in the event, more than one second slower than the top racer. However, he turned things around in the finals, improving his time by nearly two seconds and winning the championship with a time of 1:56.70, the only Hilltopper boy to win a state championship this year. 

Overall, the Hilltoppers finished in fourth place at the state championships with 44 points. District 2-5A rival Albuquerque Academy finished as the overall state champions, earning 83 points at the two-day event. Artesia finished in second place with 49 points and Alamogordo finished in third place with 48.5 points. 

In addition to Velasquez, Steven Strevell also had a strong meet to help lead the Hilltoppers. He finished in second place in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:58.60, and finished in third place in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:30.93. 

The 1,600-meter run was the strongest event for the Hilltoppers at the championships, as LAHS athletes finished in third, fourth and fifth places. Duncan Fuehne finished in fourth place with a time of 4:31.93 and Velasquez finished in fifth place with a time of 4:36.99. 

Fuehne also had a strong showing in the 3,200-meter run, finishing in fourth place with a time of 10:03.42. Finishing right behind him in the 3,200 was Josh Strevell, who came in fifth place with a time of 10:05.06. 

Gabe Holesinger finished his strong season with strong finishes in the pole vault and the high jump. In the pole vault, he came in fifth place, clearing 12 feet-6 inches. In the high jump, he claimed seventh place, clearing 5 feet-8 inches. 

Arturo Rodriguez also had a pair of strong finishes in the discus and shot put. In the discus, he finished in seventh place, throwing 137 feet-7 inches. He also finished in seventh place in the shot put, throwing 44 feet-10 inches. 

Ben Schauer also finished on the podium for the Hilltoppers in the triple jump, earning fifth place, jumping 42 inches. 

The relays were also strong for the Hilltoppers. The 1,600-meter sprint medley relaye finished in third place with a time of 3:44.20. The 4x100-meter relay finished in fourth place with a time of 43.35 and the 4x200-meter relay also finished in fourth place with a time of 1:35.47.