LA boys looking to build on momentum

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By Mike Cote

In making its final preparations for its opener, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys track and field team held time trials to see where it stood.
If those time trials are any indication of what the Hilltoppers can expect this spring, things are looking good.
Los Alamos will open the regular season Saturday at the Chile Quad at Albuquerque Academy. Along with the Hilltoppers and Academy’s Chargers, Rio Rancho and Sandia Prep are also scheduled to attend.
With its big finish to the 2012 season and many of its top performers last season returning, the Hilltoppers were optimistic about their chances heading into this year anyway, but this week’s time trials seemed to confirm that.
Hilltopper head coach Matt Felton said of the time trials 6 athletes would’ve moved into the school’s all-time top 10 list, an honor its top competitors are always striving for.
Felton admitted the times were run under ideal weather conditions, something that is rare for this time of year, and something Los Alamos isn’t likely to see Saturday in Albuquerque.
The Hilltoppers were the ultimate overachievers at the 2012 state meet. Led by a huge performance from Sean Reardon, who won the 1600 meters, stunning 3200 state champ Jackson Thomas of Del Norte, the Hilltoppers finished in fourth place with 38 points, just one point out of the No. 3 spot and a trophy.
Reardon also helped Los Alamos to a repeat victory in the 1600 relay, an event the Hilltoppers take particular pride in.
Felton is going into his second year leading the squd and said he feels he has a good grasp of his athletes and what they can accomplish.
“I feel pretty confident,” he said. “The honeymoon phase is kind of over…we’re making sure all the guys are doing all the drills right. Out of all our classes the biggest class is the freshman class. Of the 60 guys we have out, 20 are freshmen.”
The transition for the younger athletes won’t be a big one, however, as he said he’s worked closely with Los Alamos Middle School coach Pat Brousseau to make sure the work the Hawks are doing is similar to what the Hilltoppers are doing.
This season, Los Alamos will be going in with the most powerful distance squad in the state, led by Reardon and Nick Hill, the reigning 4A cross country champion.
One of Los Alamos’ focuses in the preseason is to get its sprinters up to speed to give the team better balance.
Felton said he wants to see athletes like Sidney Ellis and Dallin Parker to step into that role of top sprinters.
If Los Alamos can find that balance, Felton said the team will be among the teams to beat in the 4A championship meet this season.
“It’s really going to come down to a numbers game at the state meet, but we’re set up perfectly for that,” he said.