LAHS XC teams finish in top three at state

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By Phil Scherer

Every year, the Los Alamos cross country teams are among the top competitors at the Class 5A state meet. And this year was no different, as the Hilltopper girls took the second place prize, and the boys finished in third place.

Heading into the boys race, everyone expected it to be a three-team battle between Albuquerque Academy, Kirtland Central and LAHS. And the meet lived up to expectations, with those three teams finishing well ahead of every other team in the race.

Academy took home the state championship with 37 points, while Kirtland Central took second place with 61 points.

The Hilltoppers finished just two points behind Kirtland Central with 63 points.

Two weeks ago, following the Hilltoppers’ home meet, head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood explained that whichever of those three teams was able to put together the most complete meet would walk away as the champions, and on Saturday Albuquerque Academy proved to be up to the task with its decisive victory.

Despite not accomplishing its goal of a state championship, the Hilltopper runners all put together impressive performances.

Freshman Rafael Sanchez was the team’s top finisher with a time of 17:03. He finished in fifth place overall, and earned All-State honors.

The other scorers for LAHS all finished in the top 21, led by Steven Strevell, who finished in 11th place with a time of 17:15. Duncan Fuehne finished in 12th place, also with a time of 17:15.

Kevin Parkinson finished in 17:28, good for 15th place, while Shawn Williams rounded out the scoring in 21st place with a time of 17:42.

Also running for the Hilltoppers were Hunter Swavely, who finished with a time of 17:51, good for 24th place, and Josh Strevell, who finished in 18:09, for 37th place.

In the girls’ race, it was a two-team race between Alabuquerque Academy and LAHS, and the Chargers proved to be too much for the Hilltoppers to handle.

Academy finished with 38 points, and LAHS followed with 69 points.

A pair of top 10 finishers, Lidia Appell and Norissa Valdez, led the Hilltoppers.

Appell finished in fifth place overall with a time of 19:47, while Valdez finished in 19:56, good for eighth place. Both runners earned All-State honors.

The other scorers for LAHS were Mabel Pyle, Marin Kelly and Abby Beus.

Pyle finished in 15th place with a time of 20:52. Kelly finished in 16th place with a time of 20:53. Beus finished in 29th place with a time of 21:36.

Also competing for the Hilltoppers were Amaya Coblentz, who finished in 44th place with a time of 22:10, and Paulina Burnside, who finished in 45th place, with a time of 22:16.