By Arnie Leshin
No doubt it’s an understatement that the Los Alamos cross country team has numbers. Not just the varsity, for at last Friday’s Northern New Mexico Challenge run at the Municipal Recreation Complex, the JV did as its varsity did, dominated.
As they practice under the guidance of Kathy andJim, the Hipwoods who caught up with each other while attending and running for Adams State, a favorite through the years for Santa Fe area harriers, it’s the same way they race in actual competition.
What looks like everybody is stepping on the heels of their teammates, that’s the Hilltopper boys and girls. They are the frontrunners. They rotate for the lead. Last week, their boys took 12 of the first 13 spots, but the girls did even better in running away with the eight places.
And you can’t beat 15 points, which is what the girls accomplished, leaving Pojoaque Valley, Academy of Technology and The Classics, and Santa Fe Indian School looking miles behind.
The boys collected 26 points, with runner-up Pojoaque scoring 88. Also in the race were Taos, Indian School, ATC, St. Michael’s, and Santa Fe High.
Usually the jayvees are underclassmen, but the Hipwoods won’t hesitate to enter some of them for the varsity 5-killometers.
So Hilltopper freshman Norissa Valdez won a tight race to finish first ahead of runner-up Alyx Mastor of Taos and the Los Alamos runners from third to seventh place. State champion Ella Katz, a Taos sophomore, placed eighth.
The boys varsity included Los Alamos sophomore Rafael Sanchez, and he was the winner over sophomore teammates Steven Strevell and Duncan Fuehne. Now if these girls and boys ran instead in the JV race, there would be even more runners in Hilltopper green and gold.
As it was, the Hipwoods entered 20 boys and 19 girls in the junior varsity, and they quickly learned how to conquer the course. You’ll find them running together step by step, which is encouraging. They truly compete as teammates would do, and no one can question their success.
That’s the way Los Alamos has run since the Hipwoods arrived. They have won numerous state championships, and in 2003, the girls ran off with the first five places against a very good Albuquerque Academy group. They have run in strong out-of-state invitational fields, and always do well. In 2003, they program was named No. 1 in the country by Harrier Magazine.
Up on the hill, XC is very popular. You can count about 60-70 coming out for cross country, even more in track and field. They have talent, they have
numbers, they have fun, and they win.
In the varsity run, the number of entries differ from the junior varsity.
Whereas the jayvees were able to run a grand total of 39, the varsity had the standard seven girls and boys harriers. That’s important because the official scoring counts the first five places, but if schools tie, their No. 6 runners can decide the race, or if they are still tied, the No. 7 runners come into the picture, except some schools don’t have, like Los Alamos, that many quality runners.
- Run Hilltoppers run, which is what they do.