Simon Bailey wins the 4×400 final in a ‘photo finish’ with Farmington’s Avery Rasher. Photo by Blake Wood
Chelsea Challacomb in the 100 m hurdles. Photo by Blake Wood
LAHS’s Colin Hemez and Mike Walker in the lead pack early in the 3200. Photo by Blake Wood
It was a terrific State Track & Field Championship for the Hilltopper Boys. No one picked them to make it to the podium beforehand, but due to some clutch performances they took 3rd place, only 1/2 point behind 2nd place Albuquerque Academy.
Most impressive was Colin Hemez, who won both the 3200 on Friday and the 1600 on Saturday, in both cases holding off a strong challenge in the home stretch from Albuquerque Academy’s Kevin Wyss. Also scoring in the 3200 was Mike Walker, who got his feet tangled with another runner and did a faceplant on the track late in the race. He leapt back to his feet, took off after the lead pack, and still scored in 5th place.
Impressive on the field were Colin Nickless and John Schueler who threw big PRs in the discus to take 2nd and 4th, respectively.
Easily the best race of the meet was the very last one – the 4×400 m relay. Miroslav Betts to Alexei Ortega to Joe Roback, who gave the baton to anchor Simon Bailey dead even in the lead with Farmington’s speedy Avery Rasher. Bailey and Rasher went neck-and-neck the whole lap, and at the finish it was too close for the spectators to call. The officials initially gave the win to Farmington, then changed it to a tie. After the boys were on the award podium, they reversed their decision and gave the win to Los Alamos. Their times were identical to the 1/1000th of a second.
The Hilltopper Girls finished in fourth, with many impressive performances. Chelsea Challacomb scored in four events, taking 3rd in the high jump and 4th in the shot put, long jump, and 100 m hurdles. Liz Lockhart took 2nd in the triple jump. Elena Abeyta and Hayley Schake took 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the 400, as well as running in several of the relays. Katy Stockton and Haley Butler-Moore took 3rd and 5th in the 800 in big PRs for both.