By GEORGE MORSEe
Sports and Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos High School boys track and field team tied with Los Lunas High School for fourth place at the Class 5A state track and field meet May 13 at the Great Friends of UNM track and field facilities in Albuquerque.
Albuquerque Academy took first place with 86 points. Alamogordo High School was second with 56 points and Artesia High School third with 52 points.
The Hilltoppers were led by senior pole vaulter Liam Johnson, who earned Los Alamos’ lone gold medal by winning the pole vault on the opening day (May 12) of the meet. Johnson, who owns the Los Alamos school record of 15 feet in the event, dueled with Alamogordo’s Colton Dean.
Johnson passed at every height until the bar reached 15 feet. It nearly backfired on him as he failed in his first two attempts to clear that height. He finally cleared the bar on his third attempt. Dean, who had started when the bar was at 13 feet, cleared that height. Dean then cleared 14 feet, 14 feet, 6 inches and then cleared the bar at 15 feet on his third attempt.
However, Dean had already missed on three of his earlier attempts at lower heights, giving him a total of five misses. Johnson only had two. When neither could clear 15 feet, 6 inches, Johnson was awarded first place because he had fewer misses than Dean.
Los Alamos picked up seven points for Johnson’s victory. They picked up two more points on opening day. Gabe Holesinger earned one of them with a sixth-place finish in the high jump. Kai Coblentz earned the other, finishing sixth in the 1600-meter run. The Hilltoppers scored nine points on opening day.
Los Alamos got off to a great start May 13 in the finals of the relay events. The 400-meter relay team of Nicolas Dowdy, Nathaniel Ortega, Isaac Timmerman and Kevin Maresca took second place with a time of 43.22 seconds. Maresca followed soon after with a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter dash.
The 800-meter relay team of Dowdy, Leander Murphy, Timmerman and Maresca took third place. Ortega added a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash. Elijah Velasquez added a fifth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.
Ortega’s fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash and Macklin Cunico’s sixth-place finish in the javelin gave the Hilltoppers 36 points going into the meet’s final event, the 1600-meter relay. Los Lunas had 42 points.
Los Alamos’ team of Miroslav Betts, Velasquez, Coblentz and Ortega brought the baton home in second place behind Alamogordo. That earned the Hilltoppers eight points. Los Lunas came in fifth, scoring two points and creating the tie for fourth place.