By BLAKE WOOD
It was two close, hard-fought races between the Los Alamos Hilltoppers and the Albuquerque Academy Chargers at Saturday’s Class 4A Cross Country State Championship at the Academy campus. When it was over, the ‘Topper Boys had won their third State Championship in a row over the Chargers, 58-65, and the Girls placed a close second to Academy, 31-26.
In the Boys race, junior Benjamin Sanchez went out with the lead pack, slowly dropping competitors off the back, and finishing 3rd overall, close behind two Taos runners, in a time of 16:09. He was followed by senior Armando Inbody, who earned All-State honors by finishing in 10th overall in a time of 16:46. Junior Eddie Gartz was the third Hilltopper in 12th overall (16:54). Junior Mikey Bane (18th, 17:05) and senior Grafton Urbatsch (23rd, 17:24) rounded out the scoring quintet, each of the five Hilltoppers finishing one or two places ahead of the corresponding Academy runner for the win. Junior Brayden Allen (30th, 17:35) and sophomore Gus Ovaska (39th, 17:53) completed the State Championship team.
The Girls race was dominated by Los Alamos and Academy, with each team placing four runners in the top-10. The Chargers took the top two spots, followed by ‘Topper senior Anna Wetteland, and freshmen Ensley Jorgenson and Grace Montoya in places 3-4-5 and times of 19:01, 19:05, and 19:20, respectively. They were followed by junior Rebecca Beaux in 8th place overall and a time of 19:28, completing the quartet of ‘Topper All-State finishers. Freshman Amelia Hill and senior Lucy Kelley finished close together in 15th and 16th places and times of 20:17 and 20:19, respectively. Junior Lena Ronning (53rd, 22:20) completed the State Runner-Up team.
Grace Montoya and Rebecca Beaux mix it up with two Academy runners halfway into the 5k race. They both earned All-State honors with 5th and 8th place finishes, in times of 19:20 and 19:28, respectively. Photo by Blake Wood
The Girls candy-striped their legs, a ‘Topper XC State Championship tradition going back over 20 years! From left to right: Ensley Jorgenson, Anna Wetteland, Grace Montoya, Lena Ronning, Rebecca Beaux, Lucy Kelley, and Amelia Hill.