Topper Swimmers Sweep Bill Hudson Memorial Invite

The Los Alamos High School Hilltoppers swimming and diving teams dominated the Bill Hudson Memorial Invite Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Aquatic Center. Photo by John McHale/

Orion Henderson swimming the 200 yd freestyle and finished in first place. Photo by John McHale/


More than 300 competitors from 15 teams participated in the 4th annual Bill Hudson Memorial High School Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Walkup Aquatic Center in Los Alamos.

The Los Alamos High School boys scored 695 points, outdistancing second place St Pius with 220. Los Lunas was third with 164 points. The Hilltopper girls scored 581 points for the victory, beating second place Cottonwood Classical with 284.

Freshman Orion Henderson won two freestyle events for the Toppers, the 200 and the 500. Both times qualified him for the state championships in February. Andy Corliss, runner up in the 500 free, also qualified for the state meet. Soph Max Corliss picked up a win in the 200 IM, besting the state high school meet standard. Co-captain Nick Berndt took the 50 sprint, and provided quick splits in two winning relays. Junior Ian Jaegers, back in action after an injury, won the 100 backstroke, while soph Takuma Shiina stroked to victory for the Toppers in the 100 breaststroke.

Brothers Griffin and Brayden Stidham scored 2nd and 3rd for Los Alamos in the diving, with both earning scores that propelled them into the state meet. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Hilltoppers finished 1-2-3, with the foursome of Ming Lo (8th grade), soph Gabe Katko, soph Konstantin Nelson and freshman Matias Rougier, out-touching the other two Los Alamos teams by inches.  

All three relay teams eclipsed the state meet standard, showing the Hilltoppers’ sprint depth. Two Los Alamos girls relays won. The Hilltoppers team of junior Injie Mourad, senior Jillian Bennett, junior Sophie Schmidt and senior Sonyia Williams raced to victory in the 200 medley relay, while the squad of Mourad, senior Meredith McBranch, junior Cory Liechty, and Schmidt took the meet’s final event, the 400 free relay. Co-captain Jillian Bennett, back in competition after a shoulder injury, took her specialty, the 100 breaststroke. Junior Emme Mooday prevailed for the Topper girls in the 1-meter dive. The 200 freestyle relay quartet of McBranch, junior co-captain Maddie Ovaska, soph Katherine Elton and Bennett beat the state meet standard in finishing third. 

The Los Alamos High School swim team will travel Dec. 15 to Belen for an invitational meet in a new venue for the Hilltoppers.

Orion Henderson checks his time after swimming the 200 yd freestyle and found that he had finished 1st. Photo by John McHale/

Lo Ming swimming the backstroke in the 200IM and finished 2nd. Photo by John McHale/

Nick Berndt competing in the 50 yd freestyle. The swimmers in this event swim the length of the pool without taking a breath, so no faces just lots of splashing. Berndt finished in 1st place. Photo by John McHale/

Savannah Kimball swimming the 200 yard freestyle finishing in 5th. Photo by John McHale/

Faces in the crowd. Photo by John McHale/

Sophie Schmidt swims the breaststroke in the 200 IM.  She finishes with a 3rd place. Photo by John McHale/

Merededth McBranch swimming the 100 freestyle finishing in 13th place. Photo by John McHale/

Nick Berndt competing in the 100 yd butterfly. Photo by John McHale/

Bella Montoya swimming in the 200 freestyle and winning her heat. Photo by John McHale/