The 2022 State Champion Hilltopper Boys Track & Field Team! Photo by Blake Wood
Senior Jakob Green passes the baton to anchor Jerry Harzol in the state champion 4×100 m relay. Photo by Blake Wood
Sophomore Melaki Gutierrez holds off a fast field to win the 200 m. Melaki also won the 100 m, and was Class 4A high point athlete for the state championship. Photo by Blake Wood
By BLAKE WOOD
The Hilltopper Boys Track & Field team came out on top of the Class 4A Track & Field State Championship on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, accumulating 115 points to runner-up Albuquerque Academy’s 97 points. The ‘Topper Girls were also State Champions – see accompanying article.
It was a closer competition between the ‘Toppers and Chargers than the final score suggests. Head Coach Steven Montoya carefully placed athletes in particular events to maximize the scoring potential, guessing where Academy Head Coach Adam Kedge would place his considerable talent. This resulted in the ‘Toppers being slightly down in points during all of Friday and most of Saturday’s competition. But it paid off in the second-to-last event, when the ‘Toppers deep pool of talented distance runners placed 2-3-4-5-6 in the 3200 m run, clinching the team title. A ‘Topper victory in the final event, the 4×400 m relay, put an exclamation point on the weekend.
Sophomore Melaki Gutierrez was honored as Class 4A high point athlete, accumulating 19 points by winning the 100 m (10.96) and 200 m (22.17), and running on the winning 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams.
In the 4×200 m relay, the ‘Topper team of Ryan Ziek, Melaki Gutierrez, Jacob Green, and Jerry Harzol broke a 45 year-old LAHS school record for that event, running 1:29.04.
In addition to Gutierrez’s dual state champion titles, senior Kyle Hatler was state champion in the pole vault. Kyle (already the LAHS school record holder) jumped 15′, a full 2′ higher than the runner-up. In fact, Kyle didn’t even start jumping until everyone else was out of the competition.
Senior Morgan Schaller was presented with a plaque honoring him as an NMAA “Compete With Class” Sportsman Scholarship Recipient.
Relay team State Champions included:
4×100 m: John Teague, Melaki Gutierrez, Jakob Green, and Jerry Hartzol.
4×200 m: Ryan Ziek, Melaki Gutierrez, Jacob Green, and Jerry Hartzol. New LAHS School Record.
4×400 m: John Teague, Jerry Hartzol, Grafton Urbatsch and Alex Pasulka.
Further notable performances include:
John Teague placed 4th in the 400 m, with a time of 50.50.
Wakei Hettinga and Ryan Aldaz both broke 2 minutes in the 800 m for the first time, placing 4th and 5th, and finishing in 1:58.7 and 1:59.2, respectively.
Keith Bridge placed 2nd in the 1600 m, in a personal best time of 4:21.9. Ryan Aldaz and Rowan Flores placed 5th and 6th in this event.
In the event that clinched the team title for the ’Toppers, the 3200 m run, Keith Bridge, Rowan Flores, Duane Sena, Reuben Goettee, and Morgan Schaller placed 2-3-4-5-6, respectively. Keith’s time was 9:52.7.
Daniel Kim placed 5th in the 300 m hurdles in a time of 42.18.
Jon Gilbert placed 4th in the discus with a throw of 121’9″ and Matt Brousseau placed 6th.
Teke Nieto, Abram Chacon, and Jon Gilbert finished 3-4-5, respectively, in the shot put. Teke’s throw was 43′ 5-3/4″.
Jakob Green finished 5th in the long jump, with a leap of 20′ 10-1/2″.
The 4×800 relay team of Beck Ellis, Eddie Gartz, Tommy Oldham, and Keith Bridge placed 2nd in a time of 8:34.1.
The 1600 m sprint medley relay team of Donovan de la Cruz, Jakob Green, Ryan Aldaz, and Wakei Hettinga placed 3rd in a time of 3:37.9.
Full results can be found at https://www.nmact.org/file/2022_4A5A_Track_Results.pdf
Senior Tommy Oldham runs a leg of the 4×800 m relay, which placed 2nd. Photo by Blake Wood
Freshman Duane Sena leads senior teammates Rowan Flores, Morgan Schaller, and Reuben Goettee in the 3200 m run. Along with senior Keith Bridge, this talented distance squad took places 2-6 and clinched the team title for the ‘Toppers. Photo by Blake Wood
Sophomore Alex Pasulka anchored the state champion 4×400 m relay team. Photo by Blake Wood