4A girls cross country belonged to Los Alamos last fall--lock, stock, and stopwatch. Will it be any different this fall?
The Hilltoppers blew out the state meet, scoring 34 points to the 101 posted by second-place St. Pius X and 136 by third-place Albuquerque Academy.
It's a new year this year, but not as new for Los Alamos as for a lot of folks. And that doesn't bode well if you're hoping for a change in the established order of things. To be a little more precise about what that means, let's take a look at the returners from the top 50 finishers at state last fall:
1 Jenna Thurman Del Norte 19:09.80 1
2 Jordan Parker Los Alamos 19:18.50 2
? 3 Arena Lewis Belen 19:21.10 3
4 Jennifer Mooday Los Alamos 19:25.80 4
5 Lindsay Friesenhahn Farmington 19:29.20 --
6 Teresa Sandoval Los Alamos 19:34.20 5
9 Elizabeth Turner Los Alamos 19:47.40 8
10 Claire Archibeck Albuquerque Academy 20:05.30 9
11 Kelli Reagan St. Pius X 20:09.70 10
13 Britani Gonzales Santa Teresa 20:12.40 12
14 Regina Marquez Santa Teresa 20:14.70 13
15 Jazzy Padilla Del Norte 20:18.30 14
16 Janali Gustafson Los Alamos 20:19.60 15
17 Marissa Nathe St. Pius X 20:27.90 16
18 Mikayla Pulliam Los Alamos 20:28.10 17
19 Eliand Riciputi Los Alamos 20:29.30 18
20 Greta Miller Santa Fe Indian School 20:31.80 19
21 Kendra Lente Los Lunas 20:33.90 20
22 Askia McCulley Bernalillo 20:38.70 21
23 Kiona McCulley Bernalillo 20:40.80 22
24 Sheri Adair Kirtland Central 20:48.20 23
26 Julie Gianinni St. Pius X 20:54.80 24
30 Morgan Findley Albuquerque Academy 21:07.20 28
31 Camilla Allison Santa Fe Indian School 21:11.00 29
32 Noel Prandoni Santa Fe Indian School 21:11.00 30
33 Kaylee Tsingine Gallup 21:12.30 31
34 Mara Short Albuquerque Academy 21:13.80 32
36 Abigail Hunter Albuquerque Academy 21:15.50 34
38 Marisol Mendoza Bernalillo 21:29.80 35
39 Sammy King Albuquerque Academy 21:30.00 36
40 Samantha Caire Atrisco Heritage Academy 21:33.20 --
42 Grace Vickers Valencia 21:36.30 --
43 Bianca Avalos St. Pius X 21:38.50 37
45 Chelsea Nez Del Norte 21:45.00 39
46 Sierra Martinez Aztec 21:46.70 40
47 Victoria Cordova Belen 21:48.40 41
48 Alicia Page Moriarty 21:50.70 --
49 Shelby Levi Piedra Vista 21:53.60 42
50 Beatrice Jones Gallup 21:56.80 43
All in all, there weren't many graduates out of this group, and none of the graduates there were came from Los Alamos. So, of the girls who scored 2-4-5-8-15, they're all back. And so are the ones who scored 17 and 18. That's not much of a reprieve, for anyone. It only gets worse if LA is bringing up any promising young freshmen. Jordan Parker, Jennifer Mooday, Teresa Sandoval? You'll be seeing more of them this fall.
St. Pius X should be very happy to have Kelly Reagan and Marissa Nathe back, but they also have a few who aren't back. Ditto for Albuquerque Academy, which returns Claire Archibeck. Staying healthy is likely to be a big emphasis for the Chargers.
Probably the most intriguing question yet to be answered from these teams lies in how AA will respond to having Adam Kedge holding the reins of both the boys' and girls' programs. There is considerable talent at Albuquerque Academy, and it would not be wise to dismiss the Chargers lightly.
Following the established pattern of these articles, we take a quick check of the 3200 rankings of returning runners from this spring to see what those might add to the discussion. Those rankings are as follows:
These rankings would suggest that returning state champion Jenna Thurman will have her hands full trying to repeat against the likes of Marissa Nathe. And, Santa Teresa phenom Regina Marquez might have something to say about the ultimate outcome as well.
Team-wise, Los Alamos may not be quite as dominant here as they were in cross country, but neither is there a lot for anyone to take comfort from. In fact, it appears we can add Mikayla Pulliam to the first wave of Hilltopper harriers.
Albuquerque Academy, St. Pius X, and Santa Teresa all present some interesting possibilities for the fall, but none to the extent that would suggest sharing of favorite status with Los Alamos.
The story told by the list of returning competitors from the 1600 rankings of this spring reads much the same.
If anyone is going to close ground on Los Alamos, look to a few key meets to tell that story. That list of meets would start at UNM and make a pass through Rio Rancho along the way. There are bound to be more telling meets than just these two, but I'm not clear at this time which meets LA will be engaging with substantial portions of the chase pack.