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Huskies: A year we’re going to remember forever

It has been a generation and then some since a team other than Los Alamos or Albuquerque Academy won the state cross-country meet in their class.

Until Hope Christian swept the top three spots in Class 4A boys on Friday and knocked the two behemoths from their perch.

On the girls side, form held as the Hilltoppers and Norissa Valdez each defended their 2019 team and individual championships.

“It started out very fast,” Valdez said of her run at the Academy home course that was tweaked a bit to allow runners to finish in the football stadium. “And it was kind of hot.”

Just a handful of meets and running in the spring made for a somewhat different vibe.

“It was very interesting,” Valdez said. “But it was still a lot of fun. It was weird not having a bunch of meets. We had one, then district, then state. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was definitely a unique year and we’re going to remember it forever.”

Valdez finished in a time of 19 minutes, 16.44 seconds. Hannah Gartz was second for the ‘Toppers and fifth overall in 20:05.49, and Hailey McDowell was eighth overall in 20:13.65.

Los Alamos finished with 23 points, comfortably ahead of the runner-up Chargers, who finished with 35 points.

Now, Valdez and her teammates will begin getting ready for a track and field season that starts shortly.

“It might be kind of weird because I run shorter distances in track, such as the 800 and the 1,600, so it might be kind of hard making the transition,” she said. “But, I think it will be good.”

In Boys 4A, the trio of Huskies at the top proved to be too much to overcome as they finished with 18 points, 10 ahead of Los Alamos, breaking a string of Los Alamos or Academy team victories that stretched back to 1997.

Wakei Hettinga finished fifth in 16:10.56 to lead a pack of top-10 Hilltoppers finishers. Rafael Sanchez took sixth in 16:14.96, followed by Ryan Aldaz in eighth spot at 16:30.01 and Adrian Will ninth at 16:44.91.

“They were ahead from the start,” Hettinga said of the Huskies. “When someone is ahead of you, it’s much harder to catch up.”

CLASS 3A GIRLS: Flashing a bright smile, St. Michael’s eighth-grader Raylee Hunt showed that she is going to be somebody to be reckoned with, taking second in a time of 19:26.39, 49 seconds behind winner Alyx Mastor of Cottonwood Classical.

“I really tried coming after her when we were coming down the downhill,” Hunt said. ‘But there were a few times when I couldn’t see her and then I just got really depressed.”

The Horsemen finished just off the podium, at fourth overall, with 69 points.

CLASS 3A BOYS: It was a tough go for the locals as St. Mike’s Dennis Ortiz was the top finisher at 15 in 18:38.58, five seconds off a personal record.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’m a senior, so I’m glad I got to run my last cross-country meet of state. It was good for us to qualify as a team.”

COVID WOES: A positive COVID-19 test Thursday by a Santa Fe student led to the cancellation of the Demons football season. Santa Fe was scheduled to play Capital on Friday and would have had one more, yet-to-be-scheduled game. The Jaguars were able to find a replacement game against Los Lunas that was played late Saturday.

$1M TOURNEY: Los Alamos alum and former New Mexico star center Alex Kirk announced that he will be joining a group of other ex-Lobos to play in The Basketball Tournament, a growing, open-to-the-public tournament worth more than $1 million. Among his teammates will be Northern New Mexico women’s coach J.R. Giddens.

A TWO-FER: St. Michael’s alum Miquela Martinez, a sophomore at Felician University in Rutherford, N.J., became the school’s first to earn all-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference honors twice. As a setter, she averaged 8.52 assists and 3.72 digs, among league leaders.

BOYS SOCCER / Thursday
*ST. MICHAEL’S 8, OAK GROVE/MENAUL/EVANGEL CHRISTIAN 2: Oliver Rosales scored three goals and added two assists to lead the host Horsemen (2-5, 1-1 District 2-1A/3A) past the co-op team.

*CAPITAL 2, MORIARTY 0: After a scoreless first half, the visiting Jaguars (1-4, 1-2 District 1-5A) scored twice in the second half to beat the Pintos.

SANTA FE 4,CAPITAL 0: Michael Wissman collected a hat-trick and Kiram Smelser opened the scoring midway through the first half to drive the host Demons (2-3, 1-2 District 1-5A) to a win over the Jaguars.

ST. MICHAEL’S 2, EAST MOUNTAIN 1: Oliver Rosales scored twice, including the game-winner late in the game, to lead the host Horsemen (1-5, 1-1 District 2-1A/3A) over the Timberwolves.

TAOS 10, MORIARTY 0: Alex Waggoner scored four goals, with an assist; Ben Hastings added three goals; and Teva Leshem had a goal and two assists for the Tigers (3-0, 1-0 District 2-4A) over the Pintos in a game ended early by the mercy rule.

The visiting Hilltoppers (3-2-1, 1-0 District 2-4A) got a goal and two assists from Jenna Harris to beat the Tigers (3-2, 1-1).

*MORIARTY 3, CAPITAL 0: The visiting Jaguars (0-5) played defensively, but could not manage any offense against the Pintos.

SANTA FE 11, CAPITAL 0: Sonia Goujon scored three goals and Jazzi Gonzalez added two for the visiting Demonettes (2-3 overall, 1-2 in District 1-5A) against the Jaguars (04, 0-2) in a mercy-rule game.

Elsa Smith had a hat-trick and Rachael Morgan scored twice for the Horsemen (4-0-1, 2-0 2-1A/3A) in the mercy-rule game over the Pintos.

TAOS 1, MORIARTY 0, OT: Anabelle Caldwell scored off a feed from Sienna Sategna in the first overtime period to give the host Tigers (3-1, 1-0 District 2-4A) a win over the Pintos.

ACADEMY FOR TECHNOLOGY AND THE CLASSICS 4, MONTE DEL SOL 0: The visiting Phoenix (1-2, 1-0 District 2-1A/3A) got goals from four different players to beat the Dragons (0-4, 0-1).

*SANTA FE 3, CAPITAL 1: The visiting Demonettes (8-1, 5-1 District 1-5A) clinched the district championship and automatic state tournament qualifying berth behind 13 kills from Laila Bernardino and 12 from Jorja Chambers against the Jaguars (1-6, 0-6) 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-11.

*LOS ALAMOS 3, ESPAÃ’OLA VALLEY 0: The host Hilltoppers (7-4, 6-1 District 2-4A) had little trouble sweeping the Sundevils (5-4, 3-1) 25-16, 25-16, 25-22.

*MESA VISTA 3, McCURDY 2: Down two sets, the visiting Bobcats (3-6, 1-2 District 5-2A) made a big recovery before running out of steam in the final set to the Trojans (3-6, 1-2) 25-9, 25-21, 21-25, 16-25, 15-8.

*MORIARTY 3, TAOS 1: The host Tigers (1-7, 0-7 District 2-4A) got six kills each from Noelle Good and Reilly Rodriguez, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Pintos in the 25-10, 25-19, 20-25, 25-17 decision.

ST. MICHAEL’S 3, COTTONWOOD CLASSICAL 0: The Horsemen (6-3, 6-1 in District 5-3A) had little trouble with the Coyotes 25-6, 25-12, 25-12.

LOS ALAMOS 3, POJOAQUE VALLEY 0: The host Hilltoppers (6-4, 5-1 District 2-4A) survived a tough opening set and got 13 kills from Abigail Lechel to beat the Elkettes (4-3, 4-3) 27-25, 25-16, 25-22.

SANTA FE 3, CLEVELAND 1: Laila Bernardino had 18 kills, Isabella Melton 9 and Jorjo Chambers eight to outpace the host Demonettes (7-1, 4-1 District 1-5A) to an important 25-18, 31-29, 25-23, 25-10 win over the Storm.

RIO RANCHO 3, CAPITAL 0: The host Jaguars (1-5, 0-5 District 1-5A) couldn’t quite get enough offense to get by the Rams, losing 25-21, 25-17, 25-21.

ESPAÑOLA VALLEY 3, TAOS 0: The host Sundevils (5-3, 4-2 District 2-4A) had little trouble with the Tigers in the 25-19, 25-22, 25-18 win.

LOS ALAMOS 3, MORIARTY 0: Nadia Gallegos had 12 kills for the visiting Hilltoppers (6-4, 5-1 District 2-4A), who struggled in the opening two sets before rollicking through the finale over the Pinots 25-23, 27-25, 25-12.