Hilltoppers flex their muscle at the Harper Memorial track and field meet

Apr. 27—Richard Harper Memorial Stadium was yet another platform for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers to validate their status as New Mexico's premier track and field program.

Even with a few Class 5A powers on hand for the Harper Memorial track and field meet at Albuquerque Academy, it was 4A Los Alamos that claimed the top team prizes.

The boys won 105-82 over Cleveland. The girls stomped everyone in sight, scoring 123 points, more than double the total of runner-up Academy (61).

"It's just amazing to be surrounded by such an incredible group of girls and athletes," said Los Alamos senior Anna Wetteland, Saturday's 800-meter champion. "I think we know that we have depth and we have some talent, but we take every meet as it goes."

A future UNM Lobo track and football athlete, Melaki Gutierrez blazed to victory in both of the boys' sprint finals, and these were among the countless highlights authored by Los Alamos (in both genders) on a chilly and sometimes breezy day at the Academy. The 100 final included rivals and friends, Bryce Melton of Santa Fe and Fredrick Ford of Albuquerque High.

"I always look forward to racing those guys, they're some of the best athletes the state has to offer," Gutierrez said. He finished in 10.82 seconds in the 100 and 21.79 seconds in the 200. "We're friends, but we love the competition between each other."

Colette Bibeault was also a double champion for Los Alamos on Saturday, as she won both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles finals. She had a third victory in the pole vault on Friday.

Wetteland's future will take her to Los Angeles, where she'll do sprints in the freestyle and the butterfly for UCLA's swimming program. But Wetteland ran a dominant 800-meter final Saturday, finishing in 2 minutes, 13.50 seconds.

That was, by four seconds, a personal best for Wetteland. Her previous best at this distance came at last June's Great Southwest meet at UNM.

But, it was, by 0.15 seconds, the second-best mark in her family in the 800. Her older sister Kelly ran a 2:13.35 a couple of years ago.

"My goal was to try to make it there (ahead of my sister's time), and I got really close," a smiling Wetteland said. "I was happy to get even that close, because she's an incredible athlete."

The Hilltoppers' Jaiya Daniels raced to a win in the 100-meter final in 12.28 seconds, just ahead of Volcano Vista's Ryleigh Jones. Daniels was also the top seed in the 200, but did not run. Jones of Volcano Vista (25.80 seconds) took the 200-meter title.

Alexander Pasulka of the Hilltoppers captured the open 400, and anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay, the meet's final event.

Last November's 5A state cross country individual champions were outstanding on Saturday.

Gianna Rahmer of Eldorado, winner of the 3,200-meter final on Friday, completed the distance sweep Saturday, dusting the field in the 1,600-meter final where she finished ahead of everyone by about a 100-meter margin.

Rahmer displayed a rare animated celebration following her victory, and for good reason. The time she ran — 4 minutes, 52.68 seconds — was by seven seconds a personal record in this event. She had run a 4:59 at the Chandler Rotary meet in Arizona a month ago.

Charlie Vause of Rio Rancho romped in the boys' 1,600. Vause's time of 4:13.37 was 13 seconds better than teammate Cody Sullivan, and Vause ran away from the field over the final 800. "Two laps to go," Vause said, "I just took off."

He, like Rahmer, finished about 100 meters ahead of the runner-up.

"I think I could have executed a little better, but I'm not complaining," Vause said. He later anchored Rio Rancho's 1,600 Medley relay team to a victory.

While many of the top athletes won their races on Saturday, there were also a couple of unexpected winners.

Volcano Vista's Maile Tanner was one of them; she was first in the 400-meter final (1:01.46) from Lane 6.

"I really was not expecting this, with the girls in my heat," Tanner said. "The fact that I was even able to qualify for the finals was so amazing. ... I was expecting to get fourth."

Albuquerque High's Kaden Andrus was another surprise champion. He was seeded third going into the 100-meter high hurdles final, but defeated both Los Alamos' Daniel Kim and Academy's Sam James to the line, in 14.75 seconds.

"At first, I was pretty nervous going against this Academy dude, and the Los Alamos guy. They're really fast," Andrus said, adding, "I feel like I do better when the meets are rather more important."

The only field finals Saturday were the boys and girls discus. Grant Wade won a super close duel with his Cleveland teammate Strat Shufelt. Wade's winning throw was 153 feet, 7 inches. Shufelt's mark was 153-6.

Arianna Valenzuela of Rio Rancho finished off a terrific meet with her victory in the discus (134-7). She was top three in both the javelin and shot put on Friday.

Next up for local schools is the Albuquerque Metro Championships, on Thursday and Friday.