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FEATURED PROGRAM: Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

It's time to give credit where credit it due.

Each week, Coaching Distance will shine the spotlight on an exceptional high school distance program. This week's featured team is Los Alamos High School out of Los Alamos, New Mexico.


New Mexico 4A


Steven Montoya

Head Boys Cross Country Coach

Head Boys Track Coach, leading the Distance Runners & also works w/ the Sprints


Steven was an assistant on the Los Alamos cross country teams for 4 years before becoming the Head Boys Cross Country coach 3 years ago. He is going into his 7th year as the Head Boys Track and Field coach.

"I did not know what Cross Country was in HS and though I was on the Track and Field team, I didn't take it seriously." Coach Montoya wrote. "To be fair, I took it as serious as anyone else on the team!

Like many, I became a coach because I ran and am a teacher. Admin figures 'you run so you can coach track' and when you are applying for a job you've got to be willing to take on some extras!"

When asked what he enjoys most about coaching, Coach Montoya replied, "I enjoy the pursuit of improvement (both coach and athlete). I enjoy the relationships I get to make with young men and I appreciate the impact I can have on their lives during this time.

I want to create a program where someday the groomsmen in your wedding are your XC teammates. I love that my wife is my assistant coach and both of my daughters are runners. Last but not least, I am also really competitive!"



Los Alamos is at an elevation 7320 feet above sea level.

The Los Alamos Hilltoppers Cross Country team has been successful in New Mexico and nationally for the last 20+ years thanks to coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood.

Coach Montoya has continued the Hilltopper's winning tradition and is motivated to get his squad back to the national level in the coming years.


  • In 2021, Los Alamos had 24 boys (down about 50% from pre-COVID years)

  • Undefeated vs New Mexico teams and 2 trips to Colorado. Our only loss prior to NXR was at our first meet of the season to El Paso Americas (TX).

  • Won the New Mexico 4A State Cross Country with 24 points

  • Placed runners in 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 12 and 15th place at this season's State Cross Country Meet. The Hilltopper's 7th man crossed before any other team's 2nd runner.

  • This season was the 9th State Cross Country Championship in school history for the boys and 3rd in the last 4 years.

  • Los Alamos boys have not finished off the podium at the State Cross Country meet since 1996.

  • In 2007, Los Alamos finished 2nd at Nike Team Nationals.


  • Los Alamos won their 4th state title in school history and first since 2008.

  • Rafael Sanchez won the 800, 1600, and 3200 at the one-day state championships in 2021.

  • In the last 6 years, we have finished 14th, 4th, 4th, 2nd, (2020 canceled due to COVID) and then 1st in 2021.


Coach Montoya's Favorite Workout & Sample Weeks

"My favorite workout is probably a 6-4-3-2-1 fartlek at a local park with equal recovery running.

Our signature workout would probably be a 2 mile threshold run with a 2 mile warm-up and cool-down, we call it a 2-2-2 Power Run. We run everything progressive.

As you might be able to tell, I am a big fan of Timo Mostert at American Fork HS. I have listened to a lot of coaches speak and what Timo says makes the most sense to me so I sent him an email and asked lots of questions. That connection has been great and I owe a lot to him."

Cross Country

"I heard Adam Kedge say that you can tell a lot from a team by what they do on Monday, so I really make sure Monday really gets the week started in the right direction.

We run AM shakeout runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (2-4 miles easy on your own)."


  • Monday: Quality Workout + Lift

  • Tuesday: Recovery Run + Abs

  • Wednesday: Quality Workout (PM) + Lift

  • Thursday: Moderate Run with Stride Laps + Abs

  • Friday: Light Pre-Meet Run + Lift

  • Saturday: Race

  • Sunday: Off

* 2-4 Mile shake-out runs are Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Track & Field

Not much different from Cross Country, to be honest, but more of the quality workouts will be run on the track at prescribed paces. Cross Country tends to be more "by feel" and Track and Field tends to be more precise.

I don't have training groups for either sport but I do individualize where I see fit.


If you know of a distance program that deserves some time in the spotlight, email

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