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It’s just about that time.
Los Alamos High School’s fall sports programs are ramping up for the start of the 2014 season. Los Alamos, and the rest of the prep programs in the state, will officially begin football workouts Monday.
Team workouts for football start one week earlier than other fall sports in the state. Official workouts for all other fall high school sports, as well as middle school football, get going Aug. 11.
In order to participate, athletes must have physical examinations completed — those must be done after April 1 — and must fill out the online forms at Los Alamos’ Family ID website. Those must be done before any athlete is allowed to participate in any way.
For the Hilltopper football team, it will start workouts at 8 a.m. Monday at its practice field adjacent to Griffith Gymnasium.
Los Alamos will host a preseason scrimmage against a very good program in Valencia Aug. 22, then open its season in earnest at home against Pojoaque Valley Aug. 29.
In 2013, Los Alamos finished 4-6 overall and 3-1 in District 2-4A, losing the district championship in a tiebreaker to Santa Fe.
Los Alamos won’t have to contend with Santa Fe’s Demons in district play this season — they will still face each other in a nondistrict game Oct. 1. Instead, Los Alamos will have a new district opponent, Del Norte.
Moreover, the Hilltopper programs will be moving up from Class 4A to Class 5A for at least the next two years.
The move is less dramatic than it sounds, however. Most of the teams that have competed in 4A for the past several seasons will be going up to Class 5A along with the Hilltoppers.
Two notable exceptions, however, are Santa Fe and another nondistrict opponent for football, Kirtland Central.
Santa Fe is moving up to Class 6A, although it will be one of the smallest schools in 6A when it does. It is also moving into one of the toughest districts in the state, being matched up with Rio Rancho, Cleveland and Volcano Vista. In its very short school history, Cleveland, which is also in Rio Rancho, has become one of the premier athletics schools in New Mexico.
Kirtland Central, which will be at Sullivan Field Sept. 19, will be the lone team from last year’s Class 4A that isn’t going up to Class 5A or 6A for football.
This will be the fifth season for the Hilltopper program under coach Garett Williams. In the previous four seasons, Williams has compiled a won-loss record of 20-21 and led the team to a district championship and a playoff berth in 2011.
The big challenge for Los Alamos, particularly early in the season, is to find suitable replacements for some key positions, most notably quarterback and running back, following the graduations of veterans Brice Van Etten and Xavier Dennison.
Among the other fall 2014 teams at Los Alamos, the boys and girls cross country teams will be returning as state champions from last season, albeit in Class 4A, and both boys and girls soccer teams, as well as the volleyball team, advanced to the state tournament in 2013.
Volleyball and girls soccer have new coaches this fall.
Longtime girls soccer head coach Jiri Kubicek announced his retirement in January and he was replaced by AJ Herrera, while Robin Reynolds stepped down following last season and will be replaced by Sharleen Espinoza.