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Spring is starting early in northern New Mexico. At least it is for a pair of Los Alamos Hilltopper programs.
Both the Hilltopper baseball and tennis teams open their seasons this weekend, officially kicking off the spring 2011 sports season.
Los Alamos’ boys and girls tennis teams will head south to play in the two-day Carlsbad Invitational, which starts Friday. Saturday, the Los Alamos baseball team has a season-opening doubleheader scheduled in Farmington against Piedra Vista.
The Hilltopper tennis teams traditionally head to Carlsbad during the early part of the season, a tournament which usually attracts a large number of teams, most of which come from the southern part of the state and El Paso, Texas. Los Alamos’ boys won the Carlsbad Invitational last year, their third straight victory at the tournament.
Los Alamos’ boys, who were the runners-up in Class 4A last season, will be led by first-year head coach Lloyd Wilton, who takes over for Giri Raichur, who resigned last year after three seasons with the program.
Los Alamos’ girls advanced to the state semifinals in 2010 before falling to eventual state champion Farmington.
In baseball, the Hilltoppers finished last season with a mark of 12-12 and a District 2AAAA championship. They advanced to the state tournament before falling to Albuquerque Academy in the opening round.
The Hilltoppers had a brutal nondistrict season in 2010 and its 2011 schedule isn’t starting off any easier. The Panthers are the reigning Class 4A champions, steamrolling three of their four opponents in the state tournament.
Two other Hilltopper spring sports, softball and track, will open their seasons the following weekend.