• LA hockey opens Friday night

    The Los Alamos hockey team will open its 2016-17 season by hosting Taos at 6:45 p.m. Friday at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink. Friday’s season-opening game will also be a battle for the North Star trophy, which is given to the winner of each Los Alamos-Taos matchup. The Hilltoppers currently hold the trophy, as they defeated the Ice Tigers in their previous meeting during the 2015-16 season. The season opener can also be heard on the radio on KRSN 1490AM.

  • Prep girl's basketball: New LA era begins Saturday

    Not only will the Los Alamos girl’s basketball team begin the season with a new coach, it will also have a new leader on the court.
    The Hilltoppers tip-off their 2016-17 campaign by hosting Farmington at 5 p.m. Saturday at Griffith Gym.
    “It’s going to be tough to get off to a strong start but it is important,” said Los Alamos first-year coach Josh Archuleta. “Usually that first game will set the tone for the season. But I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve lost the first game before but came stronger. And I’ve also won the first game but didn’t come back so strong.”
    Archuleta inherits a squad that includes seven seniors and three juniors. Although most of those seniors and juniors have been on the varsity level before, they haven’t seen a lot of meaningful minutes, as Los Alamos graduated four key players from last year’s team.  
    “They graduated some key players last year so they have some big shoes to fill,” Archuleta said. “We have one girl (Ashley Logan) that’s coming up with true varsity experience and that’s gotten several minutes. So these girls have something to prove and they want to show that it’s their turn to shine.”
    “I see us surprising a lot of people.”

  • ’Toppers conclude fall season

    No blue trophies for Los Alamos fall prep sports in 2016, but it was still a memorable season.
    The Hilltoppers cross country, soccer, football and volleyball teams concluded their respective seasons last weekend.
    It wasn’t the best of starts for the Los Alamos girl’s cross country team in 2016, as the Hilltoppers began the season without their top returner Zoe Hemez. Los Alamos was led by eighth-grader Lidia Appell for the first half of the season, before Hemez made her 2016 debut on Oct. 7.
    From there, the Hilltoppers began to really be a part of the contenders for the reminder of the season. On Oct. 21, Los Alamos hosted its home meet and finished a couple spots behind district foe Albuquerque Academy. The following week, the Hilltoppers inched closer but the Chargers still came out victorious in the District 2-5A meet.  
    The closest Los Alamos got to Academy was in last weekend’s state championships. Led by a second-place finish from Hemez, a fifth-place finish from Appell and a 10th-place finish from Marin Kelly, the Hilltoppers finished six points behind Class 5A champion Academy.
    The Chargers triumph ended a streak of seven-straight state titles for Los Alamos.  But the Hilltoppers return all their state runners, making it easy to forget the defeat and look forward towards the future.

  • Toppers swimming, diving set for 2016-17

    On Saturday, the Los Alamos swimming teams will get a better idea to know if they have the viable pieces to replace Sarah Lott and Nathan Scrimshaw.
    The Hilltoppers will compete in the Peter B. Barney Memorial Relays in Albuquerque to begin its 2016-17 season.
    The Los Alamos girls return an experienced squad that helped them earn a fourth place finish in last season’s state championships.
    Returning for Los Alamos is senior Jessica Moore who was part of last season’s 200-yard medley team that finished third at state. Moore expects to have another stellar season in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley.
    Junior Sarah Shiina also returns for the Hilltoppers. Last season at state, Shiina finished 13th in the 100-yard butterfly and was the third of the 200-yard medley team.
    Senior Kaitlin Bennett will look to make an impact for Los Alamos in the 50-yard freestyle, where she advanced to the finals in state. She was sixth at state in the 100-yard freestyle and was part of the 200-yard freestyle relay.
     Sophomore Jillian Bennett, who will look to provide some depth for the Hilltoppers, was the first leg of the state fifth place 200-yard freestyle relay.
    Los Alamos will look to youth divers to replace Elizabeth Lockhart on the one-meter board.

  • Prep soccer: Topper girls eliminated in semis

    Two quick goals gave Los Alamos hope, but Grace Romero eventually sealed the Hilltoppers season.

    The fourth-seeded Hilltoppers lost to No. 1 St. Pius 3-2 on Friday in the Class 5A state tournament semifinals.

    With eight minutes left to play, Romero found herself behind the Los Alamos defense and tucked away the shot to the near post to send the Sartans to their fourth-consecutive state championship appearance.

    After St. Pius opened the scoring in the first half and added another goal in the 48th minute, the Hilltoppers came roaring back. Los Alamos sophomore Katie Hopkins cut the Sartans lead with a 30-yard shot that skidded past the St. Pius goalkeeper in the 56th minute.

    And four minutes later, Abby Schmalz put in a free kick towards the far post where Alissia Haagenstad was there to equalize for the Hilltoppers. Los Alamos kept attempting for another equalizer after Romero's goal, but to no avail. 

    St. Pius went on to lose in overtime in the championship game against Albuquerque Academy.

    Los Alamos finished the season at 16-6 overall, marking the second-consecutive season with 16 wins for second-year coach Gary Ahlers.


  • LAHS football ends season with loss to Capital

    The more Capital handed the ball to JR Vargas, the more evident it became that Los Alamos' season was coming to an end.

    The Hilltoppers closed the season with a 48-13 loss to Capital on Friday at Sullivan Field. Los Alamos finished 5-5 overall and 2-2 in District 2-5A play, and will miss the state playoffs for the fifth-consecutive season.

    "We didn't execute well upfront," Los Alamos coach Garett Williams said. "The number one thing we tried do was stop the run. And they just ran straight (isolation) right at us."

    Vargas led the Jaguars with three rushing touchdowns of four, 47 and 90 yards. His first touchdown gave Capital a 14-0 lead going into halftime.

    "We just didn't tackle," Williams said. "Our guys fought hard and they didn't quit. But we just didn't play well in that second half. They just switched the momentum kind of fast on us."

    On the opening kick off of the second half, the Jaguars got a 61 yard return to set them up on the Los Alamos 19-yard line. However, the Hilltoppers were able to stop Capital on fourth down and get the ball back on their own 24-yard line.

  • Prep volleyball: Toppers top out

    The Los Alamos volleyball team's district tournament run wasn't enough to earn a state tournament bid.

    After beating Capital and Del Norte in the first two rounds, the Hilltoppers fell to Espanola Valley in straight sets on Saturday in the District 2-5A championship in Espanola. Los Alamos fell to 12-11 overall and wasn't selected to the Class 5A state tournament.

    The Sundevils outlasted the Hilltoppers 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 on Saturday and earned the No. 5 seed for the state tournament.

    Los Alamos will lose Jessica Moore, Gabriela Vallejos, Kaitlin Bennett, Samantha Miller, Mackenzie Alexander and Ellie Hayward to graduation.  

  • 5A cross country: Academy girls squeak by LA

    The potential and bright future of the Los Alamos girl's cross country team might outlast the inability to win an eighth-straight state title.

    The Hilltoppers placed second at the Class 5A state cross country championships on Saturday at Rio Rancho High School, ending their streak of consecutive state titles at seven.

    Los Alamos didn't have any senior runners and was six points shy of an equally young Albuquerque Academy team that finished with 52 points to win its first state title since 2008.

    "It was a great race," Los Alamos junior Zoe Hemez said. "There were a lot of great runners out there. (The course) was fast since the weather was a little cooler."

    Hemez led the Hilltoppers finishing second individually (19:17.55) and two seconds behind first-place finisher Carly Wall of Academy.

    Hemez jumped out to the lead during the first quarter-mile of the race. She slowed the pace halfway through the race and at one point was in fifth place. But in the final stretch, Hemez made her move and helped Los Alamos get as close as its been to the Chargers all season.

  • Sanchez leads LA boy's cross country to third place

    Since the Lobo Invitational, it was clear that Rafael Sanchez was the future of the Los Alamos boy's cross country team, but Saturday proved that Sanchez has the potential to be the future of cross country in New Mexico.

    The eighth-grade standout led the Hilltoppers to a third place finish at the Class 5A state cross country championships at Rio Rancho High School.

    "Los Alamos... what more can you ask for than to run with them," Sanchez said. "We have great coaches and a great organization."

    Los Alamos, which finished with 76 points, placed behind champion Albuquerque Academy and Kirtland Central. Individual champion Jordan Lesansee led the Chargers, who won their second-consecutive state title. The Broncos had the second-best runner of the race in Kashon Harrison.

    Sanchez finished in fourth place individually with a time of 16:41.65. Midway through the race, he made a move past Academy's Mark Harrington that proved to be enough to give Los Alamos its 12th-consective season with a top-five individual state finisher.   

    "He (Harrington) was really gaining a lead so I decided to make a leap of faith of just go for it," Sanchez said. "I didn't really like the beginning of the race. But the middle and the ending were really good." 

  • Prep boy's soccer: Academy ends LA’s season

    In a physical affair, Albuquerque Academy did enough to muscle Los Alamos out of the Class 5A state tournament.
    The Chargers defeated the Hilltoppers 4-1 on Friday in the semifinals at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
    “It was heartbreaking. The guys were just really devastated,” Los Alamos coach Ron Blue said. “We gave up too many set pieces outside the box. We put in so much energy and it just got really physical. There was weird kind of fouls called both ways.”
     The Chargers got on the board first, before Los Alamos senior Jonathan Coons equalized to make it 1-1 at halftime.
    Early in the second half, Los Alamos had two clear goal scoring opportunities that were cleared on the line by Academy defenders. A set-piece goal later in the second half gave Academy a 2-1 lead. And two minutes later, the Chargers added another goal to get some breathing room. Academy assured its second-consecutive state championship appearance with another goal late in the second half.    
    “They (Academy) saved two shots on the line, and we could’ve been up 2-1 at that point,” Blue said. “Once they went up one, you could just see our boy’s hearts drop. Before we could even make any adjustments, they caught us out of position on the weak side and put us under.”