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  • LA clinches sixth 2-4A crown

    They are officially in the Class 4A postseason. The trick might now be to stop them.
    The Los Alamos Hilltoppers are the 2014 District 2-4A champions in baseball and are among the hottest teams in the state. Los Alamos clinched its sixth consecutive district title Saturday with a decisive 11-1 victory over the Española Valley Sundevils at Bomber Field.
    To clinch, Los Alamos closed out game one of the doubleheader the way it opened game one: with a big rally.
    With the Hilltoppers up 6-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, they scored five times to pick up the victory and the district crown.
    Left fielder Chris Funk drove a single into right on a hit-and-run play, knocking in a pair of runs to close out the contest.
    “My plan was just to execute that, swing at that pitch,” Funk said. “I was just trying to get hard contact on the ground, like coach tells us to do, and it turned out to be the game-winning hit.”
    Going into Saturday’s play, the Sundevils were the only team with a mathematical shot at ending the Hilltoppers’ chokehold on 2-4A. The Sundevils and Hilltoppers played a tight contest in Española earlier this month which Los Alamos won 3-2 with a late home run by Colin Kitts.

  • 'Toppers have big showing in first day of Harper Invite

    ALBUQUERQUE – With the season quickly coming to a close, the Los Alamos Hilltopper track and field teams are hoping to peak at the right time.
    That may be the case, if some of this weekend’s performances are any indication.
    Los Alamos’ boys and girls competed in Friday and Saturday’s Richard Harper Memorial Invitational, hosted by the Albuquerque Academy Chargers. Los Alamos posted some big finishes in day one of the two-day event.
    Final results for most of the running events had not been reported as of press time.
    For Los Alamos’ boys, one of the biggest showings of Friday’s day one was turned in by Liam Johnson, a freshman, in the pole vault.
    Johnson, who had never pole-vaulted prior to this season, cleared 12 feet to finish in second place for the Hilltoppers.
    Earlier this season, Johnson said he felt fortunate just to make it over 8 feet, but said he stuck with his training.
    “I just kept fighting through it,” Johnson said. “Just never giving up on anything.”
    With the vault, Johnson will now represent Los Alamos at the upcoming state Class 4A championship meet — that’s scheduled for May 16-17, also in Albuquerque.

  • LA wins big 2-4A game vs. Demons

    SANTA FE – In order to keep its hopes alive of grabbing the District 2-4A runner-up spot, Los Alamos knew it would have to sweep its remaining games.
    And with a big win on the road Thursday, the toughest of those games is in the bag.
    Los Alamos pitcher Kiana Zerr went the distance, striking out nine and getting the better of Santa Fe’s ace Alex Russell as the Hilltoppers won 3-1 over the Demons.
    Undoubtedly, a sense of urgency permeated the club heading into the contest, particularly after dropping both ends of a doubleheader at Bernalillo last weekend.
    “We discussed that,” Los Alamos manager Roger Anaya said. “Even before the Bernalillo games we discussed how big these three games were. After not winning in Bernalillo, we knew we had to get a good outing (Thursday).”
    And the Hilltoppers (11-12 overall, 5-4 in 2-4A) did just that.
    Zerr didn’t allow a ball out of the infield in between the second and sixth innings and had a no-hitter going into the Demons’ last at-bat before Xeala Porras ended her no-hit bid with a double in the seventh.
    The game was scoreless heading into the top of the sixth. But with two out, Los Alamos’ Holly Aikin came through with a base hit to extend the inning.

  • 'Toppers rout Demons to go to 9-0 in district

    SANTA FE – It was an unexpected game with an unexpectedly lopsided outcome.
    Los Alamos’ baseball team took on the Santa Fe Demons in a big District 2-4A contest Wednesday night.
    But while Los Alamos was on a mission Wednesday, a similar mission statement seemed to be lacking from the Demons.
    Los Alamos scored at least two runs in each of its five at-bats at Clyde Faucett Field, including a six-run top of the fifth to put the game away as it handled Santa Fe in a romp, 18-4.
    Hilltopper Jake Downs had the biggest game of his career in the win, that kept Los Alamos a perfect 9-0 in district play. Downs not only started and won the game on the hill, he went 4-for-5 at the plate with two triples, a double and drove in a whopping six runs.
    Downs missed hitting for the cycle by about six feet – his second triple made it all the way to the warning track in deep left-center, the second deepest spot in the ballpark.
    “I was relaxed and I was seeing the ball,” Downs said of his big day at the plate. “Just relaxing and I stayed loose up there and I was just hitting the ball hard.”
    With its win, the Hilltoppers remain in full control of the 2-4A standings heading into their most important contests of the season, a doubleheader Saturday at home against the Española Valley.

  • Hipwoods named as finalists for national coaching honors

    Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country co-head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood have been named finalists for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association national coach of the year honors in their sport, Los Alamos High School’s athletic department announced this morning.

    The Hipwoods were chosen for the honor by the New Mexico State High School Coaches Association. The selection is based on longevity, service to prep athletics and championships and other honors won, among other factors.
    During their careers at Los Alamos, the Hipwoods have guided the Hilltopper girls to 16 state team championships and three consecutive boys championships, the most recent of those coming last November.
    The national banquet will be June 18 in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Coaches are selected for national honors in 19 prep sports by the NHSACA.

  • Osden earns a trip to state 4A tourney

    Los Alamos’ Johnny Osden punched his scorecard into the state Class 4A championship meet with his finish Monday.
    Osden, the No. 1 player for the Hilltopper boys golf team, shot an 80 at Monday’s Bernalillo Invitational, which was good enough to earn him his third state qualification leg of his season and put him into next month’s Class 4A tournament.
    The Hilltopper boys and girls competed at Monday’s tournament at the Twin Warriors Golf Course in Bernalillo. Los Alamos’ girls won the tournament and the boys finished in third place in team competition.
    Los Alamos’ girls finished with a team score of 373 to earn their fourth team leg of the year — Los Alamos qualified for the state tournament in late March.
    Individually, Hilltopper golfers swept the top three spots on the leaderboard. Emma Haines, Los Alamos’ top player, shot an 87 Monday to win the individual competition.
    Right behind Haines were Faith Koh, who had a 91, and Bri Sanderson, who shot a 94. For Koh, her round was the best of her prep career.
    In Monday’s boys competition, the Hilltoppers as a team shot a 349.

  • LA girls take 2nd at pre-District meet

    The Los Alamos girls tennis team finished second at the pre-District 2-4A tournament in Santa Fe this past weekend.
    Los Alamos, which is the 14-time defending district champion, dropped three of its four 2-4A opponents, but was nipped by the Santa Fe Demons to open last weekend’s tournament.
    The pre-district contests were played at Capital High School. The primary purpose of the matches are to figure out seeding for the upcoming district championships, which are scheduled for May 2-3.
    Los Alamos had little trouble dispatching Bernalillo, Capital and Española Valley — it had the luxury of moving players around for the Bernalillo and Capital matches — but lost 5-4 to the Santa Fe Demons.
    This season, the Demons sport a strong up-and-comer, eighth grader Brandee Fulgenzi. Fulgenzi, a member of the most prolific tennis family in the state, plays as the Demons’ No. 1 singles and not only won at that spot against the Hilltoppers, but she and doubles partner Greta Miller also picked up a decisive win at No. 1 doubles in the win.
    With its win, Santa Fe earned the No. 1 seed for the 2-4A tournament, although a rematch with Los Alamos is quite likely in the team finals.

  • Osden qualifies for state golf tourney

    Los Alamos’ Johnny Osden punched his scorecard into the state Class 4A championship meet with his finish Monday.
    Osden shot an 80 at Monday’s Bernalillo Invitational, which was good enough to earn him his third state qualification leg of his season and put him into next month’s Class 4A tournament.
    The Hilltopper boys and girls competed at Monday’s tournament at the Twin Warriors Golf Course in Bernalillo. Los Alamos’ girls won the tournament and the boys finished in third place in team competition.
    Los Alamos’ girls finished with a team score of 373 to earn their fourth team leg of the year — Los Alamos qualified for the state tournament in late March. The Hilltoppers were paced by Emma Haines’ 87 and Faith Koh’s 91.
    For Osden, this will be his first trip to state competition.
    The Hilltopper boys haven’t qualified for state. They’re still looking for their first leg of the season.
    Monday, the team shot a 349. Hope Christian won the tournament with a red hot team score of 318 and took the top two places on the leaderboard, being paced by Slater Sivage’s 76.
    Also for Los Alamos, Sean Rau finished with an 85 and Matt Frye was one shot back, carding an 86.
    Los Alamos will play again later at a tournament in Belen Thursday morning.

  • LA boys team wins at Santa Fe meet

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys track and field team picked up its first win of the season, and did so in impressive fashion Saturday.
    Los Alamos took part in the Capital City Invitational, hosted by the Santa Fe Demons. At that meet, Los Alamos picked up 120 team points, easily outdistancing St. Michael’s and the other comers to earn the victory.
    Along the way Saturday, the Hilltopper scored five event wins, including a big victory by Greg Ahlers in the high jump. Ahlers nipped teammate Skyler McCall for the win, with both of them clearing 6 feet, 2 inches.
    Ahlers, McCall and Simon Bailey, who finished third, all also punched their ticket to the state tournament with their performances. Bailey leapt 6 feet to earn his way to the state meet.
    Hilltopper head coach Larry Baca said it may have been the first time in his long career at Los Alamos he had three athletes qualify for state in the same event on the same day.
    With their performances, Ahlers and McCall are among the top seven qualifiers in Class 4A for high jump. Ahlers was also the winner in the 300 meter hurdles, finishing one spot ahead of teammate Tyler Mullen.

  • LA closes out its 2-4A games early

    BERNALILLO — The Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team had little trouble running its win streak to 10 games Saturday, as well as keeping its grip on the top of the District 2-4A standings.
    The Hilltoppers earned a 10-0 decision in six innings over the Bernalillo Spartans in game of their doubleheader. In game two, the Hilltoppers needed just five innings to win 14-3 at Coach Dave Rostro Field.
    With those wins, Los Alamos completes the season sweep of the Spartans and got the second half of its district season started on the right foot.
    Los Alamos is now 8-0 in 2-4A play with just four games remaining in the regular season. Los Alamos also upped its 2014 record to 16-6, which likely clinches it at least an at-large bid in the upcoming state tournament, regardless of how the rest of the season plays out.
    Despite being atop the district standings, the Hilltoppers still have three tough games in a row. They will face Santa Fe Wednesday, which gave them a run for their money in one of their two meetings this season, then will have to take on Española Valley in a doubleheader Saturday at Bomber Field.