• Local ballers advance to state free throw competition

    The Knights of Columbus District free throw contest was held Sunday at Los Alamos High School’s Griffith Gymnasium.
    The Los Alamos Sacred Heart council No. 3137 champions competed against three other northern New Mexico Knights of Columbus councils: Taos, Española, and Peñasco.
    At the end of the competition, three local champions won their respective divisions and will be advancing to the state championships. The state competition will be held at Albuquerque’s Manzano High School March 20.
    Local ballers Mika Stanfield won the girls ‘10-year old division, Cody Rosson won the 11-year old boys’ division and Antonio Gonzales was crowned champion in the boys’ 14-year old bracket.
    Two local competitors also finished as runner-ups: Lena Chavez took second place in the 11-year old girls’ division and Lucario Chavez was the runner-up in the 13-year old boys’ bracket.

  • Pajarito extends daily schedule in March

    Pajarito Mountain recently announced that the ski area will be open every day from March 2 - April 3, giving spring breakers from all over the opportunity to ride its slopes.
    “We’re trying to do this to take advantage of the numerous spring breaks around — they’re spread out over the whole month,” Pajarito General Manager Tom Long said. “It’s an opportunity to provide more skiing.”
    Originally, Pajarito was going to be open daily for a couple weeks in the middle of March.
    Los Alamos’ spring break, however, is March 25-April 1. Albuquerque Public Schools’ spring break is also in late March while lots of other spring breaks are earlier in the month.
    “We’ll see how it goes,” Long said. “It’s going to a great measuring stick.”
    One of Pajarito’s future goals is to be open daily throughout the season.
    On March 19, the mountain’s biggest celebration will take place — Skiesta. The event will feature numerous competitions to determine this year’s king and queen of the mountain. A beer garden and music by Felix y Los Gatos will coincide with the event.
    On March 5, the Santa Few Brewing Company will also descend on Pajarito.

  • LA baseball focused on improving every day

    Last year, the Los Alamos baseball team made a strong run to reach the Class 5A state semifinals. Los Alamos lost a lot of those players, including two-time New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year Jared Mang.
    The ’Toppers, however, still have some studs in its lineup to lead them this year, including a pair of pitchers who have already committed to playing college ball.
    Connor Mang, who has committed to playing for the University of New Mexico next year where he’ll join his brother, Jared, and Lane Saunders, who signed with Eastern New Mexico’s ball club, give Los Alamos a strong foundation to build upon and could keep the ’Toppers in every game.
    “I think we have a great one-two punch,” Los Alamos manager Mike Gill said. “That’s obviously our strength that we’ll build around.”
    The strong pitching will take some pressure off of Los Alamos’ defense.
    “We just have to be solid and make routine outs with that type of pitching,” Gill said. “We don’t have to make the great plays.”
    After Mang and Saunders, Jake Rutten is the team’s No. 3 pitcher. A lot of other guys are listed as pitchers right now too.
    “If we can add relievers who throw strikes, we’ll be in good shape,” Gill said.

  • Hilltoppers staying alive with road wins

    Knowing its next loss will likely end its season, the Los Alamos boys’ basketball team stepped up and stayed alive by beating Del Norte and Bernalillo in the District 2-5A tournament.
    Los Alamos beat Del Norte, 52-47, in the first round Monday and Bernalillo, 65-62, in overtime of the second round Tuesday.
    “Everybody is back and healthy and we’re playing pretty well right now,” Los Alamos head coach Mike Kluk said.
    Los Alamos also bolstered its bench by bringing up several junior varsity players for the district tournament, including a couple guards and the 6-foot, 8-inch Cade Gasway.
    “We brought up Cade Gasway and he’s been a difference maker for us,” Kluk said.
    Neither Del Norte nor Bernalillo is particularly tall, and Los Alamos capitalized on that.
    “We’ve been using our inside game to propel us,” Kluk said.
    The inside game is just part of Los Alamos’ late success. All of the boys on the court have been working well together.
    “The emphasis has been to be a more complete team, and not relying on one or two people to carry the load,” Kluk said.

  • LA boys survive and advance; both basketball semis Thursday

    With their backs against the wall, the Los Alamos boys' basketball team has got hot when it needed to the most. The Hilltoppers entered the District 2-5A tournament as the No. 5 seed, knowing a loss would likely end their season.

    Los Alamos started the tournament by beating Del Norte, 52-47, on Monday.

    Tuesday, Los Alamos beat Bernalillo 65-62 in overtime.

    Now, the Hilltoppers will play at Española Valley Thursday in the district tournament's semifinal game. The boys' championship will take place Saturday at Capital.

    The Los Alamos girls' basketball team will also play Thursday, not Wednesday as originally reported. The Hilltopper girls will host Del Norte in the semifinals. The girls' championship game will then take place Friday at Española Valley.

    All of the district tournament games are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

  • LA girls secure No. 2 seed in district with win

    The Los Alamos girls’ basketball team took on Del Norte in a battle for second-place in District 2-5A Friday. It was a low-scoring game, but the Hilltopper girls took care of business to win the game, 46-33, and lock up the No. 2 spot heading into this week’s district tournament.
    Kayla Salazar drained three 3-pointers to lead Los Alamos with 19 points. Ashlynn Trujillo scored 13, Sophia Roybal scored five and Ashley Logan added four.
    Los Alamos won every quarter of the contest, but never outscored Del Norte by more than five in a quarter.
    The ’Toppers led 22-15 at halftime and 31-23 heading into the fourth before pulling away in the final quarter.
    As the No. 2 team in the district, Los Alamos will now host the district tournament’s semifinal game Thursday at 7 p.m. UPDATE: The semifinal is Thursday, not Wednesday as originally published.
    Los Alamos will play the winner of Tuesday’s game featuring Del Norte and Capital.
    “The girls are feeling really confident, but it’s a tough tournament,” Los Alamos head coach Nestor Trujillo said. “Right now we’re focused on Del Norte. No disrespect to Capital, but I think Del Norte has the experience and the savvy to finish that up.”

  • Boys basketball keeps season alive with road win

    The Los Alamos boys’ basketball team took on Del Norte twice in a row Saturday and Monday.
    The first game, which was both team’s regular-season finale, determined who would get to host the first-round game of the district tournament. A Los Alamos win would have helped the ’Toppers pass Del Norte in the standings.
    In that contest, Los Alamos rallied from a 15-5 first quarter deficit to tie the game at 20 heading into the second half.
    Los Alamos then won the third quarter, 15-13, but Del Norte outscored Los Alamos 26-16 in the fourth to win the game, 59-51.
    The loss meant Los Alamos had to travel to Del Norte to start the district tournament as the No. 5 seed Monday.
    With another loss most likely ending its season, Los Alamos stepped up its game to beat the Knights, 52-47.
    The reward: Los Alamos will get to play at least one more game.
    The ’Toppers were scheduled to play at Bernalillo Tuesday night, as this paper was going to press, in the second round of the District 2-5A tournament.
    Los Alamos and Bernalillo split their series in the regular season, with each team winning on its home court.
    The winner of that game will play at Española Valley Thursday in the semifinals.
    The district’s championship game will take place Saturday night at Capital.

  • Saunders denied third state title

    RIO RANCHO — Lane Saunders came up just short of winning his third state wrestling title Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center. After pinning Centennial’s Drew Price in 58 seconds and scoring a 16-0 technical fall against Piedra Vista’s Hayden Cox, Aztec’s Melvin Benally forfeited to Saunders in the semis because of an injury he incurred in his quarterfinal win.
    Saunders then squared off with the only wrestler who beat him during the regular season, Belen’s Nathaniel Martinez, in the 182-pound championship.
    Saunders came close to taking Martinez down in the first period, but the wrestlers went out of bounds and the period ended scoreless.
    In the second period, Martinez chose to start on the bottom and escaped to score the match’s first point. Saunders fought off a shot after that, but Martinez kept shooting and eventually took Saunders down to take a 3-0 lead.
    Saunders escaped at the end of the second period, chose bottom to start the third and escaped again, trying a switch and then getting to his feet, to cut Martinez’s lead to 3-2.
    With 20 second left in the match, Saunders got in on a shot and a scramble ensued. Saunders almost tilted Martinez on his back, but Martinez never let go of Saunders’ ankle to prevent getting taken down and win the match.

  • Lott breaks NM record with win

    Sarah Lott won a pair of state titles Saturday, finishing first in both the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle.
    In the 200 free, Lott broke the New Mexico state record with her winning time of 1 minute, 49.29 seconds.
    Lott never trailed in the race. She had a half-second lead over La Cueva’s Megan Decker at the 50-yard mark and continued to pull away from the field to win the race by 2.48 seconds.
    Albuquerque Academy’s Nika Fellows set the old state record of 1:49.73 in 2013.
    The 100 free was a much closer race. At the halfway point, Lott touched just .04 seconds ahead of Volcano Vista’s Sefilina Maile in 24.38. In the second 50, however, Lott was able to pull away a little and win the race by .28 seconds with a winning time of 50.20.
    Los Alamos made it to nine other event finals and scored points a total of 24 times at the state meet.
    As a team, the Hilltopper girls finished fourth with 218 points, behind La Cueva (291), Eldorado (286) and Albuquerque Academy (232).
    The Hilltopper boys’ finished 10th with 88 points. Albuquerque Academy won the boys’ title with 306, but the rest of the top-10 teams were 6A schools.
    Alex Jaegers reached two championship finals to lead the boys.
    Jaegers finished sixth in the 100 free (49.27) and seventh in the 50 free (22.38).

  • Roundup: Lott breaks state record with win; Saunders denied three-peat

    Sarah Lott won a pair of titles at the state swimming championships, and broke a New Mexico record in the process Saturday.

    Lott set a new record in the 200-yard freestyle, winning the race in 1 minute, 49.29 seconds. The previous record was set by Albuquerque Academy's Nika Fellows in 2013 of 1:49.73.

    Lott also won a state title in the 100 free with a winning time of 50.20.

    As a team, the Hilltopper girls finished fourth with 218 team points. La Cueva won the title with 291.

    The Hilltopper boys finished 10th at the state meet.

    Saunders denied

    Lane Saunders reached the 182-pound state wrestling finals Saurday, but was unable to lock up his third title. Saunders squared off with the only wrestler to beat him in the regular season, Belen's Nathaniel Martinez, in the finals. After a scoreless first period, Martinez escaped and took Saunders down in the second period to go up, 3-0.

    Saunders escaped from Martinez at the end of the second period. He then chose bottom to start the third period and escaped again to cut Martinez's lead to 3-2. With time running low, Saunders got deep in a shot, but couldn't finish the takedown before the final whistle.