• Rees sends LA hockey past Taos

    Starting the season against a common opponent didn’t faze the Los Alamos hockey team.
    The Hilltoppers began their 2016-17 campaign with a 2-1 win against rival Taos on Friday at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink.
    Los Alamos maintained the North Star trophy, which is won by the winner of each Los Alamos-Taos match up. Friday was the second-straight win for the Hilltoppers against the Ice Tigers.
    Los Alamos made the most out of a five-minute power play with 1:55 left in the final period, as Ben Rees capitalized from a rebound and scored the game-winning goal.   
    The Hilltoppers evened the game three minutes into the second period, after a face off puck leaked to toward the center of the Taos zone and Griffin Matuszak ripped a shot into the net.
    In the beginning of the second period, Los Alamos goalie Zach Brown kept the Ice Tigers from increasing their advantage with four key saves. Brown finished with a stellar 32 saves.  
    Taos opened the scoring when Justin Lucero found himself behind the Los Alamos defense and converted the breakaway goal with 3:05 left in the first period.


  • Experience leads LA to 2016-17 season

    The last two seasons, the Los Alamos boy's basketball team was enforced by a plethora of young players.

    Those players are now juniors and seniors and they are the leaders of the program.

    The Hilltoppers begin their 2016-17 season by hosting Valencia at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Griffith Gym.

    "We've been telling them since last summer that it's their program now," said Mike Kluk, who's entering his fourth season as Los Alamos coach. "It's critical that they step up and own it. They're all upperclassmen now and we're starting see a bit more maturity compared to last year."

    Every player on the Los Alamos roster this season is either a senior or junior.

    One of the experienced pieces that the Hilltoppers will rely on in 2016-17 is 6-foot junior guard Jack Stewart.  

    "There's been a lot of potential these past couple seasons and we're just looking to build off of that," Stewart said. "We're all maturing so I think it's going to be good this season."

    Kluk said he implemented a new offensive scheme during the offseason. And the team has adapted well to the new offense, according to Kluk.

  • 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.