• LAHS girl's soccer loses tourney title after controversial call

    AZTEC — It wasn’t the ending that the Los Alamos girl’s soccer team wanted, but the Hilltoppers gained some assurance going forward from the season’s opening weekend.
    After opening the 2016 season with two wins, Los Alamos lost to Aztec 1-0 in double overtime in the Aztec Tournament championship game Saturday.
    Aztec was awarded a penalty kick halfway through the second overtime. And the Tigers’ Grace Olson converted the game-winning penalty kick.
    Los Alamos coach Gary Ahlers disagreed with the official’s decision to award Aztec a penalty kick. Ahlers said both the central and assistant referees claimed that a Los Alamos player pushed an Aztec player after Los Alamos goalkeeper Anna Lemke made a play on the ball.      
    “It happened to be that an official thought he saw something that didn’t happen,” Ahlers said. “He took 90-plus minutes of play out the window. You officiate the game, not determine it. This official determined the game by guessing on a play.”
    Ahlers said he reviewed the film after the game and said he remained confused as to why the officials called a foul on one of his players.

  • Pursuit to state begins Tuesday for LAHS boy's soccer

    The Los Alamos boy’s soccer program always goes into a season as state title contenders, but this season the target on the Hilltoppers’ back might be bigger after last year’s state championship appearance.
    Los Alamos plans to rely on its experience and a vigorous schedule to match last season’s success. The last time the Hilltoppers lost in a state championship, they regrouped the following season and claimed the program’s latest state championship (2009, 2010).
    The road to redemption begins 6 p.m. Tuesday as the Hilltoppers host defending Class 4A state champion Bosque School at Sullivan Field.  
    “Los Alamos always tends to have a tradition of being a pretty solid program and always has a mark on there back. So a lot of teams look at Los Alamos as a good bench mark,” said Ron Blue, who’s entering his third season as the Hilltoppers’ head coach. “Obviously this year will be a bit different. Coming in, I think we’re putting some pressure on ourselves.”
    “We believe that we have a team that can be very good. So we’re going to try to go and play and win as many games as possible.”

  • Prep Girl's Soccer: ’Toppers eye successful 2016 season

    Los Alamos girl’s soccer head coach Gary Ahlers wants his team to prove that last year’s state championship appearance wasn’t a one-year occurrence.    
    The Hilltoppers are coming off a lucrative 2015 season that included a 16-6-2 overall record, a District 2-5A championship and a Class 5A runner-up trophy.
    Los Alamos will have a much bigger target on its back for this season’s postseason triumph attempt. However, Ahlers believes the Hilltoppers can use last year’s recipe of hard work and desire to equal their success in 2016.        
    “Just hard work... Hard work and desire,” said Ahlers, who earned Class 5A coach of the year honors in 2015. “They’re going to have to want it. But I told them ‘one game at a time’. They’re glad to back and they want to prove that they deserved to be there last year.”
    Los Alamos’ quest for its fifth-consecutive district title is expected to be tougher this year with the inclusion of Albuquerque Academy. The Chargers will look to give Los Alamos its first district loss since 2011.   

  • Rebuilding season ahead for LAHS volleyball

    A familiar face is what the Los Alamos volleyball program needed for what is expected to be a rebuilding 2016 season.
    Diana (Dee Di) Stokes, who has previously spent a combined six years as the Hilltoppers head coach, will inherit a young squad that graduated seven key players from last year’s district championship team.
    “I think every year the goal is to make it to the state playoffs,” Stokes said. “Last year they graduated seven seniors. So this year is going to be a rebuilding year. We’ll have to see what we can do to build up some big hitters and setters in there.”
    Despite going into the season with one of the youngest rosters in team history, Los Alamos will be a favorite to repeat as District 2-5A champions and make its 11th-consecutive state tournament appearance.
    However, that success could depend on how Stokes and her coaching staff can develop those young pieces into important role players.
    “I think this year the team is going to be very strong. We have a really good setter that is coming up and we got a strong defensive team,” Stokes said. “We’ve also got a good tall front line that we’ll be working on.”
    Stokes also said that confidence within the team will be key in rebuilding the Hilltoppers.

  • New season, same expectations for LAHS football

    The Los Alamos football team hasn’t experienced a winning season since 2012, but head coach Garett Williams expects the same thing from his team that he’s been preaching since day one.
     Williams is entering his seventh season as the Hilltoppers head coach. And going into the 2016 campaign, Williams and his coaching staff are focusing on developing the character and bond of a Los Alamos football team that hasn’t tasted a playoff victory since 2008.
     “My biggest expectation right now has nothing to do with football,” Williams said. “Our biggest expectation for this group is to come together as a brotherhood. And to learn that if they commit to something bigger than themselves, all the wins and that stuff will be taken care of.”
     Williams said he wanted his teams to be a foundation on how the Los Alamos community recognizes hard work, especially in the sport of football.    
    “We want this town to see our kids working hard and coming out of this program with character and learning how to sacrifice for each other,” Williams said. “We have a bunch of great kids right now that are working unbelievably hard. We’re pretty thin on numbers right now so we’re trying to keep our kids healthy.”

  • Brewer Arena set to host county rodeo

    It’s county fair and rodeo season in New Mexico, and Los Alamos will add to the statewide festivities this weekend.
    The annual Los Alamos County Fair is set for Friday through Sunday. Among the county fair events is the Los Alamos County Open Rodeo, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The rodeo Saturday is from 2-5 p.m., and on Sunday it’s scheduled for 1-3 p.m.
    Locals and visitors annually make there way to Brewer Arena to compete for cash prizes and buckles in various traditional rodeo events.
    This year’s events include mutton bustin’ (for ages 6 and under), novice bull riding, calf roping, chute doggin’, girl’s breakaway roping, Jr. street riding, ribbon roping, cowboy bronc riding, draw pot team roping, eight and under barrels, open barrels, rescue race, open bull riding and open team roping.
    Limited late entries will be accepted until one hour before the start of an event. Late entries include a $5 fee. All event participants must sign a liability waiver.
    Shelby Michel, the rodeo princess, and Janie Michel, the rodeo sweetheart will make up this year’s County Fair and Rodeo Queen’s Court.

  • Franklin claims top overall time at Endurofest

    Macky Franklin’s overall time of 43 minutes proved to be enough to claim the Los Alamos Endurofest title, despite the race being cut short due to rain last weekend at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.
    On Saturday, Franklin was propelled to first place after a 5:02.2 ride during stage two. Franklin ended the first day with a 5:21.4 during stage four.
    Four more stages were scheduled for Sunday but race organizers decided to only run three stages due to heavy rainfall at Pajarito Mountain.
    Franklin gutted out two more strong performances on Sunday by riding a 5:37.5 in stage five and a 5:42.2 in stage six. He concluded the event with a 6:38.4 in stage seven. Franklin garnered the fastest time in all seven stages.
    Behind Franklin was Alex Adams with an overall time of 46:05.9. Adams logged in a time of 5:16.9 in stage two and ended Saturday with a 5:32.8 in stage four. Adams finished second in stage five and six.
    Daniel Weinman was the overall third place finisher, after finishing with a time of 46:17.1. Weinman finished second in stage two, three and seven.
    Krista Rust’s time of 52:23.7 earned her the open women title. Rust placed first in all seven stages. After Rust was Syd Schulz, who finished second and tallied a time of 54:18.7. Schulz placed second in stages one, two, five, six and seven.  

  • Pajarito announces Winter opening day

    Resort officials announced that Pajarito Mountain Ski Area will kick off its winter ski season on “White Friday,” Nov. 25, for the second consecutive year. Crews are already prepping the mountain for opening day.
     Pajarito’s mountain team continues to improve the ski area’s snowmaking system to support opening day and provide a great skier experience throughout the season.  Pajarito is automating the pump house, which will allow the resort to make more snow, and improve the efficiency, while providing more consistent snowmaking efforts.  Pajarito expanded its weir system to collect additional water for snowmaking efforts. These improvements will provide guests with enhanced snow quality and an overall better skiing experience all season. Snowmaking at Pajarito typically begins in early November.
     “We’re looking forward to another fantastic snowmaking season and building upon what we accomplished last year,” stated Tom Long, general manager for Pajarito Mountain Ski Area. “The improved snowmaking system will assist us with making snow on a more consistent basis, and allow us to open the day after Thanksgiving for the second consecutive year.”

  • Eight to be in LAPS Athletics Hall of Fame

    Eight of Los Alamos Public Schools Athletic Department’s most culminating contributors will be honored on Sept. 16.
    LAPS Athletics announced it’s third Hall of Fame class. Inducted in this year’s class are Tom Brown, John McHale, Bill Myers, Sally Shockey, Mike Upham, Seth Littleton, Kevin Pederson and Rocky Polk.
    The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at LAHS. The event will open to the public and tickets will be available at the LAHS Athletics office for $25. The Inductees will also be invited to join LAHS Athletics in the Homecoming pep rally and parade on Sept. 16.
    Brown was inducted after coaching a spew of prep sports at LAHS.
    McHale is a long-time sports photographer who has been photographing for the Monitor for almost 30 years. McHale is also a founding member of the Los Alamos Sports Association (LASA).
    Myers competed for LAHS as a basketball player from 1973-1976.
    Shockey was one of the longest tenured coaches in LAHS volleyball history and led the Hilltoppers to numerous postseason appearances.
    Upham is still recalled as one of the top swimmers in Los Alamos History. Upham still garners the LAHS record in the 100 and 200m freestyle.

  • Summer of sports in LA

    Calendars have turned to August, which means the end of summer is nearing and so are summer sports.
    The last few months were filled with exuberant tournaments, games and events that brought out the best in numerous athletes affiliated with Los Alamos.
    From the crest of Pajarito Mountain to Tracktown USA in Eugene, Oregon, the talent of Los Alamos athletes was put on display and it resulted in formidable success.
    The Summer of 2016 began with the annual Summerfest, which is used to celebrate the beginning of summer season at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.
    Like in years past, the mountain bike event,  Pajarito Punishement, was one of the top obligations at Summerfest.
    However, this year was different as competitors used an application to keep track of their time and to ultimately decided the winner. A father and two siblings stole the show at this summer’s race, as Neal Pederson finished in first, while his son Benjamin Pederson finished third and daughter Michelle Pederson placed fifth. Neal logged in a winning-time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds at the rigid trails of Pajarito Mountain.