• Girls play key role for LA football team

    Playing in the Chile Bowl, the Northern New Mexico youth football equivalent of the Super Bowl, is a dream for many boys.
    And all of the girls on the Los Alamos X-Treme.
    Los Alamos’ Division 2 team, which is comprised of 9- and 10-year-olds, will play Saturday against a tough opponent Saturday morning at St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe.
    That team will face the Santa Fe Trojans for the right to go to Sunday’s Chile Bowl. The two teams met last month during the regular season, and that game didn’t turn out as well as the X-Treme was hoping — it was shut out, 16-0.
    X-Treme coach Mark Gonzales said his team has made numerous adjustments since that game, including installing a diamond-formation offense, which he said has given his team more big-play capability.
    On this year’s X-Treme roster are three girls — Kaitlyn Gonzales, Tia Hartzol and Dailynn Rodriguez. Coach Gonzales said all three have been instrumental to the team’s success in getting to this year’s postseason.
    Rodriguez, who is also a standout Little League baseball player, is the starting center for Los Alamos. She made an unusual request of her coach this year: she wanted to have a play where she pulled around the offensive line and had lead blocker responsibilities.

  • 'Toppers, Warriors meet in 1st round

    It’s do or die time for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team.
    The Class 5A playoffs get underway this weekend for teams around the state, and the Hilltoppers have a challenging draw to get things going.
    Los Alamos will take on Santa Teresa (8-7-4) in the opening round of the postseason. That game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.
    The Hilltoppers (10-8-2) got what they wanted out of the seeding and selection committee this year, a first round home game. That was at least partially secured by a runner-up finish in the District 2 race and ending the season on a high note. Los Alamos, which was 3-7-2 heading into final week of September, won seven of its last eight games, including three straight to end the season.
    That afforded the Hilltoppers a No. 8 seed in the tournament. But that also gave the Hilltoppers a difficult draw.
    Along with having to play a solid team in Santa Teresa Saturday, the Hilltoppers, should they prevail, would have to face top-seeded Albuquerque Academy in the quarterfinal round next week.
    The Desert Warriors played in perhaps the most competitive district in 5A, District 3. This season, five of the six District 3 teams advanced to the playoffs.

  • LA has a shot at a 2nd straight win

    It was a scenario that, just a few days ago, seemed improbable.
    Now, after its first win of the season, the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team has a chance to put itself in a position to play for a District 2-5A title.
    Followings its win last Friday over the Española Valley Sundevils, the Hilltoppers have a very winnable game this Friday, taking on the Bernalillo Spartans. A win over the Spartans would put the Hilltoppers at 2-1 on the season and only Del Norte standing in their way of a potential district championship.
    While that’s easier said than done, it wasn’t a situation Los Alamos fans would’ve expected the team to be in after a 0-7 start to the season.
    Los Alamos finally broke into the win column at Española Valley Friday night. The offense scored on its first two possessions of the game — prior to that, Los Alamos hadn’t scored in the first quarter of any game or scored twice in the same game, let alone on back-to-back drives — to jump out to a 14-0 lead.
    Española Valley, which was playing for its playoff life, got back into the game by halftime, but the Hilltopper defense came up with stops on two crucial drives, as well as what might have been a game-changing 2-point conversion try, to help preserve the win.

  • 'Toppers looking for another sweep

    For being such a crucial race, the district championships are almost anti-climactic where the Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country teams are concerned.
    Friday afternoon, the District 2-5A championship race is scheduled to be run at Bernalillo. Races are set to start at 3 p.m.
    At the district meet, teams can enter as many as nine runners into each varsity race — usually, teams are limited to seven entries — and Los Alamos may have a shot to put 18 participants onto the All-District team.
    Since the Hilltoppers moved into District 2-4A in 2000, they have gone undefeated at the district championships on both the boys and girls sides. There hasn’t even been a particularly close race for the district titles during that streak.
    That’s not likely to change this season, either. Both Los Alamos teams are expected to vie for a state championship title this season, with the girls team seemingly the team to beat heading into the title meet.
    However, last week’s Los Alamos Invitational didn’t see the Hilltopper girls at their best. The Hilltoppers were defeated for the first time this season by a Class 5A team — two of them, in fact.

  • Youth basketball starts Dec. 1

    Registration is currently open for the YMCA youth basketball program.
    The YMCA basketball program is open to both boys and girls in grades 1-6. The season runs from Dec. 1-Feb. 28.
    Registration will remain open through Nov. 21.
    Price for participation is $75 for YMCA members, $100 for nonmembers.
    For more information, call the YMCA at 662-3100.

  • 'Topper hockey opens next weekend at Taos

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team released its schedule for the 2014-15 season Tuesday.
    The Hilltoppers will open up with six straight road games before their first home game Dec. 12 against Santa Fe.
    The New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League, of which Los Alamos is a member, starts play this coming weekend. The league has three new members this season, Amarillo, Texas, Permian Basin (Odessa, Texas) and Durango, Colorado.
    Los Alamos won’t open its season until next weekend. Its first scheduled game is Nov. 8 against its arch-rival, Taos.
    Following that contest, Los Alamos will play at Rio Rancho Nov. 14, then follow that up with two games at Amarillo Nov. 22-23.
    Along with its home opener Dec. 12, Los Alamos will play two other games at home that weekend, Dec. 13 against Rio Rancho and Dec. 14 against Taos.

  • LA takes on Bernalillo tonight for 2nd place

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team was eliminated from any shot at the District 2-5A regular season championship last weekend, and tonight it will have to duke it out with another rival for second place.
    The Hilltoppers will take on the Bernalillo Spartans tonight on the road. Match time in Bernalillo is scheduled for 6 p.m.
    Los Alamos is currently sitting in the No. 2 position in the district standings behind the Española Valley Sundevils. The Sundevils will officially clinch the district title with a victory over the Capital Jaguars tonight in Santa Fe — the Sundevils didn’t have any trouble with Capital in their first meeting of the 2-5A season Oct. 11.
    While all three sets were close in the first meeting between Los Alamos and Bernalillo, also Oct. 11, but the Hilltoppers prevailed in that contest 3-0.
    That win over the Spartans was the first of three straight victories by Los Alamos (9-9 overall, 4-2 in 2-5A), but that win streak was snapped by Española Valley Saturday night.
    Española Valley (15-3, 6-0 in district) picked up its second victory of the 2-5A season over Los Alamos at Edward Medina Gymnasium. The three sets were relatively close, but the Sundevils prevailed 25-19, 25-15, 25-22.

  • Kirk makes Cleveland's 15-man roster

    Former Los Alamos High School star Alex Kirk made the cut for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team announced.
    Kirk, the 7-foot former Hilltopper and University of New Mexico standout, is on the 15-man roster for the Cavaliers as they get ready to start the 2014-15 season.
    With the announcement, Kirk becomes the first native Los Alamos athlete to make the roster of a major North American sports franchise since former pro football player Walt Arnold did so in the mid-1980s.
    What role Kirk will play for the Cavaliers this season isn’t yet known. The website Cleveland.com reported that Kirk would likely appear in some games this season for the Cavaliers’ Development League team, the Canton (Ohio) Charge.
    For now, however, Kirk is one of three centers listed on the roster. He will likely be in the No. 3 spot in terms of playing time, at least for the beginning of the season, behind Anderson Varejao — whom the Cavs announced as the starter for their opener — and Brendan Haywood.
    At 22 years of age, Kirk is by far the youngest of the three — Varaejo is 31 years old and Haywood is 34 and coming off a full season missed with a stress fracture. Should Kirk play well, particularly early in the year, he could see his minutes bumped up.

  • LA girls are No. 3 seed in 5A playoffs

    Both the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls soccer teams got exactly what they wanted out of the New Mexico Activities Association’s seeding and selection committee this weekend.
    Brackets for the upcoming Class 5A playoffs, as well as the other classifications around the state, were released Sunday. The playoffs start with the first round this coming weekend.
    In Class 5A, the Hilltopper girls soccer team finished with the No. 3 seed. The Hilltoppers, who, after a particularly upsetting loss for them Sept. 16 against Rio Rancho and falling to two games below .500, vowed to go undefeated for the balance of the 2014 season and earn a top-four seed in the 5A draw.
    Los Alamos accomplished both of those goals, running the table for its final 10 games to finish 14-6 and earning the third seed. Along with that seed, the Hilltoppers also get a bye into the 5A quarterfinal round, which is scheduled for Nov. 6 in Albuquerque.
    Los Alamos will play the winner between sixth-seeded Albuquerque Academy (9-9-2) and 11th-seeded Del Norte (10-8), which finished second in District 2 behind the Hilltoppers.
    In the girls bracket, the St. Pius X Sartans (17-3) earned the No. 1 seed. The Sartans, who are ranked among the top 50 girls soccer teams in the nation, won the Class 4A state championship last season.

  • LA girls are No. 3 seed in playoffs, boys are eighth

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team picked up a No. 8 seed in the upcoming Class 5A playoffs, while the Hilltopper girls earned a three seed.

    Los Alamos' boys will play ninth-seeded Santa Teresa in the first round of the state playoffs at home. That game is tentatively scheduled for Saturday at Sullivan Field - no time has been announced.

    The winner between Los Alamos and Santa Teresa will square off against the No. 1 overall seed in the 5A playoffs, Albuquerque Academdy Nov. 6.

    For Los Alamos' girls, they will have a bye in the opening round of the playoffs. Their first game will be in the quarterfinal round which will be Nov. 6 in Albuquerque.

    The Hilltopper girls will play the winner between sixth-seeded Albuquerque Academy and 11th-seeded Del Norte, Los Alamos' District 2 rival.

    See Tuesday's Los Alamos Monitor for the complete first and second round match-ups.