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  • Cibola too much for LAHS to handle

    Heading into this season, Los Alamos High School hockey coach Kevin Brake said he expected this to be a rebuilding year. And he was completely right. With a young roster, and very little experience on defense, the group has struggled this year and finds itself well behind the leaders in the standings of the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League as the season winds down.

    Last weekend, in the final games of the season at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink, league leader Cibola invaded and dominated a two-game series, defeating the Hilltoppers 5-1 Friday night and 12-4 Saturday morning.

    Cibola has only lost one time in regulation this season, and has a record of 11-1-2. The Cougars have outscored opponents 114-50, and are one of the most aggressive teams in the league.

    Friday night, Cibola wasted very little time showing why it has dominated all season.

    Six minutes into the first period, Cibola’s Steven Bitzer scored a shorthanded goal, his first goal of the season, to put the Cougars on top 1-0.

    Though Jared Carnes scored for the Hilltoppers with just over one minute left in the first period to even the score 1-1, the joy was short-lived.

  • Hilltoppers nearly pull off upset of Capital

    The Los Alamos boys’ basketball team played its most complete District 2-5A game yet, and it just wasn’t enough.

    In Wednesday night’s battle at Griffith Gymnasium between the Hilltoppers and Capital High School, the Jaguars jumped out to a lead and hung on, despite an impressive comeback attempt by LAHS.

    “The effort was there,” LAHS head coach Mike Kluk said. “We kept digging out of that hole, but unfortunately we kept digging the hole. It’s the story of the season. We miss shots that other teams have no problem making. We miss free throws. We turn the ball over. You just can’t do that, especially against good teams like Capital.

    The Jaguars entered the game ranked No. 3 in District 2-5A, with the team’s only district loss coming last week on the road against No. 1 Española Valley.

    In Wednesday’s game, both teams started out shooting well, and matching each other shot-for shot.

    Aaron Garcia was the catalyst for Capital in the first quarter, scoring 11 points and knocking down five shots.

    The scoring came all over from the Hilltoppers, as Michael Naranjo scored 6 points and David Owen had 5 points in the opening quarter, which ended in a 17-17 score.

  • Offense struggles late as LAHS falls

    Finishing up the first round of district contests, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team headed to district-leader Capital High School Tuesday evening, falling 52-36 in a game that was often closer than the score indicated.

    On paper, the game appeared to be a mismatch. Capital entered the contest 3-0 in District 2-5A games, while the Hilltoppers came in 0-3 in district play and winless since late December.

    Much like LAHS’ last game, against Española Valley, the team fell behind early.

    Throughout the first quarter, Capital couldn’t miss, while the Hilltoppers had trouble hanging onto the ball.

    The Jaguars connected on seven shots in the quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers that allowed Capital to jump out to a quick 18-4 lead.

    The Hilltoppers’ only points in the quarter came from a pair of layups from Natalie Gallegos and Anna Lemke.

    Despite trailing by such a large margin, LAHS came out in the second quarter with a noticeable increase in energy.

    One of the big reasons for that was junior guard Alex Calderon, who saw his first action in district play. She immediately sparked the offense from the point guard position, and set the team up for success with her passing and playmaking ability.

  • Defense struggles for LAHS in tough four-game stretch

    After being stuck in the middle of the league standings throughout most of the season, the Los Alamos High School ice hockey team returned to the Los Alamos County Ice Rink for four pivotal games against Telluride and Durango.

    These were especially important games, because matchups against Telluride provided the Hilltoppers an opportunity to take down one of the top teams in the league, while games against Durango offered LAHS a chance to distance itself from other teams in the middle of the league.

    However, the team was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, dropping both games against Telluride, losing one game to Durango and earning a tie in the other game.

    The struggles against Telluride have been consistent throughout the season, as LAHS drops to 0-4 against the Lizard Heads. Last weekend the team lost 7-4 Friday night and 9-4 Saturday morning.

    This year’s series against Durango has been more competitive, as the Hilltoppers won the first meeting in mid-December before losing two of the past three matchups. This weekend, the Hilltoppers tied the Devils 5-5 Saturday night and lost 8-3 Sunday morning, likely the result of fatigue after playing four games in three days.

  • Hilltoppers prepare for toughest test of season

    Of all the games the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team will play this season, there will likely be none tougher than the test the Hilltoppers face tonight in Española.

    The Española Valley High School Sundevils are the top-ranked team in Class 5A, and are viewed by many as the top team in the state of New Mexico, regardless of classification.

    This week, that stance has only grown stronger. Tuesday night in Española, the Sundevils faced District 2-5A rival, and No. 3 ranked 5A team, Capital High School in what has become one of the best rivalries in the state.

    And facing its toughest opponent so far this season, the Sundevils cruised to an 83-65 win. It was so decisive that the stands that were filled to capacity at tipoff were half empty by the middle of the fourth quarter.

    Capital, which came into the game giving up fewer than 55 points per game on average, gave up nearly that many in the second half alone.

    Española Valley is one of the most well balanced teams in the state, with the ability to defend every player on the floor, and score in a variety of ways.

  • Shorthanded Hilltoppers come up short on back-to-back days

    The recent rough stretch for the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team continued over the weekend, as the Hilltoppers lost to Goddard High School and Albuquerque Academy inside Griffith Gymnasium.

    With senior forward Troy Hammock in street clothes on the bench in both games, the Hilltoppers played with just eight players in uniform. According to LAHS head coach Mike Kluk, it is not yet known whether Hammock will be able to return to action this season.

    The impact of Hammock’s absence was immediately noticeable, as the Hilltoppers were forced to change the starting lineup, and often had a smaller group on the floor during Friday’s game against Goddard.

    Though the offense got off to a good start in the game, repeatedly getting close to the basket for easy baskets, Goddard’s offense was even more impressive. The Rockets knocked down four 3-pointers in the first quarter, and appeared comfortable setting up beyond the arc and waiting for an open shot.

    With the help of those deep shots, Goddard led 18-14 after the first quarter.

    In the second quarter, Ramon Roybal got on a roll for the Hilltoppers, and knocked down three 3-pointers. His strong quarter helped propel LAHS to a halftime lead, 36-32.

  • Registration for fencing class at YMCA begins next month

    The Family YMCA will open registration for the Intro to Fencing for Beginners class on Feb 1.

    Class begins on March 6 and runs for three months. Class size is limited to 10 each year, so those interested will need to act fast to make sure they secure a spot.

    The cost for the three-month program is $120, or $90 for YMCA members.

    The beginning class for students (ages 10 or older) with no previous fencing experience meets each Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the YMCA gym.

    The class will focus on basic footwork and blade skills, in both foil and epee, leading into actual fencing bouts.

    The season will finish May 29 with a tournament.

    The YMCA provides all necessary equipment.

    The YMCA also has a fencing program for those that have completed the beginner course or have other previous fencing experience. Participants may start at the beginning of any month.

    The YMCA provides instruction and equipment.

    Class meets at the YMCA gym on Tuesdays  from 7-8 p.m.

    The monthly cost is $32, or $16 for YMCA members.

    Register now at The Family YMCA, located at 1450 Iris St. in Los Alamos, call 662-3100 or go to laymca.org.

    For additional information, contact Tom Hill at 672-1058.
     

  • Ski club succeeds at junior national qualifier

    What a difference a year and more experience makes. That was evident for the kids on the Southwest Nordic Ski Club (SWNSC) team who traveled to the Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifier Jan. 13-15 in Crested Butte, Colorado.

    Being up against all of the big teams from Colorado, such as the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Aspen Valley Nordic, Summit County Nordic Club, Boulder Nordic Club, Durango Nordic Club, Winter Park Nordic Club, Crested Butte Nordic and Gunnison Nordic Clubs, the kids from Los Alamos definitely had their work cut out for them.

    Last season was the local club’s first taste of the highest level of competition for juniors in the Junior National Qualifier series, which is part of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association sanctioned regional races for kids looking to advance to the national and international levels.

    It starts with racing at the Rocky Mountain region qualifiers, then based on results there, up to the national level.

  • LAHS wrestling wins district trials

    The Los Alamos High School wrestling team was named the winners of the District 2-5A Trials, held Wednesday at LAHS.

    To win the event, the Hilltoppers had to defeat opponents from Del Norte High School and Española Valley High School.

    Defeating Española Valley proved to be no problem for LAHS, as the Hilltoppers took down the Knights 66-15.

    However, the Del Norte Knights proved to be much more of a challenge, as it took a great effort from LAHS junior Dylan Irish to finish off the match.

    With the teams evenly matched on the scoreboard, Irish was able to pin his opponent in the 182-pound weight class, sealing the 36-30 victory for the Hilltoppers, and sending his team and the supporters into an uproar.

    Also collecting pins for the Hilltoppers were Damian Gonzalez, who pinned his opponent from Del Norte in the 120-pound weight class, Trevor Brown, who pinned his opponent from Española Valley in the 145-pound weight class and Lewis Harvey, who pinned his opponent from Del Norte in the 170-pound weight class.

    Next up for the Hilltoppers is a road meet against Robertson High School on Tuesday afternoon. The meet will begin at 5 p.m.

    This season, the Hilltoppers are undefeated in head-to-head meets,  with wins against Pojoaque Valley and Hobbs.

  • Atomic City Update: Time running out to check out LAHS winter sports

    For anyone who has not had the opportunity to check out Los Alamos High School’s winter sports, time is quickly running out.

    With district play already underway for the basketball teams, just one home wrestling meet remaining and one more weekend to head to the ice rink to watch the hockey team play, it’s a great time to watch your local teams in action.

    The boys’ basketball team will host all four of its district opponents between now and the middle of February, including a pair of state championship contenders in Capital High School on Jan. 31, and Española Valley High School on Feb. 14.

    These games will be a great opportunity to see how well the Hilltoppers match up against some of the best teams in the state, and might provide a preview for matchups that could come later, in postseason play.

    The girls’ basketball team will also host its three remaining district opponents, Española Valley on Jan. 27, Albuquerque Academy on Feb. 7 and Capital on Feb. 16. With the district wide-open this season and no team putting good games together consistently, every one of these games could be important down the stretch. I’m sure the Hilltopper girls would greatly appreciate strong crowd support for these exciting games.