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  • 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.

  • Sanchez leads LA boy's cross country to third place

    Since the Lobo Invitational, it was clear that Rafael Sanchez was the future of the Los Alamos boy's cross country team, but Saturday proved that Sanchez has the potential to be the future of cross country in New Mexico.

    The eighth-grade standout led the Hilltoppers to a third place finish at the Class 5A state cross country championships at Rio Rancho High School.

    "Los Alamos... what more can you ask for than to run with them," Sanchez said. "We have great coaches and a great organization."

    Los Alamos, which finished with 76 points, placed behind champion Albuquerque Academy and Kirtland Central. Individual champion Jordan Lesansee led the Chargers, who won their second-consecutive state title. The Broncos had the second-best runner of the race in Kashon Harrison.

    Sanchez finished in fourth place individually with a time of 16:41.65. Midway through the race, he made a move past Academy's Mark Harrington that proved to be enough to give Los Alamos its 12th-consective season with a top-five individual state finisher.   

    "He (Harrington) was really gaining a lead so I decided to make a leap of faith of just go for it," Sanchez said. "I didn't really like the beginning of the race. But the middle and the ending were really good." 

  • Prep boy's soccer: Academy ends LA’s season

    In a physical affair, Albuquerque Academy did enough to muscle Los Alamos out of the Class 5A state tournament.
    The Chargers defeated the Hilltoppers 4-1 on Friday in the semifinals at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex.
    “It was heartbreaking. The guys were just really devastated,” Los Alamos coach Ron Blue said. “We gave up too many set pieces outside the box. We put in so much energy and it just got really physical. There was weird kind of fouls called both ways.”
     The Chargers got on the board first, before Los Alamos senior Jonathan Coons equalized to make it 1-1 at halftime.
    Early in the second half, Los Alamos had two clear goal scoring opportunities that were cleared on the line by Academy defenders. A set-piece goal later in the second half gave Academy a 2-1 lead. And two minutes later, the Chargers added another goal to get some breathing room. Academy assured its second-consecutive state championship appearance with another goal late in the second half.    
    “They (Academy) saved two shots on the line, and we could’ve been up 2-1 at that point,” Blue said. “Once they went up one, you could just see our boy’s hearts drop. Before we could even make any adjustments, they caught us out of position on the weak side and put us under.”

  • LAHS volleyball advances to 2-5A title match, after come back win

    Being down two sets isn't going to faze the Los Alamos volleyball team anymore.

    The Hilltoppers came from behind to defeat Del Norte in five sets (13-25, 18-25, 25-13, 25-21, 15-11) in the District 2-5A semifinals on Thursday in Albuquerque. Los Alamos advanced to the district championship match where it will face Española Valley at 6 p.m. Saturday in Española.

    In the fifth set on Thursday, Los Alamos played its best set jumping out to a 5-1 lead. But, Del Norte cam back to tie the set 5-5, before the Hilltoppers took control and picked up a 12-7 lead after a thunderous Mackenzie Alexander kill and a serving ace from Sophia Salazar. Los Alamos then fended off a Knights come back attempt to seal the win.

    Los Alamos kept the match alive in the third set after settling down and getting a 13-6 lead to start the set. Behind a 9-4 run, the Hilltoppers went on to dominate the must-win set. In the fourth set, Los Alamos got off to a 11-7 lead, before Del Norte evened the set at 15-15, and took a 16-15 lead. The Hilltoppers tied the set at 20-20, before going on a 5-1 run to force the decisive set.

  • Toppers girl's soccer advances to semis after beating Goddard

    After opportunities started to go wide and the minutes began to go by, the Los Alamos girl's soccer team finally got the one it needed.

    The No. 4 Hilltoppers defeated fifth-seeded Goddard 1-0 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament at the Bernalillo Soccer Complex. Los Alamos will face No. 1 St. Pius in the semifinals on Friday.

    "We just kept going and kept attacking," Los Alamos coach Gary Ahlers said. "The girls didn't stop and didn't get down. They were so excited."

    The Hilltoppers controlled possession and owned the majority of goal scoring opportunities leading up to the eventual game-winning goal. In the 76th minute, Alissia Haagenstad found some space and put away the goal for Los Alamos, from a Sienna Ahlers pass.

    In the first half, the Hilltoppers used their midfield to spread the ball around but didn't garner many threats towards the Rockets goal. But in the second, that possession turned into goal scoring opportunities. Then, it was all about getting past Goddard goalkeeper Averi Mann.  

    "We had the majority of possession but we just couldn't get a good shot off," Gary Ahlers said. "Their (Goddard) keeper was phenomenal. We couldn't get a clean run onto the goal."    

  • LAHS football hosts Capital in regular season finale

    Los Alamos head football coach Garett Williams said his team is mentally prepared for what could be a season-defining game.
    The Hilltoppers will host Capital at 7 p.m. tonight at Sullivan Field in the regular season finale for both teams.  
    “We’re prepared for this just like everything else,” Williams said. “We normally start with something to get these guys jacked up and try to get them focused. The way we practice and our preparation is still the same.”
    Los Alamos, which is 5-4 overall and 2-1 in District 2-5A, could be playing for its postseason life tonight. A win could potentially make the Hilltoppers one of 11 Class 5A teams with a winning record going into Saturday’s state selection show. A loss would make the Hilltoppers state playoffs case even more difficult.
    “They talk about it and they know about the importance of playing good,” Williams said. “Whether the (selection) committee sees it the way we want them to see it, we don’t have any control over that. All we can do is take care of us. We don’t want to change anything. We want these guys to be comfortable in what they’re doing.”

  • Prep volleyball: ’Toppers survive Capital in 5

    It was fitting that the Los Alamos volleyball team would survive a five-set scare with its season on the line.
    The Hilltoppers defeated Capital (19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 12-25, 15-9) on Tuesday at Griffith Gym to advance to the semifinals of the District 2-5A tournament. Los Alamos traveled to face Del Norte on Thursday (after the Monitor’s print deadline).
    “When it comes to the fifth game they just get a lot of reps,” Los Alamos coach Diana Stokes said. “They did some really good things. And the two games that Capital won... they were solid. It was just a matter of which team can stay up the longest.”
    Both teams began the final set tied 5-5. After a long stoppage from the officials, the Hilltoppers took a 10-7 lead. That lead was charged by freshman Natalie Gallegos who finished with four kills in the fifth set. An Elodie Thelliez kill sealed the win for Los Alamos. 

  • LA cross country set for state

    The Los Alamos girl’s cross country team will need to have its best performance of the season to extend its state title streak.
    The Hilltoppers travel to Rio Rancho on Saturday to compete in a meet where they’ve had loads of success - the Class 5A state meet. The Los Alamos girls will run at noon on the campus of Rio Rancho High School.
    The Hilltoppers go into the meet winning seven-consecutive state titles. But this year, Los Alamos has yet to finish first in a meet. Class 5A favorite Albuquerque Academy is likely the reason for that. The Hilltoppers have faced the Chargers in their last two meets and Academy got the best of Los Alamos both times.   
    Class 5A could very likely come down to both of these teams.
    Celeste Martinez and Carly Wall, who were the top two finishers in the District 2-5A meet, will look to lead the Chargers to their first state title since 2008.
    For Los Alamos, the return of junior Zoe Hemez has made the Hilltoppers a real danger to upset Academy on Saturday. Hemez adds more depth to a Los Alamos line up that was led by eighth-grader Lidia Appell for the majority of the season.

  • LAHS boy’s soccer tops Chaparral, advances to semis

    It was going to take a strong defensive effort and clinical finishing for the Los Alamos boy’s soccer team to upend No. 4 Chaparral.
    And that’s exactly what the fifth-seeded Hilltoppers did in their 1-0 Class 5A quarterfinal win against Chaparral on Thursday at a windy Bernalillo Soccer Complex. Los Alamos advanced to the semifinals where it will face No. 1 Albuquerque Academy at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

    "It was outstanding," Los Alamos coach Ron Blue said. "Defensively we were really good. We found space and found gaps. We didn't make mistakes. It was windy which made the game a bit sloppy. But I was proud of how we played."