• 'Toppers, Chargers meet for third time this season

    It will be the rubber match between two big players in Class 5A girls soccer and the stakes will be high.
    A trip to the state semifinal round will be on the line Thursday when the Los Alamos Hilltoppers square off against the Albuquerque Academy Chargers. That game is set for 6 p.m. at the Albuquerque Public Schools Soccer Complex on the Duke City’s west side.
    Los Alamos and Academy are no strangers. They usually face off during the regular season and very often find themselves squaring off during the postseason.
    In 2014, the two teams met twice, one of those games coming by happenstance as the two teams met in the final round of Academy’s home tournament.
    Los Alamos prevailed 3-2 in that game, played Sept. 13. Three days later, however, the Chargers got that game back, winning 2-1. Both those games were played on Academy’s campus.
    “Academy is a tough challenge for us,” said Los Alamos head coach AJ Herrera, who’s leading the team into the postseason in his first season. “It was a matter of making that final play in each one of those two games.”
    The Chargers (10-9-2) were awarded just a six seed for this year’s tournament. To advance to the quarterfinals, they had to knock off Los Alamos’ District 2 foe, Del Norte.

  • Roundup: LA will face Academy

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team will face the Albuquerque Academy Chargers in the quarterfinal round of the Class 5A tournament Thursday.
    The field is set for the quarterfinals. The four quarterfinal games will all be played on Thursday at the Albuquerque Soccer Complex.
    Los Alamos, which earned the No. 3 seed for the playoffs, will meet the Chargers at 6 p.m.
    Other quarterfinal round games include St. Pius X against Goddard, Valencia taking on Farmington and Piedra Vista facing Aztec.
    The Piedra Vista-Aztec game is also set for 6 p.m. The other two games are set for 5:30 p.m.
    The tournament continues through Saturday at the APS complex.
    In the opening round, all the top seeds won in the girls 5A playoffs. Of the four games played this weekend, three were decided by one goal.
    Academy, however, knocked off Del Norte, Los Alamos’ District 2 foe, decisively, winning that contest 3-0.
    Del Norte (10-9), which was the No. 11 seed this year, was the only District 2 team besides the Hilltoppers selected for the postseason.
    The 5A boys tournament will also continue Thursday in Albuquerque.
    Los Alamos was dropped by Santa Teresa in a minor upset, 1-0 at Sullivan Field Saturday. Ezekiel Sanchez scored the only goal in the 47th minute to bump the Hilltoppers out in the first round.

  • 'Toppers finish as 2nd seed for this week’s 2-5A tourney

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team secured the No. 2 seed in the District 2-5A tournament by winning its final two matches of the season.
    Los Alamos downed Bernalillo and Del Norte last week to finish district play with a mark of 6-2, which was good enough to pick up that second seed.
    As a consequence of their seed, the Hilltoppers (11-9 overall) will host the 2-5A semifinal match at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Hilltoppers will play the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal match between the Bernalillo Spartans and the Del Norte Knights.
    The tournament opened Monday night with the Knights holding on for a 3-2 victory over the Capital Jaguars. The Knights won the first two sets, but Capital (2-17 overall, 0-9 in 2-5A) rallied to win the next two sets before the Knights bounced back to close the contest out.
    That match ended Capital’s season.
    Both teams tonight will be motivated throughout the rest of their tournament run, as both are on the bubble for inclusion into the Class 5A playoffs, which start next week in Rio Rancho.
    Del Norte, which is two games under .500 for the year, managed just three wins on the 2-5A season, all of them coming against Capital.

  • Sports Briefs 11-02-14

    Turkey Trot returns Nov. 23

    The annual CROP Walk/Turkey Trot is scheduled for Nov. 23. The event will start at Los Alamos Middle School.
    The Turkey Trot is for any interested participants. Participants my choose to walk or run a 1.7-mile or a 2.5-mile course.
    All participants are also eligible to win turkeys and pumpkin pies in a random drawing.
    Registrations will take place at 1 p.m. at LAMS and the Turkey Trot will start at 2 p.m.
    For more information, call 672-1639.

    Pro shop has new hours

    Los Alamos Golf Course announced its pro shop hours are changing for the end of Daylight Savings Time.
    The pro shop will now be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. every day until further notice. The first scheduled tee times will be at 9 a.m., weather and frost conditions permitting.
    Driving range hours will be from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
    LAGC officials said the course will close for the season around the start of December, but it could be earlier depending on weather conditions and temperatures.

    Youth basketball starts Dec. 1

  • LA sweeps all 9 top spots to take crushing 2-5A win

    COCHITI PUEBLO — If there was any doubt as to which team was in charge of the District 2-5A championship race, one had to look no further than the front of the line to have that question answered definitively.
    At the head of the race was a virtual wall composed entirely of green.
    Until the Los Alamos Hilltoppers started to fan out heading into the final mile of Friday’s district title race, there were nine runners within a few yards of each other plowing down the dusty trail at Cochiti Middle School and nary another team color in sight.
    Los Alamos dominated the 2-5A race, taking position 1-9 at the finish line — teams are allowed to enter as many as nine runners into the district title race. At the end, only one runner finished within even 15 seconds of the Hilltoppers’ No. 9 runner.
    The result, a perfect score of 15 for Los Alamos, was hardly surprising, but it may have been a statement to the rest of the teams in Class 5A.
    “I think we put in a lot of work,” said Los Alamos veteran Forrest White. “There’s a lot to go, but I didn’t think this year we’d be nearly this good.”

  • LA falls on road to Bernalillo

    BERNALILLO — One team was heading into Friday night’s football game on a high note, the other on a low note.
    But if you didn’t know which was which, you might not guess it.
    Needing just one win against a vulnerable opponent to give itself a shot for a district title, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers were outmuscled upfront for most of Friday night’s contest.
    Bernalillo, after a rocky first quarter, solidified its defensive line and used some well-timed blitz packages to throw the Hilltopper offense off-balance.
    Along with that, a huge night from two of its offensive stars — tailback Daniel Molinar and wide receiver Marcus Jaramillo — pushed the Bernalillo Spartans over the top. The Spartans prevailed 38-14 in Friday’s District 2-5A contest.
    That loss by the Hilltoppers (1-8) effectively gave the Del Norte Knights the 2-5A championship — Los Alamos was the last team that had a chance to knock Del Norte off its perch — and, although they face Del Norte at home Friday, effectively ended the Hilltoppers’ season.
    In their first season in 2-5A, the Knights have gone 3-0 and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Capital regardless of what happens this coming Friday at Sullivan Field.

  • LA’s girls cruise to big win Friday

    COCHITI PUEBLO — Although it’s the only way to qualify for the state cross country meet, for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls cross country team, for quite some time now, it hasn’t been much more than a stone to jump over.
    Los Alamos, as expected, dominated the District 2-5A championship meet Friday. Los Alamos swept the top six places at the meet and got all eight of its competing runners the title of All-District.
    As expected, the race was led virtually wire-to-wire by the Hilltoppers’ outstanding junior, Maddy Foley. Other than being pushed through about the first mile by her own teammates, Foley was barely bothered at the head of the race and won the individual district title by 44 seconds over teammate Sophia Galvez.
    Despite cruising to the victory on the warm, dusty and hilly course behind Cochiti Middle School, Foley said she felt uncomfortable leading the way.
    “I usually pace myself off Natasha Bernal (of La Cueva), who is always pacing everybody,” said Foley, talking about the top Class 6A runner in New Mexico. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking being up there.”
    Nevertheless, Foley earned her second straight win and third of the season. She also won last week at the Hilltoppers’ home meet.

  • 'Toppers bounced in opening round

    Losing is tough. Losing twice in one day is tougher.
    Unfortunately, that’s what happened to the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team Saturday at Sullivan Field. Not only did Los Alamos get nipped in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs by the Santa Teresa Desert Warriors, the Hilltoppers also lost a coach.
    Following their finishing on the short end of a tough 1-0 decision in the first round, which ended the eighth-seeded Hilltoppers’ season, Los Alamos veteran head coach Evan Gartz said he was wrapping up his career with the program.
    “It’s been a good run,” Gartz said. “I’ve loved it. I’ve loved every season, but it’s time.”
    Gartz led the team to a state championship in 2010, the first for Los Alamos since the mid-1980s.
    This season, Los Alamos had to deal with a pile of injuries as well as a challenging schedule. Los Alamos finished its regular season on a high note with three straight wins to secure a home game for the tournament’s first round.
    But ninth-seeded Santa Teresa, a school from the extreme southern part of the state, proved to be too tough of a final hill to climb for Los Alamos to get to the quarterfinals.

  • Kirk is spectator for first game with Cavs

    Former Los Alamos basketball player Alex Kirk did not make an appearance in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2014-15 season opener Thursday night.
    Kirk, who signed with the Cavaliers last summer, was on the bench for the duration of Cleveland’s home game against the New York Knicks.
    He is one of three centers on the Cavaliers’ roster this season, but neither he nor No. 2 center Brendan Haywood entered into the contest.
    Cleveland lost its opener to New York, 95-90.
    The game was the homecoming for LeBron James, who started his career in Cleveland before leaving to play for Miami for four seasons. James had an uncharacteristically pedestrian game Thursday, finishing with 17 points on 5 of 15 shooting from the floor and turning the ball over 8 times.
    The Cavaliers will face the Chicago Bulls tonight in Chicago. Chicago sports two of Kirk’s former teammates at the University of New Mexico, rookie Cameron Bairstow and second-year player Tony Snell.

  • 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.