Today's Sports

  • 'Toppers, Warriors meet in...

    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.

  • Girls play key role for LA...

    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.

  • Kirk is spectator for first game...

    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.

  • Kirk makes Cleveland's 15-...

    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 takes on Bernalillo tonight...

    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.

  • 'Topper hockey opens next...

    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.

  • 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.

  • Royals fans fired up for Game 7...

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A couple hundred fans stood behind the Royals dugout for more than a half-hour after the final out, screaming and waving white rally towels.
    Bring on Game 7!
    Yordano Ventura, a 23-year-old rookie pitching with a heavy heart and the initials of late St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras on his cap, allowed three hits over seven stifling innings. Kansas City's batters broke open the game with a seven-run second and battered the San Francisco Giants 10-0 Tuesday night to tie the World Series at three games apiece.
    "This is what we all prepared for. This is why we play the game," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said.
    As bouncers rolled by infielders and bloops dropped in front of outfielders, the raucous roar at Kauffman Stadium swelled with every hit in the second and then got louder the rest of the night. Lorenzo Cain looped a two-run single — one of eight Royals to get hits in the seven-run burst — and Hosmer chopped a two-run double over shortstop.
    "Guys stepped up in a big way tonight," Cain said.
    Jeremy Guthrie starts Wednesday night for Kansas City and Tim Hudson for San Francisco in a rematch of Game 3, won by Kansas City 3-2. Hudson, 39, will become the oldest Game 7 starter in Series history.

  • LA girls are No. 3 seed in 5A...

    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.

  • Giants on the cusp of another...

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 2-foot-tall image of deer in multicolored neon with a bulls-eye on its tail is affixed to a wall in the Kansas City Royals locker room. It hangs between the stalls of Aaron Crow and Tim Collins, and has a “W’’ underneath a crown.
    Pitcher James Shields ordered it custom made, and after wins veterans select a “King of the Game” to flip the switch that lights up the so-called “Texas Heart Shot” while a smoke machine perched atop a refrigerator fills the room with a fog more befitting a night club than a clubhouse.
    Trailing 3-2 to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, the Royals hope to light up that sign two more times this week. But if they do come back to win their first title in 29 years, it’s unlikely there will be time for their usual clubhouse ceremony given the champagne-fueled chaos.
    “I doubt it. It’s going to be crazy around here if we win both games,” outfielder Lorenzo Cain said Monday.
    Kansas City turns to a 23-year-old rookie to save its season, but not just any 23-year-old rookie: the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the major leagues.