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Today's Sports

  • Kirk has longest outing of...

    With only a little over two weeks before the start of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2014-15 season, Alex Kirk got a long, hard look Tuesday by his team.
    In the Cavaliers’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks, their third straight victory in the preseason, Kirk played for 21-plus minutes and finished with 8 points, hitting 2 of 6 shots from the floor, and had 3 rebounds. That game was in Cleveland and was Kirk’s longest appearance for the Cavaliers in the preseason so far.
    Kirk, of course, is a 2010 graduate of Los Alamos High School. Following his standout career with the Hilltoppers, he had a solid career at the University of New Mexico, where he played for 3-plus years.
    Over the summer, Kirk went undrafted, but was signed by the Cavaliers to a free agent deal.
    The career prospects of an undrafted rookie free agent can often be dicey at best, but for those trying to make Cleveland’s squad this season, it may be doubly so.
    Cleveland was one of the most active teams in the offseason. The Cavaliers picked up two huge new players, LeBron James and Kevin Love, who got some hefty contracts.
    James, of course, is considered the best player by many in the NBA and is a four-time league MVP. He was originally drafted by Cleveland but left the team in a controversial free agent move in 2010 to join Miami.

  • Lobos are picked to finish 3rd

    The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team may have something to prove this year according to the media covering Mountain West hoops.
    The Lobos finished third in the preseason media poll, which was released Tuesday. The Lobos earned 270 points in the poll of 35 media members, which placed them just behind poll runner-up Boise State.
    Taking the top spot in the poll was San Diego State by a very comfortable margin. San Diego State’s Aztecs, who won the 2013-14 MW regular season crown, earned 383 points and grabbed all but one of the first-place votes cast — Boise State got the other top vote.
    Boise State’s Broncos just nipped UNM for the second spot, picking up 275 total points, but UNM just edged out UNLV for the No. 3 spot by a single point.
    Last March, the Lobos, led by their big three of Alex Kirk, Kendall Williams and Cameron Bairstow, won their third consecutive MW tournament title. All three, of those players, however, signed professional contracts during the offseason — Bairstow and Kirk in the NBA, Williams in Europe — and only two starters are returning from that team that went 27-7 overall and 15-3 in conference play.
    The top returning scorer for UNM this season is sophomore Cullen Neal.

  • 'Toppers blanked by Jags in...

    SANTA FE — Going into Saturday night’s big District 2-5A boys soccer game, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers had plans to make a big impression.
    The Capital Jaguars, however, had much different plans. Theirs worked out better.
    The Hilltoppers needed a win, preferably a big one, to keep any realistic shot of a district title alive this year, but the Jaguars, one of the hottest teams in the state right now, kept their hot streak going with a decisive 3-0 win at Jaguar Field.
    Things got worrisome for Los Alamos early, when Pedro Limus headed in a textbook corner kick from Jose Encina for the first score of the ballgame. Then the Jaguars all but finished off the contest with a goal early in the second half with Alexis Romo, who had a big goal in their first meeting of the season, scoring on a breakaway chance.
    Now, Los Alamos (7-8-2 overall, 2-2 in 2-5A) can finish no better than second in the district race and is in a position where it can’t afford another district loss without risking the possibility of losing out on the upcoming playoffs altogether.

  • Girls cling to 2-1 win at Capital

    SANTA FE — The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team didn’t have as easy a time handling the Capital Jaguars the second time around as it did the first.
    Los Alamos had a battle on its hands Saturday afternoon at Jaguar Field. In what is a very rare occurrence, Los Alamos had to come back from being down in a district game, giving up an early goal to the Jaguars.
    The Hilltoppers would come back to tie the score shortly afterward in the first half, then score again in the second half to escape with a 2-1 victory over the Jaguars.
    It was a surprisingly close outcome for Los Alamos (11-6 overall, 4-0 in 2-4A), which rolled to a 10-0 victory over Capital (6-9-1) in their first meeting Sept. 23 at Sullivan Field.
    “This was probably our worst performance in seven or eight games,” Los Alamos head coach AJ Herrera said. “We certainly didn’t play our ‘A’ game, but we understand we need to do better next time.”
    Herrera said he didn’t know if his team looked past Saturday’s game, but even though it netted just one goal in the second half, he said his team’s performance was considerably better in the final 40 minutes than the first 40 minutes.

  • 'Toppers lose in final...

    Both teams competing in Friday night’s District 2-5A football game could’ve won it, could’ve lost it, or could’ve sent it to overtime many times over.
    But in the end, it was the Capital Jaguars (3-4) who took advantage of the window of opportunity they were given in the endgame.
    Capital’s Adrian Orenals boomed a near-perfect 28-yard field goal that went through the uprights with just .5 seconds remaining to give the Jaguars a 10-7 victory over the Los Alamos Hilltoppers at Sullivan Field.
    Even though they’re just one game into the district season, the Hiltoppers are already in trouble. It’s unlikely District 2-5A will produce more than one entry into the state playoffs — two entries are possible but not likely, and that at-large entry would certainly not go to Los Alamos, which falls to 0-7 on the year — and the Hilltoppers are now in a position where they must pull off at least one upset, over Del Norte in their last game of the season.
    Friday’s game was a battle between two offenses that have struggled much of this season, but Capital’s offense, which performed much better in the second half of the game, came through in the fourth quarter with a pair of big scoring drives, including the drive that set up Ornelas’ field goal.

  • 'Topper XC boys are runners...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys cross country team had a huge showing at Saturday's Rio Rancho Jamboree.

    Los Alamos' boys finished second in team standings to the Rio Rancho Rams, finishing with 147 points. Moreover, the Hilltoppers stunned the Albuquerque Academy Chargers, their main nemesis. The Chargers finished in third place with 159 points.

    The Rio Rancho Jamboree is run at the same venue as the state championship meet, which is now just three weeks away.

    Los Alamos got top-20 finishes from two of its runners, Greg Ahlers and Cameron Staples, in the invidiual competition, for its runner-up finish.

    On the girls side, Los Alamos finished in third place. The Hilltoppers had 145 points, which easily outpaced the other competing Class 5A teams at the race.

    Los Alamos' girls were paced by Maddy Foley, who finished in third place overall.

    More information on the Hilltoppers' big finish will be in Tuesday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Lobos need to stop Falcons...

    In the option, the system is what you have to beat. You stop the dive, limit the quarterback keeper, shut down the pitch.
    Still, there are individuals that shine in this system. The Air Force Falcons have two of them.
    The University of New Mexico Lobo football team needs to contain Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson.
    Pearson missed most of the 2013 season and is nursing an injured shoulder this season. He is still a weapon. He orchestrates the Falcons’ option and he usually does it at a high level.
    When he does pull the right triggers at the right time, the Falcons usually win. Pearson has 360 yards on the ground. .
    “You look at their offense, it's slightly different than last year, particularly because the quarterback is back that was injured in the first game last year,” said Lobos Coach Bob Davie. “He’s a heck of a competitor. He’s fun to watch. Their offense is the same style, but the quarterback is a heck of a player.”
    The big back in the Falcons’ option is Jacobi Owens, who has 697 yards on the season and a 5.3-yard average per carry. Owens averages 112.7 yards per game.

  • Roundup: JV soccer teams tie...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys and girls junior varsity soccer teams played two separate games with their counterparts from Hope Christian and in both instances nothing was resolved.
    Wednesday, the Hiltopper girls JV team deadlocked with the Huskies 1-1 at Sullivan Field. That same day, Los Alamos’ boys JV squad finished in a 1-1 tie with Hope Christian, also at home.
    The boys game pitted two strong teams against each other. Los Alamos was 9-3 heading into the contest, while Hope Christian was 11-2.
    In that game, Hope Christian’s Kevin Sanchez scored in the first half, the same half Los Alamos’ goal was scored. Both teams’ offenses were shut out in the second half.
    Valerie Li, an eighth grader, got the lone score for the Hilltoppers in the girls game Wednesday. Li’s goal gave Los Alamos the edge at halftime, but Hope cored in the second half to tie things up.
    The Hilltopper girls followed that up with a victory Thursday night at home. The Hilltoppers got a second half goal from Hannah Littleton to nip the St. Michael’s Horsemen 1-0.
    With that win, Los Alamos’ girls improve to 5-7-1 on the year.

    Capital tops Los Alamos 27-20 in football

  • Giants' Ishikawa hits walk-...

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After three years away with four different teams, Travis Ishikawa landed himself a second chance with San Francisco right where he so wanted to be.
    And with one sweet swing, he sent the Giants back to the World Series.
    It was the Shot That Shook the Bay.
    For all the questions about San Francisco’s failures to clear the fences and weird ways they’re winning during their latest special October, the Giants got back to the World Series with the home run. A trio of longballs, in fact.
    Ishikawa made good on the big stage only a few months removed from the minors, hitting the first homer to end an NL Championship Series on a three-run drive that lifted San Francisco to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
    “It’s gratifying,” Ishikawa said. “If there’s an organization I’d want to do it for, it would be this one.”
    These every-other-year Giants will face the Royals in an all wild-card World Series.
    A journeyman who began the season with Pittsburgh, Ishikawa connected for the first game-ending home run that sent the Giants into the World Series since perhaps the most famous drive in baseball history — Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in a 1951 playoff.

  • 'Toppers head to Rio Rancho...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country teams are coming right down to the nitty-gritty of their regular season, starting Saturday at Rio Rancho.
    Los Alamos’ boys and girls will head to the Rio Rancho Jamboree Saturday, the first of their final two regular season contests. Following Saturday’s meet, the teams will host their home meet Oct. 24 at Los Alamos Golf Course.
    The Rio Rancho Jamboree is a key late-season contest, primarily because it takes place around the campus of Rio Rancho High School, the same venue that hosts the state meet.
    The state championship meet is slated for Nov. 8.
    Rio Rancho features a relatively fast but deceptively challenging course, known for its dust and a couple of tough climbs that runners will have to be wary of.
    The Hilltoppers, of course, won both the boys and girls state titles in 2013 as members of Class 4A and both appear to be contenders in Class 5A this season.
    Los Alamos’ girls are looking very much like the team to beat in 5A at this point, having downed every other 5A team they’ve gone up against this season except for in their first meet in early September.