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Today's Sports

  • Volleyball picks up first...

    Through two sets, it appeared the Los Alamos High School varsity volleyball team was headed for a seventh consecutive district defeat. But from the third set on, the Hilltoppers played with passion and energy unmatched this season, rallying for an improbable victory over Española Valley in five sets.

    Not only were the Hilltoppers seeking a regular season district victory for the first time since Oct. 29, 2016, but the team also wanted to pick up a win in the final home game for its seniors Kimberly McKinley, Alize Garcia and Desere Martinez.

    Prior to Wednesday night’s match, the Hilltoppers were 0-6 this season at Griffith Gymnasium.

    In the first set, many of the issues that have plagued the team this season popped up again, as unforced errors and a lack of communication on the court allowed the Sundevils to jump out to an early 13-9 lead.

    As the deficit ballooned to 16-10, the Hilltoppers were forced to take a timeout, hoping to shift the momentum.

    Though LAHS closed the gap momentarily, the attacking of Española Valley proved to be too strong in the opening set, which the Sundevils took 25-17.

    The second set was more of the same in the early going, as Española Valley jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead with strong and accurate attacking.

  • Atomic City Update: Passion and...

    As I was watching the World Series earlier this week, something caught my eye that was great to see. The players showed true, genuine emotion that rarely exists in the world of professional sports.

    It makes sports so much more fun when you can tell they players truly care about what they are doing. It’s the kind of emotion you often see out of high school athletes, who are so excited to succeed, or so disappointed to fail, that they wear those emotions all over their faces, and in their body language.

    Watching Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers slam his glove down in disgust after coming up short on a diving attempt at a catch, or Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros scream and jump up and down after hitting extra inning home runs is the kind of emotion I love seeing.  

    Some may perceive the actions of Puig as throwing an unnecessary tantrum, or the actions of Altuve and Correa to be showboating, but to me it shows how much they care and want to win a championship. It’s emotion that you wouldn’t see in a regular season game normally, where the stakes are so much lower. That’s one of the differences between high school sports and every other level of competition. In high school, you can see that kind of emotion every single day.

  • A family bond on the soccer pitch

    The role of most parents of high school athletes is to sit in the stands and cheer on the team. They scream the loudest when their son or daughter does something well on the field, and they are the first people to offer moral support if the team loses.

    The parents are a big part of the team, but they are separate from the day-to-day activities of the team.

    However, this is not the case for Ron Blue and his son Christopher. Ron Blue coaches the varsity boy’s soccer team at Los Alamos High School, the team for which his son Christopher plays forward.

    For the past three years, the two of them have had to set aside their familial bond during soccer season, when Christopher Blue becomes one of Ron Blue’s players. There are no special favors or promises of playing time. He has to work arguably harder than anyone on the team.

    “It has probably been harder on him than anything,” Ron Blue said. “Because I hold him to a higher standard than anyone, mainly because I don’t want anyone to question that he belongs on this team.”

    Christopher Blue has been a consistent starter for the Hilltoppers this year, scoring four goals and adding eight assists, making him the third-highest scoring player on the team.

  • Volleyball heads to Albuquerque...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team got neither the win it needed or the help it needed to move up from the District 2-5A basement to get a home match.

    Los Alamos fell in three sets to Capital Saturday and the Espanola Valley Sundevils defeated the Del Norte Knights, relegating the Hilltoppers to the No. 5 seed in the district tournament, which starts tonight.

    The Hilltoppers will take on Del Norte's Knights in Albuquerque this evening. The winner of tonight's match will meet Espanola Valley, which ended up third in the 2-5A standings, Tuesday night in the valley.

    Los Alamos finished the regular season with a record of 5-15 and won just one regular season district match. Del Norte took both contests between the two teams, winning six of the seven sets they played against each other.

  • UNM senior punter earns national...

    Corey Bojorquez, who broke three school records on Friday evening against Colorado State, earned some national recognition as he was named the Ray Guy Award’s Punter of the Week, the first such honor for a UNM punter.
     Bojorquez, a senior from Bellflower, California, has been one of the nation’s top punters all season, and his full talents were on display this week against Colorado State.
    He punted three times for an average of 57.7 yards per kick, breaking the previous UNM record of 54.2 yards.
    Twice he pinned CSU inside the 20, once on a season-best 78-yard punt from his own 11 to the other 11, and then once on a 45-yard punt that was downed at the 1-yard line.
    The only punt that was returned was muffed and resulted in a return of -21 yards, giving him a net of 64.7, which also was a school record.
    The 78-yard punt was his third 70-yard punt of the season, and it was his third 75-yard or longer punt in his career, and that also is a UNM record.
    This season, Bojorquez is averaging 47.8 yards per punt (which would be a school record) and his career average is 44.5 yards per punt (which also would be a school record).

  • Boys U14 win, U11 split in youth...

    In Duke City Soccer League action at the New Mexico State Soccer Complex in Bernalillo, the Boys U14 LAFC Lasers played Real Azteca with only 13 players and were able to pull out a 2-1 win.
    The Lasers played with the wind in the first half and were able to score two goals, both by Aaron Philip, a new player on the team this year.
    In the second half, the Lasers played against the wind and found it difficult to move the ball up the field.
    With solid defense and excellent goalkeeping by Daniel Chertkov, Real Azteca only scored one goal. The Lasers move to 2-1 on the season.
    The boys U11 LAFC Krypton Lasers lost 5-4 to the NM Rush Blue, and beat the Clovis White 8-3.
    Against the Rush, the Lasers went down early 4-1, but battled back, narrowly losing 5-4.
    Dhruv Thulasidasan scored two medium range goals, while Brendan French and Taelin Stanfield had one apiece.
    In the team’s second match, the Lasers controlled the game against Clovis from the start, going up 3-0 in the first 20 minutes.
    James Ito was player of the match with two goals and two assists. Other goal scorers included Hayden Watkins, French, Sammy Brown-Salazar, Stanfield and Liam Cunningham.

  • LAHS XC among leaders at home...

    For the first, and only, time in 2017, the Los Alamos High School cross country teams had the opportunity to run in front of a hometown crowd, and the runners did not disappoint, finishing among the leaders in every race.
    More than 400 runners and 15 teams came together at the Los Alamos County Golf Course for the annual Los Alamos Invitational, which marks the end of the regular season for the Hilltoppers.
    The varsity boys finished third, and the girls finished in fourth place. More importantly, though, is that among Class 5A schools, LAHS finished second in both races, behind only Albuquerque Academy.
    LAHS head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood are encouraged by how well their team performed, and feel that the runners continue to improve at every meet.
    “I think we feel good about the direction we are going,” Kathy Hipwood said.
    Academy topped the Hilltopper boys by 12 points, and the girls by 15 points, setting up interesting matchups at the district meet this weekend, and the state meet at the beginning of November.
    Rob Hipwood believes the Hilltopper boys will be one of the top three teams at the state competition, along with Albuquerque Academy and Kirtland Central, and that all three have proved to be capable of winning the championship.

  • Sipapu starts snowmaking efforts

    Sipapu Ski Resort announced that it has begun snowmaking operations for the 2017-18 ski season.
    Snowmaking started at the resort at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday and continued until 9 a.m. Sunday.
    The crews at Sipapu used 17 snow guns for its beginner’s and intermediate trails, Butterfly, Thumper and Lower Bambi.
    “We were able to take full advantage of the freezing temperatures and low humidity to make snow over the weekend, focusing on covering key intermediate and beginner terrain off of Lift 5 and Lift 12,” Sipapu Mountain Manager John Paul Bradley said.
    The efforts will continue this week as a cold front is expected to roll through Northern New Mexico.
    Anticipated opening day at Sipapu, according to officials there, is Nov. 11. Most ski areas in the state are hoping to open for the season on or near Thanksgiving Day.
    Sipapu, located near Vadito, N.M., has made several renovations over the offseason to its historic lodge area, its rental shop and locker room.
    For information on the ski area, visit SipapuNM.com.
     

  • Boy’s soccer wins district finale

    The Los Alamos High School varsity boy’s soccer team is heading into the state tournament with momentum, as it defeated district rival Capital High School 2-1 at home Thursday to finish the regular season.
    It was an important game for the Hilltoppers, currently ranked fourth in Class 5A, as it solidifies the team’s chances of earning a top-four seed in the state tournament. In the tournament, the top four seeds receive a bye directly to the quarterfinals, leaving them three games from a potential championship.
    The bracket for the state tournament will be revealed this weekend.
    While head coach Ron Blue does not yet know where his team will end up in the tournament, he said he is proud of the way his players have performed this season to be in consideration for a top seed.
    “It shows that we really do have talent in this group, and the depth is pretty impressive,” Blue said. “We have had a ton of guys step up big this year, and it shows what kind of character we have.”
    From the opening whistle, it seemed the Hilltoppers understood the importance of Thursday’s matchup. The team kept good possession in the early going, and was able to get good runs toward goal, as Capital had a difficult time stopping the duo of Tristan Semelsberger and Arthur Steinkamp.

  • UNM men’s b-ball picked 9th in MW

    The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team has been tabbed to finish ninth in the Mountain West this season, the conference announced Wednesday morning. Defending regular-season and tournament champion Nevada has been predicted to repeat.
    

The Mountain West preseason poll is comprised of votes by conference media members and was announced by the league at the 2017-18 Media Summit, being held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas.
    The Wolf Pack received 19 of a possible 24 first-place votes and 257 points to earn the top spot.


    Nevada was followed by San Diego State which garnered two first-place nods and 229 points while Boise State also received two first-place votes, 211 points and landed in third place.


    Fresno State collected 188 points for the fourth spot in the poll followed by Colorado State (5th, 154), UNLV (6th, 138), Wyoming (7th, 133) and Utah State (8th, 102). UNM (93), San José State (41) and Air Force (38) rounded out the poll.

Under first-year head coach Paul Weir, the Lobos return just five players from last season’s squad that finished 17-14, 10-8 MW, and welcome nine talented newcomers that include six transfers.