Today's Sports

  • Atomic City Update: Baseball and...

    In sports, practice really does make perfect. It doesn’t matter how much natural ability someone has, the people who are truly successful are those who work the hardest.

    A big part of that is going above and beyond, and taking the time to always learn new things.

    This year, over Spring Break, those interested in baseball or softball between the ages of 7 and 14 will have that opportunity.

    On March 26, Ryan Brewer, of the Albuquerque Baseball Academy, and Kelsey Stevens, a national champion from the University of Oklahoma’s 2016 softball team, will host camps at Overlook Park in White Rock.

    This is the fifth year Brewer has held a camp in the area over Spring Break, while Stevens’ camp is a new addition this year.

    One of Brewer’s camps will focus on hitting and defense, while the other will focus on pitching.

    The hitting and defense camp will run from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and the pitching camp will run from 1:30-3 p.m. Campers can attend both sessions if they choose.

    Brewer pitched at Texas Tech University, and was signed by the Kansas City Royals after college. He has worked as a pitching coach at Texas Tech and at the University of New Mexico.

  • Española Valley easily advances...

    After the quarterfinal round of action at the NMAA state basketball tournament, only the Española Valley boys’ team remains representing District 2-5A.

    The Sundevils, which has dominated all season, has advanced to the semifinals after defeating Valencia 68-51 in the first round, and St. Pius 61-41 in the quarterfinals, continuing a trend of sprinting past 5A competition this season.

    Heading into the quarterfinals, there was a possibility of No. 1 Española Valley facing 2-5A rival, and No. 4 seed, Capital in the semifinals. However, in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, Capital fell to Artesia 65-63, eliminating the Jaguars.

    Española Valley will face Artesia in the semifinals before a potential championship matchup with No. 2 seed Los Lunas Saturday afternoon.

    On the girls’ side of the bracket, there are no 2-5A schools remaining in contention for the state championship.

    No. 7 seed Española Valley was the final team remaining from the district.

    After advancing to the quarterfinals with a 57-52 win over No. 10 seed Belen, the Sundevils fell in the second round to No. 2 seed Bloomfield, which easily advanced 57-33.

  • LAHS rolls to win over Santa Fe...

    Behind a strong pitching effort and a balanced offense, the Los Alamos High School baseball team won its home opener 5-0 against Santa Fe High School Wednesday night.

    Starting his second game of the season, junior Arthur Steinkamp dominated on the mound. Early on, it was evident that he had command of the strike zone, and had the Demons’ lineup completely fooled.

    In five innings of shutout ball on the mound, Steinkamp allowed just two hits and struck out six batters, walking just one. Only one batter reached third base for the Demons in the game.

    Luke Kirkland pitched the final two innings of the game for the Hilltoppers. He worked around a pair of walks to keep Santa Fe scoreless, and struck out one batter to secure the victory.

    At the plate, the Hilltoppers struck early and kept the pressure on throughout the afternoon.

    In the first inning, Hunter Swavely got things started with a triple down the left field line, exciting the crowd gathered at Bomber Field.

    He scored when the next batter, James Neal, lined a single into left field.

    After advancing on an error, Neal scored when Vincent Marciano followed with a single of his own, giving the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead.

  • LAHS baseball earns fourth place...

    The first tournament of the year didn’t go the way the Los Alamos High School baseball team expected, as the Hilltoppers went 1-2 and earned fourth place at the eight-team event.

    The tournament began well for LAHS, winning the first game against Shiprock 9-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Jacob Rutten, who pitched all 7 innings, allowing 1 run and throwing 84 pitches.

    Pitching proved to be much more of a challenge the rest of the weekend, beginning Friday against Centennial.

    Junior Arthur Steinkamp started the game on the mound and pitched into the fourth inning. He allowed 4 runs on nine hits, and did not issue a walk or strikeout despite struggling with command.

    Walker Eaton and Luis Bojorquez followed on the mound. Eaton allowed 4 runs and Bojorquez allowed 2 runs.

    Offense was hard to come by for the Hilltoppers in the game as well, with LAHS’ only runs coming on an impressive 2-run home run by Vince Marciano in the 6th inning.

    Centennial won the game 10-2, sending LAHS to the third-place game.

    Friday’s struggles carried over to Saturday, as the Hilltoppers fell 11-0 to Oñate, and collected only 4 hits in the game.

  • Hilltoppers aim to remain state...

    Though it may look like a year of rebuilding for the track and field teams at Los Alamos High School, but counting the Hilltoppers out at the state level would be a mistake.

    Both teams at LAHS lost a lot of talented seniors last year, forcing new, younger athletes to step up and fill the void.

    Those will be big shoes to fill, as last year’s senior class led both teams to top-four finishes at the state meet, including a runner-up finish for the girls’ team.

    Despite having to retool, optimism remains high that the momentum from last year will continue into the new season.

    “I just think we have a great team dynamic,” girls’ head coach Aaron Padilla said. “We had a standout freshman class last year that are sophomores now, so I feel like the talent and work ethic is there.”

    With 45 girls on the team, Padilla’s numbers are lower than last year, but he doesn’t necessarily see it as a negative.

    “We have a lot of quality girls on this team, and not just good athletes but good students and good people,” Padilla said.

    In terms of what he expects his team to be strong in, Padilla said relays would likely continue to be strong, as they were last year.

  • Atomic City Update: Former LAHS...

    Unlike any other state I’ve seen, New Mexico honors and cares about its homegrown athletes. From Lovington’s Brian Urlacher, to Artesia’s Landry Jones and Albuquerque Academy’s Alex Bregman, star athletes are celebrated here unlike anywhere else when they find success later in life.

    And Los Alamos is no exception. Ever since he graduated, basketball star Alex Kirk has been doing exciting things and the town has taken notice. From playing in the NBA, to various countries overseas, he has never stopped making headlines. Now a member of Alvark Tokyo in Japan’s National Basketball League, he has decided to give back to the community that gave him his start in the midst of the best season of his professional career.

    This week, the Alex Kirk Foundation announced that it is offering a scholarship opportunity for members of the Española and Los Alamos Teen Centers, operated by the Family YMCA.

    One member of each teen center will be awarded $1,000 for participation in programs and services offered by the center.

    “We are looking for teens that have been actively engaged in the unique programs each Teen Center offers,” Kirk said. “And also for perhaps going above and beyond, like taking a leadership role or being a great peer mentor.”

  • LAHS softball prepared for big...

    The Los Alamos High School softball team is a confident and motivated group that appears ready to do whatever it takes to find success in May.

    Last season, the Hilltoppers won District 2-5A with an 11-1 record, and advanced to the state championship tournament as the No. 11 seed.

    However, for the fourth year in a row, that was the end of the road. Since 2014, LAHS has earned a spot in the state tournament only to lose by double digits in the first round.

    Ever since the season ended, the Hilltoppers have worked hard to reverse that trend, and believe this year’s group has what it takes to make a run at the state championship.

    For head coach Randy Burditt, the main reason for that optimism is how many girls he has returning from last year’s team and the amount of talent he will be able to put on the field every day.

    “That’s going to be our strength is our returners,” Burditt said. “They all worked hard in the offseason to get better, stronger, faster.”

    Among the returners Burditt will be counting on heavily this year is senior Jayde Tucker, the team’s starting catcher.

    “She comes with the credentials of holding the team together, and holding the pitching staff together,” Burditt said.

  • District 2-5A fills state...

    Though Los Alamos High School failed to make the state championship tournament in either boys’ or girls’ basketball, the Hilltoppers’ district rivals will be well represented.

    District 2-5A will have three teams in the boys’ tournament and two teams in the girls’ tournament.

    The boys’ tournament, which begins at home sites March 3, features No. 1 seed Española Valley, No. 4 seed Capital and No. 11 seed Del Norte.

    Española Valley enters the tournament as the undisputed favorite in the tournament after going 25-1 in the regular season. The team also went undefeated in district play, going 8-0 and winning the district tournament. The team’s only loss of the season came against Rio Rancho High School in mid-January.

    Most impressively, the Sundevils defeated No. 4 seed Capital three times in the regular season in convincing fashion, 83-65 in Española, 90-66 in Santa Fe and 75-63 in the district tournament championship game.

    Española Valley will kick off the tournament at home Saturday against Valencia High School, the tournament’s No. 16 seed.

  • Atomic City Update: Plenty of...

    The end of any season is tough for players, fans and coaches. But the end of this basketball season is tougher than usual for everyone surrounding the Los Alamos High School basketball program.

    Combined, the boys’ and girls’ teams went 1-15 in District 2-5A play, with the only win coming in the girls’ final home game of the season against Capital High School.

    The frustrating thing is, with the talent on these rosters, there was no reason for the Hilltoppers to struggle as much as they did.

    The boys had six seniors that played big roles this season. As a basketball team, you can’t ask for any more experience than that. And these weren’t just average seniors, for the most part.

    Antonio Trujillo proved to be one of the most creative ball-handlers in the state, with the ability to make a highlight-reel worthy play every time he has the ball in his hands.

    Ramon Roybal is among the most deadly 3-point shooters, with seemingly limitless range, as he proved with a nearly half-court buzzer beater in the district tournament.

    The inside presences of Troy Hammock, Ivan Balakirev and Michael Naranjo proved capable of matching up with anyone, and Naranjo’s ability to drive toward the basket was an impressive sight to see on a nightly basis.

  • NMSU earns regular season...

    Whatever was said at Friday’s practice worked for first-year Aggie head coach Chris Jans Saturday night as his team pounded UMKC at home 82-58 and claimed the Western Athletic Conference title outright moments after its win when Grand Canyon topped Utah Valley at home.

    The win propelled the Aggies to 24-5 overall on the year and 11-2 mark in conference play. NMSU also captured its third regular-season title in four years. In addition, it was the seventh-straight season New Mexico State has won 23 or more games in a single-season.

    “Anytime you win a championship it’s awesome, but to do it in front of your home crowd and have a crowd like we had tonight is great,” Jans said. “I had no idea what the numbers were, but it looked really good from my perspective where I sit and stand. I’m very happy to have them come out and support these seniors and this team.”

    NMSU looked much more like its old self in the opening five minutes of play in the Pan American, knocking down 5-of-6 from the field – including back-to-back 3-pointers from AJ Harris that gave the Aggies the 14-5 lead.

    A trio of triples from UMKC brought the visitors within 24-16 of the Aggies. Midway through, a quick 7-0 spurt by the NMSU put them on top 33-18 with 6:30 left in the first half.