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Today's Sports

  • Lobos open NCAA tourney on Friday

    ALBUQUERQUE — The past is the past, according to the University of New Mexico Lobos men's basketball team.
    And the Lobos are hoping their recent history at the NCAA tournament stays in the past.
    The Lobos will take on Stanford Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
    UNM got the No. 7 seed for this year's tournament and will play the 10th-seeded Stanford Cardinal in the South Regional. The winner of Friday's game will meet, very likely, the second seed in the regional, the Kansas Jayhawks.
    For all UNM's success over the years, the Lobos haven't had much success in their history at the tournament. UNM has never escaped the second round since the tournament went to the current 64-team main bracket.
    While that's in the backs of many of the Lobos' minds, the team is trying to downplay both that fact and last year's upset loss.

  • Kluk named permanent boys coach

    Mike Kluk has at least one advantage over most coaches taking over a basketball program: the chance to warm up.
    Kluk was named the full-time head coach of Los Alamos’ boys basketball program Wednesday morning, getting the “interim” tag dropped from his title from last season.
    In January, Los Alamos head coach Fil Dominguez left the program abruptly, citing family reasons and the health of his wife. With Dominguez’s departure, Kluk was installed and coached throughout the Hilltoppers’ District 2-4A season.
    Now, as the head coach for the entire 2014-15 season, Kluk said he’s ready for the challenge.
    “I don’t think we’re going to change a whole lot,” he said. “We’ve got two assistant coaches who have said they’re coming back, so the coaching staff’s not going to change much. With that, I can feel better about it, so let’s start getting ready.”
    Los Alamos won just two games in 26 outings last season, with Dominguez earning one of those wins and Kluk the other. That win came early in district play when the Hilltoppers upset the Capital Jaguars 40-38 Jan. 31 at home.

  • Aztecs wary of Aggies, Bhullar

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Steve Fisher cut down the final net in the NCAA tournament 25 years ago and reached two other national championship games, so he knows about playing deep into March.
    He’d like to think his fourth-seeded San Diego State Aztecs can advance beyond the opening weekend this year. To have that chance, the defensive-minded Aztecs first will have to get past an intriguing matchup Thursday night in Spokane against 13th-seeded New Mexico State and its big, big man, 7-foot-5, 355-pound center Sim Bhullar.
    Aztecs forward Winston Shepard recalls beating Bhullar in high school.
    “All I can really remember is we had a triple team on him and we still got dunked on,” Shepard said Monday.
    Have the Aztecs ever played against someone that big?
    “No, I don’t think anybody in America has,” said Fisher, who has the Aztecs in the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year and seventh time overall since taking over SDSU’s previously sad-sack program starting with the 1999-2000 season. “He’s a big, big man. Everything about him is so much better than it was a year ago. I believe he’s only a sophomore. He will be someone who will make it difficult on us like he has on everybody he’s played this year.”

  • Fill out a billion dollar bracket

    NEW YORK (AP) — So, about that billion dollars.
    Warren Buffett looks at his offer to pay $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket as nothing more than a matter of having the numbers in his favor.
    Mathematicians say he’s right. That’s still not stopping them from building a cottage industry by teaching bracket-fillers how to make the impossible seem possible — or a little less improbable.
    Around a half-dozen college professors are offering special classes to teach people the ins and outs of the numbers that will, inevitably, work against them. And there’s one website — takebuffettsbillion.com — that says it will send a unique, statistician-crunched bracket to anyone who signs up, with the promise that all those in on the gig will split the money if one of those brackets is the winner. (As of Monday, about 9,000 people had signed up.)
    “I’d love to demystify all this,” said DePaul math professor Jeff Bergen, whose expertise has been in demand this month. “The math involved is quite simple and can be done in a high school class. What blows people away is the magnitude of the numbers. You look at the number ‘9 quintillion’ and it’s hard to wrap your head around it.”

  • Kirk makes it through...

    ALBUQUERQUE — It’s been an interesting ride from the get-go. And, despite the ups and downs, Alex Kirk would scarcely have it any other way.
    Kirk, the 7-foot center for the University of New Mexico Lobos, will embark on his third appearance in the NCAA tournament starting Friday when the seventh-seeded Lobos meet the 10th-seeded Stanford Cardinal in the opening round.
    To say the least, it’s been an eventful 12 months for the Lobos, and for Kirk.
    Kirk was the standout center playing for Los Alamos High School, who graduated in 2010 and went on to play for UNM.
    Now, as a junior — in terms of athletic eligibility, at least, as he finished up his undergraduate student work already — Kirk has rode the wave of a big 2013-14 season at UNM.
    This season, which saw the Lobos go 27-6 and win their third consecutive Mountain West tournament championship, could’ve gone a number of different ways, and no one is more aware of that than the UNM big man.
    Last March, right before the NCAA tournament and right after he agreed to terms on a hefty, 10-year contract with the school, Steve Alford left UNM to take over UCLA. That move, along with the implosion that was the Lobos’ first round loss to Harvard after earning a No. 3 seed, could’ve sent the program into a tailspin.

  • Kluk's interim tag removed

    Los Alamos High School announced this morning that Mike Kluk has been hired as the regular head coach of the boys basketball team.
    Kluk was installed as the interim coach of the boys in January, following the sudden departure of Fil Dominguez. This morning, the interim tag was removed from Kluk's job description.
    More information on Kluk's hire will be in Thursday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Saunders, 'Toppers nip...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team picked up its second big win in a row, and again did so by the slimmest of margins.
    The Hilltoppers nipped the Los Lunas Tigers on the road Tuesday afternoon. Lane Saunders pitched a gem for five innings, keeping a solid Tiger offense at bay as the Hilltoppers earned a 2-1 victory in Los Lunas.
    Saunders allowed just two hits in his five innings of work. Connor Mang threw the sixth and the seventh to earn the save.
    To get through his five innings, the left-handed Saunders needed a total of just 58 pitches. He was aided in his quest by the Los Alamos defense, which was shaky last week in a game against Albuquerque Academy but rock solid Tuesday, turning a pair of double plays behind him.
    “It was just good pitching and great defense,” Los Alamos manager Mike Gill said after the game. “The defense was spot-on today. (Saunders) had pretty good control of his fastball today. They’re an aggressive swinging team but we got a lot of ground balls and a lot of fly balls.”
    The Tigers (7-5) and Hilltoppers met twice last season and the Hilltoppers took it on the chin in both those contests, dropping them by identical scores of 15-2.

  • LA softball powers past Elkettes

    A big start and a big finish helped put Tuesday’s game away early for the Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team.
    Los Alamos scored seven runs in the first two innings of its contest against the Pojoaque Valley Elkettes, then exploded for five runs in the home half of the fifth to win 13-3 in a mercy-rule shortened game at Overlook Park.
    Hilltopper reserve third baseman Madeline Lockhart lined a triple into right field with the bases juiced in the fifth inning to set Los Alamos up for the winning scores at the end of the contest. Lockhart and Krysta Salazar would come in to score later in the inning to finish off the Elkettes.
    “We’re making good contact,” Hilltopper manager Roger Anaya said. “Today we obviously hit the ball well.”
    Just one game after the Hilltoppers pounded out 18 hits, 9 of those going for extra bases, in a win over Moriarty, the Hilltoppers slugged out six extra-base hits, at least one in every inning but the third, the only inning they didn’t score.
    Los Alamos (3-4) jumped on Pojoaque Valley starting pitcher Angelica Romero early, getting a pair of doubles from Aletta Marciano, hitting out of the 3-hole, and Hannah Mojica in the 5-spot.

  • Lobos, Aggies both heading to...

    The University of New Mexico Lobos knocked off the San Diego State Aztecs in the final round of the Mountain West tournament.
    San Diego State still managed to get into the NCAA tournament with an at-large big, but if the Aztecs thought they were done with the state of New Mexico for awhile, they were wrong.
    The Aztecs, the No. 4 seed in the West Region of the NCAA tournament, will face the 13th-seeded New Mexico State Aggies.
    The Aztecs and the Aggies will play Thursday evening, following the conclusion of the Oklahoma-North Dakota State game at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time.
    San Diego State nipped UNM for the regular season Mountain West championship, but UNM topped San Diego State in the final round of the MW tournament Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev.
    Cameron Bairstow had 17 points and 9 rebounds, while former Hilltopper Alex Kirk finished with 8 points and 11 rebounds as UNM tripped up San Diego State 64-58.
    Despite two wins on the year in three chances against the Aztecs, who polled as high as No. 5 this season, as well as finishing with a 27-6 record, the Lobos were only awarded a No. 7 seed. They are matched up with 10th-seeded Stanford in the South Region and will play at 11:40 a.m. Friday.

  • Logan, Veenis are 2-4A first...

    To the winners go the spoils. To the third-place finishers goes not much.
    There wasn’t much hardware handed out to the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team in the way of postseason honors by District 2-4A. Los Alamos earned just one first team nod and two second team nods for the year.
    The All 2-4A selections were announced Monday.
    Point guard Amber Logan was the only Hilltopper to make the first team for 2013-14. Along with Logan, forward Kiana Zerr and shooting guard McKenzie Logan were named to the second team.
    Los Alamos, which made the Class 4A playoffs, was awarded just one more 2-4A postseason honor than Capital, which didn’t win one game last season.
    The Santa Fe Demons, who won the 4A championship, picked up both the Most Valuable Player Award, for Kayla Herrera, and Coach of the Year for Elmer Chavez.
    Los Alamos’ boys, who won only two games last season, had two selections. Shooting guard Skyler Veenis was named to the first team All-District, while point guard Franklin Archuleta picked up a second team award.

    Girls

    First team