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  • Outdoor hockey tourney cut short due to weather

    The University of Nebraska finished with the best record at the Outdoor Nuclear Shootout hockey tournament at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink, but Mother Nature interfered, cutting the event short. 

    The University of New Mexico hosted the event, which included Dallas Baptist University and the University of Northern Arizona. All four of the schools were Division III ACHA teams. 

    Nebraska went 2-0-1 at the event, with its tie coming against UNM. 

    The Corn Huskers were the only undefeated team, with Dallas Baptist going 2-1 and UNM going 1-1-1. 

    Northern Arizona lost each of its three contests. 

    Nebraska and Dallas Baptist, the two teams with the best records across Friday and Saturday, were scheduled to face off Sunday morning in the championship match. 

    But due to heavy snow Los Alamos County received Saturday night into Sunday, the final game was canceled, leaving the final result unknown. 

  • LAHS wrestling wins all four matches at home meet

    In the most competitive non-district home meet of the season, the Los Alamos High School wrestling team showed great potential for the rest of the season, winning every dual match. 

    The Battle for the Hilltop meet saw the Hilltoppers take on Robertson, Ruidoso, St. Michael’s and Tierra Encantada at LAHS. Four other schools, Pecos, Piedra Vista, Pojoaque Valley and Wingate also participated in the meet, but did not face the Hilltoppers. 

    None of the teams fielded an entire roster, which gave the Hilltoppers many forfeit victories. 

    The most competitive dual of the day came against Robertson, with LAHS winning 60-24. 

    Though the Hilltoppers won three matches by forfeit, the team went 7-3 in competitive matches, with wins coming from Roman Ulibarri, Isaiah Maestas, Damian Gonzales, Teke Nieto, Brice Shao, Ty Nieto and Dylan Irish. 

    The Hilltoppers dominated the other three duals, as the team defeated Ruidoso 66-12, St. Michael’s 66-15 and Tierra Encantada 77-0. 

  • LAHS girls’ basketball picks up big win at Capital

    After leading by double digits at halftime, the Los Alamos High Scholl girls’ basketball team held on for a 45-41 win Tuesday night on the road against former district rival Capital. 

    It was the second meeting of the season between the teams. LAHS and Capital met in the second round of the Capitol City Tournament in early December, with the Hilltoppers earning a hard-fought 41-40 victory. 

    Early on in the rematch, it appeared the Hilltoppers would have no trouble pulling away. LAHS jumped out to a quick 13-7 lead, with junior Becca Green scoring the first seven points of the game. 

    She found herself double-teamed near the basket throughout the evening, but was still able to get her shots in the air to create offensive opportunities. 

    When the shots weren’t open for her, she did a good job of distributing the ball to her teammates, as Alex Calderon, Michaela Gonzales and Mattie Ruminer knocked down shots in the opening quarter. 

  • LAHS earns fifth place at Al Salazar Invitational

    In one of the toughest mid-season tournaments in northern New Mexico, the Los Alamos High School wrestling team gained valuable experience and posted some good results, finishing fifth among the 14 competing teams. 

    Cleveland High School won the Al Salazar Invitational in dominant fashion, with more than 30 points more than second place Santa Fe High. LAHS’ District 2-4A rival Taos finished in third place. The event was hosted by St. Michael’s High School.

    Dylan Irish and Damian Gonzales were the standout competitors for the Hilltoppers, both earning second place in their weight brackets. Irish competed in the 182-pound weight class, and Gonzales competed in the 126-pound weight class. 

    Gonzales, who is only a sophomore, has been impressive early in the season. He has a record of 18-5, and has been one of the top point-earners for the team so far. 

    For Irish, a senior, his loss in the finals was only his second loss of the season to this point. He is now 16-2 this year after impressing at the state tournament a year ago. 

    Three other Hilltoppers, Israel Gellis, Ty Nieto and Mateo Martinez, advanced to the semifinals in their weight brackets. 

  • Atomic City Update: College football should aim to be more like high school football

    Recently, there has been much discussion about what to do about the college football playoff system, and what the best way to improve it would be. I don’t know exactly what the best solution is, but I do know something needs to be done. 

    The playoff system is exactly why I have a hard time getting into college football, because it seems like as soon as a team loses a game, the chance of that team getting an opportunity to compete for a championship nearly disappears.  

    I think about it from the point of view of watching so much high school football recently, and so much professional football as long as I can remember. At those levels of competition, one loss in the regular season does not signal the end of the season. A loss offers a chance to learn and grow, and the best teams still rise to the top. 

    In college football, though, one loss makes it almost impossible to win a championship, and two losses completely takes a team out of the running. For some fans, this makes the game more exciting, because they feel like every game matters. For me, it does the exact opposite. Teams are being punished too heavily for having one bad game, and that destroys the excitement of the sport for me. 

  • Ice rink set to re-open today

    After being forced to close this week due to the snow storm, the Los Alamos County Ice Rink will re-open today at 3 p.m. It will be open for public skating from 3-5:30 p.m. 

    Los Alamos County, which operates the rink, has been working hard to remove the snow from the ice surface and the surrounding walkway since 22 inches of snow fell between Monday and Tuesday. 

    In addition to public skating, the rink plays host to various hockey events each week. Next weekend, the rink will host the Outdoor Nuclear Shootout, a college hockey tournament featuring the University of New Mexico, Dallas Baptist, Northern Arizona and Nebraska. 

    The Los Alamos County Ice Rink is the only refrigerated NHL regulation size, outdoor skating rink in New Mexico.

  • County Ice Rink to host Outdoor Nuclear Shootout college hockey tournament

    Los Alamos hockey fans will have a great opportunity to see the game played at a high level next weekend, as four college hockey teams invade the Los Alamos County Ice Rink for the Outdoor Nuclear Shootout. 

    The University of New Mexico, Dallas Baptist University, Nebraska University and Northern Arizona University will take part in the event, which will be played in a round-robin format across three days. 

    Each team will play each other Jan. 11 and 12. The two teams with the best results will face off for the championship on Jan. 13. 

    All four schools are American Collegiate Hockey Association Division III clubs. 

    The idea of this tournament has been developing over the last few years. UNM head coach Grant Harvey originally brought the idea of playing outdoor hockey up to several of the Dallas Baptist players, who were intrigued about playing outdoor hockey at 7,200 feet of elevation. 

    The Lobos and Dallas Baptist played an exhibition game last season at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink, in between a two-game regular season series in Albuquerque. 

    The event was a big success, leading the teams to expand the idea this season. 

  • Girls’ basketball splits key weekend set

    In the final games before the holiday break, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team split a pair of home matchups against top southern programs, Roswell and Artesia.

    Friday night against Roswell, the Hilltoppers dominated the early part of the game, but fell apart late, losing in overtime 65-64. Saturday afternoon, the Hilltoppers bounced back with a solid effort against Artesia, winning 63-58.

    The game against Roswell started great for the Hilltoppers, as the offense exploded for 23 points in the first quarter to go up 23-10.

    LAHS’ forwards were able to get to the basket on nearly every possession because of the team’s height advantage. Becca Green struggled to convert on her opportunities, but Natalie Gallegos and Mattie Ruminer dominated.

    Gallegos had 7 points in the quarter, and Ruminer added 5 points. Jenee Montoya also knocked down a 3-point basket.

    LAHS remained steady through the second and third quarters, and went into the fourth quarter with a 48-39 lead. That’s when Roswell’s offense woke up and turned the entire game around.

    The Coyotes outscored the Hilltoppers 16-7 in the fourth quarter, and had the lead late before LAHS was able to even the score, sending the game into overtime. Roswell was aided by the fact Green and Hannah Sanchez fouled out in the second half.

  • Volleyball players earn all-district honors

    After an outstanding finish to the regular season, several members of the Los Alamos High School volleyball team earned all-district accolades.

    LAHS junior Natalie Gallegos was named the District 2-4A player of the year, while head coach Joe Palmer was named the district coach of the year. In addition, Gallegos, Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez were named first-team all-district performers.

    The Hilltoppers enjoyed an outstanding turnaround this season. When Palmer took over in mid-September, the team got on a roll and won the District 2-4A regular season and tournament championships, defeating Pojoaque Valley for both titles.

    LAHS advanced to the state tournament, where the team was defeated by Hope Christian in the Round of 12.
    Gallegos led the Hilltoppers with 244 kills, and added 107 blocks, one of the top totals in the state. She recorded a kill on more than 36 percent of her attacks, and was among the most reliable players on the court at all times.

    Just a junior, she stepped into a leadership role this season and acted as a captain. She got stronger as the season moved along, and came up with some of her best performances in the district championship game, and at the state tournament.

  • Atomic City Update: Referees and officials help high school sports thrive

    In the spirit of the holiday season, I would like to acknowledge the officials and referees, without whom none of us could enjoy high school athletics throughout the school year. They are a group of people that rarely receive any kind of acknowledgement or appreciation, and that is really unfortunate.

    Ever since I arrived in New Mexico, I have enjoyed numerous great conversations with officials and referees at all kinds of sporting events, and have found them to be among the friendliest people in all of sports.

    But anytime I hear fans or players talking about the officials, it always seems to be negative. In a way, that comes with the territory. It doesn’t seem to matter what level of sports you are watching, the officials are always made out to be the bad guys.

    They are the easiest people to make into scapegoats. It’s that way in the NBA, the NFL and Major League Baseball. It is said that the best compliment to give a referee is to not notice they are even on the field.