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  • Boys tennis finishes as state runners-up, girls reach semifinals

     After struggling in the individual portion of the state championships, the Los Alamos High School tennis teams rebounded in the team portion of the competition, with the girls advancing to the semifinals, and the boys going all the way to the championship match. 

    It was an unexpected trip to the semifinals for the girls’ team, which matched last year’s results despite having only one senior on the roster, compared to having nine last year. 

    After earning the No. 5 seed in the team tournament, the Hilltoppers began against No. 4 seed St. Pius X Friday afternoon. In a tight contest, LAHS pulled off the minor upset, defeating the Sartans 5-4 to advance to the semifinals. 

    In the semifinals, the Hilltoppers were simply outmatched against No. 1 seed Farmington, which dominated en route to a 5-0 victory. Farmington went on to defeat Albuquerque Academy in the finals to claim the team championship. 

    For the boys, seeded No. 3, the tournament began easier, as the Hilltoppers took down No. 6 seed Alamogordo 9-0 in the first round, advancing to the semifinals. 

  • School of Gymnastics wins state title

    The Los Alamos School of Gymnastics traveled to the Albuquerque School of Gymnastics last weekend to compete in the New Mexico Xcel State Championships against 11 other New Mexico teams. 

    In the highest level of competition, Diamond Division, Los Alamos won the banner for first place team.  In the second highest division, Platinum, Los Alamos was the second place team and in the Gold division they placed third as a team.

    Four Los Alamos Gymnasts won their age division by taking a gold medal in the all-around competition. Anika Lovato won in the Platinum division with a clean sweep, taking all five gold medals. Her total was 37.50, with her gold medal half twist on, half twist off vault scoring a 9.35.  

    Layla Warner claimed an all-around gold medal for first place in the Gold division competition with 36.45. She also won a gold medal for her 9.325 beam routine. Holly Martinez won an all-around gold medal for first place in the silver division with 37.475.  She also took gold medals in vault  (9.275), beam (9.40), and floor exercise (9.45).  

  • Atomic City Update: More progress needed in the future for LAHS softball program

    Being stuck in neutral is never a good place to be. If you’re driving a car, it means you can’t move forward. If you’re stuck in neutral in your career, it means you aren’t getting ahead or advancing. It is perhaps the worst in sports, where being stuck in neutral means you aren’t experiencing high levels of success, and have no real plan on getting to that point. 

    It’s a problem across all levels of sports. Many professional leagues, like the NBA and MLB, often have many teams “tanking” if they aren’t great, just to get a high draft pick and build success faster. While fans don’t enjoy seeing their favorite basketball team go 10-72, they deal with it if it means they will be returning to the playoffs a few years later. 

    In pro sports, just being average doesn’t cut it anymore. Teams have to be ready to compete for a championship, or appear to be on that path in the near future. Fans don’t want to pay good money to see a team finish 41-41 and get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. 

  • Mistakes cost LAHS at state tourney

    At the state tournament, the lights shine a little brighter. Every big hit draws more applause and every mistake leads to more second-guessing. 

    On Thursday in the first round of the 2018 NMAA State Softball Championships, the Los Alamos High School softball team made far too many mistakes, and did not come up with enough big hits down the stretch as the Hilltoppers fell to Aztec High School 14-7. 

    LAHS head coach Randy Burditt said that he was proud of his team, and that this experience will make them stronger going forward. 

    “They came out hitting just like we wanted them to, and we got up,” Burditt said. “We had a couple throwing errors that opened the door for them.”

    In the early going, the game appeared to be all Hilltoppers. Before starting pitcher Reyna Lucero even took the mound, LAHS was ahead 4-0. Alicia Gonzales led off the game with a line-drive single, and advanced to third base on throwing errors. After Lauren Harris and Katie Wimer drew walks, the bases were loaded for senior catcher Jayde Tucker. 

  • Green leads LAHS girls to third place at state

    Throughout track and field season, Los Alamos sophomore Becca Green stole the show at every meet the Hilltoppers attended with her amazing performances in the shot put and the discus. The state championships last weekend at the University of New Mexico put the exclamation point on her outstanding season, as she won the state championship in the shot put and the discus, easily defeating every opponent. 

    In the shot put, she threw 41 feet-11.5 inches, defeating the second place competitor, Alamogordo’s Daysha Jenkins, by more than 6 feet. It was Green’s best throw of the season, surpassing her previous best of 41 feet-4 inches. 

    She also impressed in the discus, throwing 130 feet-3 inches to claim the state title by more than 6 feet over Alamogordo’s Brooke Payton, who threw 124 feet-7 inches. It was far from Green’s best discus throw of the season, as she came in with a season-best mark of 135 feet-10 inches. 

  • Distance events lead LAHS boys' track to fourth place finish

    For the second year in a row, the Los Alamos High School boy’s track and field team placed in the top four at the state championships, with many athletes putting together impressive results for the Hilltoppers. 

    Nobody was more impressive than junior Elijah Velasquez, who earned an individual state championship in the 800-meter run in unlikely fashion. In the prelims, Velasquez finished with the fourth-fastest time in the event, more than one second slower than the top racer. However, he turned things around in the finals, improving his time by nearly two seconds and winning the championship with a time of 1:56.70, the only Hilltopper boy to win a state championship this year. 

    Overall, the Hilltoppers finished in fourth place at the state championships with 44 points. District 2-5A rival Albuquerque Academy finished as the overall state champions, earning 83 points at the two-day event. Artesia finished in second place with 49 points and Alamogordo finished in third place with 48.5 points. 

  • Girls track wins, boys finish second at 2-5A championships

    It appears that having the home field advantage at the District 2-5A Championships worked out well for the Los Alamos High School track and field teams. At the end of the two-day competition, the girls walked away as the champions and the boys finished in second place. 

    For the girls, Los Alamos won the district championship, earning 167 points across the 19 events. Albuquerque Academy finished in second place with 148 points. Del Norte was third with 71 points, Capital finished fourth with 39 points and Española Valley earned nine points. 

    As has been the case most of the season, Becca Green was a star for the Hilltoppers in the throwing events. In the shot put, she threw 41 feet-4 inches, more than 9 feet further than the second place finisher. In the discus, she threw 130 feet, 35 feet farther than anyone else in the competition. 

    LAHS also dominated in the high jump, as Jazmine Tuning finished in first place and Bailey Yost finished right behind her in second place. 

    The podium of the 300-meter hurdles was full of Hilltoppers, as Preslie Coffey finished first, Yost came in second and Bailee Nasise finished in third place. 

  • Softball hopes to flip the script at state

    For four years in a row, it has been the same story for the Los Alamos High School softball team. Every year since 2014, the Hilltoppers have done enough to get into the state championship playoffs, but have been beaten by double digits in the first round. 

    This year, as the No. 10 seed, LAHS has a chance to reverse that curse as it takes on No. 7 seed Aztec High School on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals. 

    This is the highest the Hilltoppers have been seeded in the tournament in recent memory, after earning the No. 11 seed each of the past two years. 

    All of the games at the 2018 State Softball Championships will be played at a neutral site, beginning at Cleveland High School for the first two rounds. 

    The top four seeds at the tournament receive a bye to the second round, and will play the winners of the four play-in games in the quarterfinals. 

    All of the first round games will be played at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, and the quarterfinals will follow at 12:30 p.m. 

  • Atomic City Update: Adaptive Sports Program helps make dreams come true

    This week, I had the privilege of spending some time with the Adaptive Sports Program of New Mexico as they invited individuals with disabilities from Aspen Elementary School to the YMCA to have some fun at the climbing wall. 

    For many of these kids, having access to the harness chair attached to the wall is the only way they will be able to climb up and experience that type of adrenaline rush, and it is amazing to see them experience that. 

    For more than two hours, those kids got to have an amazing time, either going up the wall in the chair, or on their own with the help of one of the amazing leaders. Douglas Lewis, Jason Cline and Camille Romero were on hand Tuesday morning to help the kids in any way they could. It is clear that this is a life passion for all of them, and they were having just as much fun as the kids were having. 

  • Golf claims fifth straight district championship

    With a dominant showing in the District 2-5A golf championships, the Los Alamos High School boys’ golf team claimed a district championship, and four golfers were named All-District performers. 

    As a team, the Hilltoppers recorded a score of 315 at the championships, defeating second place Albuquerque Academy by 25 strokes. Española Valley followed in third place with a score of 435, Del Norte came in fourth place with a score of 446 and Capital finished in fifth place with a score of 457. 

    This is the fifth consecutive district championship for the Hilltoppers, dating back to 2014.

    After struggling a bit the previous two weeks, Henry Poston bounced back in a big way for LAHS, posting the best score at the event with a 74. His score was five strokes better than the second place finisher, his teammate Jacob Benelli, who scored a 79. The teammates were the only golfers to post scores under 80 for the day. 

    Hilltoppers Sean Rau and Davis Johnson finished tied for fourth place with scores of 81 to round out the team score for LAHS.