• Little League all-star season begins this weekend

    Little League All-Star season gets underway this weekend, and Los Alamos will be well represented. Los Alamos County has five All-Star teams registered to compete. There will be two softball teams and three baseball teams hoping to be crowned champions by the end of July. 

    The All-Star season is a reward for the top players during the regular season. Teams compete from the beginning of April until the beginning of June, then all the teams from various age groups get consolidated into one team that represent the county at the district and state levels. 

    In softball, Los Alamos County will have an 8- to 10-year-old team that will be coached by Hope Jaramillo, Jordan Jaramillo and Bud Reed. Danielle Bergemann, Linda Johnson and Chris Young will coach the 10- to 12- year-old team. 

    The district tournaments for softball begin Saturday at the Alto Fields in Santa Fe, and run through Wednesday. If the teams advance past the district competition, the state tournament for the 8-10 girls will be July 5-9 in Silver City. The state tournament for the 10-12 team will be July 12-19 in Albuquerque. 

  • LAHS stars help Northeast All-Stars win tourney

    With only 12 spots available, having one player selected to an all-star volleyball game is a big accomplishment for a program. This year, though, Los Alamos High School had two girls selected to the Northeast Large School All-Star Team, which competed last weekend in Albuquerque. 

    Recent Hilltopper graduates Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez were among the lucky few chosen to compete for the team, which won the tournament against other teams of top players from around the state. The tournament was organized by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.

    The Northeast All-Stars took down the Southeast All-Stars in straight sets in the first game of the tournament Friday night. After winning the first set 25-17, the Northeast All-Stars got on a roll and dominated the next two sets 25-8 and 25-10 to advance to the championship match. 

    In the championship match against the Northwest All-Stars, it was a tight battle from start to finish. But the Northeast had just enough firepower to earn the victory in five sets to earn first place. 

  • Atomic City Update: LA native’s chance to play pro baseball finally arrives

    After years of being seen as one of the top baseball prospects in New Mexico, I am so glad to see Jared Mang get his opportunity to play professional baseball. This week, he was drafted in the 18th round of the MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers, allowing him to fulfill a lifelong dream. 

    Mang, who played his high school baseball at Los Alamos High School, is one of the greatest guys off the field that you will ever meet, and he backs it up with his play on the field. 

    Coming out of LAHS, it was assumed that he would either be drafted right out of high school, or that he would be picked high after his sophomore season. 

    However, until now that opportunity has not presented itself. After not being drafted immediately after high school, he excelled his first two years at the University of New Mexico, becoming a full-time starter in the outfield almost right away.

    He batted .291 as a freshman while showing occasional extra-base power, and playing great defense. 

    The following season, he took his game to the next level, batting .373 with nine home runs and 62 RBI’s. He also made only one error in the outfield and was named to the All-Mountain West team. 

  • New LAHS basketball coach ready to ‘surprise a lot of people’

    For more than a decade, Benito Maestas has made a career out of bringing struggling basketball programs back to life. Now, as he prepares to take over the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team, he faces one of his toughest challenges yet. 

    Maestas inherits a team that went just 9-20 last season, and has won only two regular season district games in the past two seasons combined. That’s not intimidating for him, though.

    “I think we are going to surprise a lot of people this year,” Maestas said. 

    He thinks the key to turning the program around is getting the players to believe in themselves and believe in the coaching staff. 

    “If we can get the kids to buy in, and I think they are already starting to do that, then the sky is the limit,” Maestas said. 

    If anyone knows what it takes to be a successful basketball player, it is Maestas. He began playing basketball at the age of 5 and fell in love immediately. 

    “I was always outside playing until my mom would call me inside, when it was already dark outside,” Maestas said. “Whether it was snowing, raining, whatever, I just loved playing.”

  • Knights of Columbus golf tourney set for June 22

    The local council of the Knights of Columbus will be hosting its annual golf tournament June 22 at Los Alamos Golf Course.

    The 20th annual Knights of Columbus Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament is a four-person team scramble. 

    In addition to course play, there were be Las Vegas-themed on-course games and mulligans available for purchase.

    Play begins at 1 p.m.

    Price for participation is $100 per player, which includes greens fees, golf cart (usage is mandatory for this tournament), range balls and post-tournament dinner at Cottonwood on the Greens. 

    There are discounts for LAGC pass holders, as well as members of Los Alamos Fire Department and Los Alamos Police Department.

    Registration closes June 20. Tax-deductible hole sponsorships are still available for the tournament.

    All proceeds from the tournament go toward the Knights of Columbus scholarship fund—scholarships are awarded yearly to deserving Los Alamos High School students.

    For more information on the tournament, call Roger Anaya at 670-6717 or the LAGC at 662-8139.

  • LAHS softball stars compete with top players in New Mexico

    Recent Los Alamos High School graduates Alicia Gonzales and Janessa Gonzales competed earlier this week in the New Mexico High School Coaches Association softball all-star games in Rio Rancho. 

    Both girls competed for the Northeast Large School Softball team. 

    The team played one game on Monday, and two more games on Tuesday against the other large school all-star teams from around the state. 

    The rosters were made up of 12 girls apiece, many of whom competed against each other during the regular season. 

    Española Valley’s Haley Ortega made the team as well, along with Rianna Arellano and Hallie Vigil from Pojoaque Valley. 

    Alicia Gonzales started the game in right field, and both LAHS participants were in the starting lineup. 

    Janessa Gonzales played the fourth inning in right field and made a fantastic diving catch to end the inning. It was her first action in the outfield all season, as she played behind the plate for the Hilltoppers this past season. She moved behind the plate to catch the fifth inning. 

  • YMCA Annual Golf Classic set for next week

    Next Friday, players will tee off at the YMCA’s Annual Golf Classic at the Los Alamos County Golf Course, which acts as a fundraiser for financial assistance for people around the community. 

    Each year, the YMCA provides assistance to 300 people, 200 of which are youth in the community. The organization’s goal is to help as many people as possible to participate in YMCA programs. 

    Early bird registration for $85 runs through Thursday. Those who sign up the day of the event will pay $95. 

    That price pays for entry into the tournament, a team golf cart and lunch after the tournament. There is also a $25 donation to charity included. 

    Following the event, net and gross score winners will be announced, hole prizes will be given out and there will be a raffle drawing. 

    Players should begin checking in at 8 a.m., with a welcome to follow at 8:45 a.m. The tournament will officially begin at 9 a.m. 

    The prize ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m., with lunch to follow at the Bathtub Row Brewery provided by Smokin’ Bear BBQ. 

  • Hailey and Steinkamp named LAHS athletes of the year

    The Los Alamos Sports Association handed out its annual Athlete of the Year awards earlier this week at the Senior Recognition ceremony. This year’s recipients were Arthur Steinkamp and Alix Hailey, two of Los Alamos High School’s top athletes throughout their high school careers. 

    The award comes with a $150 scholarship, as well as an engraved plaque and a t-shirt. 

    Steinkamp was a dynamic two-sport athlete throughout his high school career. In soccer, he dominated nearly every opponent with is goal-scoring and playmaking abilities. He finished his career with a total of 90 goals, 43 of which came during his senior season. 

    This past season, he finished as the player of the year in Class 4A, and was also player of the year in District 2-4A in his junior and senior seasons. He was a first-team all-district performer three years in a row, and this year led the Hilltoppers to the state championship game as a captain. 

  • Atomic City Update: Hilltopper athletes rewarded with spots on all-star teams

    All year, I have been aware of how great some of the individual athletes are at Los Alamos High School and now it’s great to see people around the state acknowledging that as well. 

    Two athletes apiece from the volleyball, softball and baseball teams were named All Stars this week by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association. This is one of the top honors a high school senior athlete can earn in this state, and it allows them a chance to play in the all-star games over the next couple of weeks. 

    The players chosen for these honors are Arthur Steinkamp and Antonio Gonzales from the baseball team, Alicia Gonzales and Janessa Gonzales from the softball team and Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez from the volleyball team. 

    These honors are more special than even all-state honors because with the all-star teams, you are competing against all the other student athletes from big schools around the northern part of the state for very few spots. 

  • Atomic City Update: LAHS baseball has plenty of reasons to be proud

    In my opinion, there is no game greater than baseball. I find the strategy of the game fascinating, and I enjoy nothing more than second-guessing every decision made on the baseball diamond. That’s why I enjoyed last weekend’s playoff series between Los Alamos High School and Los Lunas so much. There were constant decisions being made, and the product on the field was outstanding. 

    Yes, the Hilltoppers lost the series, 2-1, but if the players had to lose, this was a pretty good way to go out. 

    There will be plenty of time and opportunities to lament what went wrong for LAHS, and why a seemingly great season came to such an abrupt end. But that’s not my goal. I want to celebrate the great performances, and congratulate the team on fighting hard to the very last out. 

    That starts with Arthur Steinkamp, who delivered one of the best pitching performances I have seen at this level. With his team trailing the series 1-0, Steinkamp pitched seven shutout innings to keep the Hilltopper season alive.