• LAHS volleyball wins district tournament

    After winning the regular season district championship last week, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team added another trophy to the collection Saturday night. In the finals of the district volleyball tournament, the Hilltoppers defeated Pojoaque Valley 3-0 to claim the title and head into this week’s state tournament with all kinds of momentum. 

    Until the final game of the regular season, Pojoaque Valley was considered the top team in District 2-4A volleyball. After defeating the Elkettes twice in ten days, that title now belongs to the Hilltoppers. 

    Though having more than a week between games could have been an issue for LAHS heading into the district championship game, that was not the case. After quickly falling behind 8-3 in the first set, the Hilltoppers recovered and quickly got back into the contest. 

    Led by the strong serving of Gracie Swenson, and the strong attacking and blocking of Sophia Salazar and Natalie Gallegos, LAHS took control of the set, winning 25-23 to go up 1-0. 

  • Hilltopper XC girls finish in second place

    Following a tight battle against Albuquerque Academy all season, the Los Alamos High School cross country team finished in second place at the state meet. 

    Academy won the meet 31-47, as the Chargers placed four runners inside the top 10 overall. 

    Norissa Valdez concluded her outstanding freshman season with a runner-up finish at the state meet, finishing with a time of 19:07. Also finishing in the top 10 was eighth grader Emma Montoya, who finished with a time of 19:45 in her first year at the state meet. 

    Mabel Pyle also had an outstanding meet, finishing with a time of 20:08, which was good for an 11th place finish. 

    Lidia Appell, who was LAHS’ top runner at the state meet a year ago, finished in 12th place overall with a time of 20:11. 

    Rounding out the scoring for LAHS was senior Marin Kelly, who finished in 14th place overall with a time of 20:14. 

    Though the Hilltoppers finished in second place for the third consecutive year, there are plenty of reasons to believe that LAHS is on the way back up. The team’s core of runners is young, and head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood believe they can only get better moving forward. 

  • Boys’ cross country earns state championship

    For the first time in four years, the Los Alamos High School cross country boys are back on top of the mountain. Saturday in Rio Rancho, the Hilltoppers narrowly won the state championship over Albuquerque Academy 42-49, earning LAHS its seventh title. 

    Nothing about the journey to the championship was easy, starting all the way back in June. Due to fire restrictions in Los Alamos County, all of the trails the team would normally use to train were closed, forcing them into new workouts and training regimens. 

    “We had to get really creative, and both groups, boys and girls, were all in,” said Kathy Hipwood, who coaches the Hilltoppers along with her husband Rob. 

    Despite the adversity, the boys were committed to becoming as good as possible. In 2016 and 2017, the Hilltoppers finished in third place at state. Though that would be considered a success at most schools, LAHS is different. Prior to those third place finishes, the Hilltoppers had finished no lower than second place at the state meet since 1997. 

  • Boys’ soccer players named to all-district teams

    After finishing the season as the Class 4A runner-up, the Los Alamos High School boys’ soccer team brought home a lot of hardware, as All-District awards were announced Monday. 

    Seven players were named to the first-team All-District list, while an additional four players were named to lower level lists. 

    On the first-team list were Arthur Steinkamp, Aiden Semelsberger, Jesse Prime, Jacob Majors, Dakota Duran and Jared Carnes. 

    Steinkamp finished the season with a state-high 43 goals and 12 assists, scoring 98 total points. He was extremely efficient all season, scoring on 37 percent of his shots. He finishes his career with 90 goals and 24 assists in 84 games for the Hilltoppers. 

    In his first year with the Hilltoppers, Semelsberger scored 19 goals and dished out 27 assists, accounting for 65 total points. He dazzled with his ball-handling abilities as only a sophomore. 

    Semelsberger and Steinkamp shared Player of the Year honors in the district because of the great combination they formed on the pitch. 

  • Atomic City Update: Rivalry with Albuquerque Academy is good for LAHS

    A good rivalry can make any sport more exciting. Baseball has the Red Sox and the Yankees. Football has the Packers and the Bears. Basketball has the Lakers and the Celtics. In New Mexico high school sports, one of the best rivalries is between Los Alamos and Albuquerque Academy. Last week, the rivalry was back in the spotlight and it delivered the type of heart-stopping action that fans of both teams have come to expect over the last few years. 

    Every fall, this rivalry comes back to the front of everyone’s mind, as the two schools battle for state championships in soccer and cross country. More often than not, it comes down to a head-to-head matchup to determine state supremacy. 

    That’s how it was again this year, as Academy took home both soccer state championships and the girls’ cross country title, and the Hilltoppers took home the championship in boys’ cross country. 

    Over the past few years, Academy has had the upper hand, keeping LAHS away from state championships in both sports in 2016 and 2017. In fact, if it feels like Hilltopper soccer seasons almost always end at the hands of the Chargers, you are right. 

  • Girls’ soccer players rewarded for outstanding season

    All season, the Los Alamos High School girls’ soccer team was defined by its depth. It allowed the team to keep fresh players on the field at all times, and allowed the team to have a lot of weapons at the forward position and on defense. That depth led the team all the way to the state semifinals, where LAHS came up just short against Albuquerque Academy in double overtime. 

    This week, when the all-district teams were announced, the Hilltoppers were rewarded for the depth and the outstanding season that it created. The team landed seven players on the first-team all-district list and two others on lower lists. 

    Landing on the first-team all-district team were Alix Hailey, Alyssa Parker, Katie Hopkins, Alissia Haagenstad, Vianey Terrazas, Valeri Li and Shelly Doyle. 

    Hailey was the leader for the Hilltoppers offensively, and proved to be one of the most dangerous players in the state. She finished the season with 26 goals and 16 assists, and created numerous chances every game. She finishes her Hilltopper career with 58 goals and 47 assists, playing on the varsity team all four of her high school years. 

    While Hailey was the offensive leader, Terrazas was the leader of the defense for the Hilltoppers. 

  • Volleyball comes up short at state tournament

    When the Los Alamos High School volleyball team looks back on its performance in the 2018 state championship tournament, it will see plenty of missed opportunities. 

    After rolling through district play to earn the No. 5 seed in the Class 4A tournament, the Hilltoppers struggled to close out opponents. In every set played last week, LAHS had a lead, yet went home empty handed in the Round of 12 as the last five points of every set proved to be hard to come by. 

    In pool play, which took place Thursday, LAHS was matched up against No. 4 seed Goddard and No. 9 seed Los Lunas. Both teams had plenty of talent, and were tough to score on. After the two teams split their match, the Hilltoppers took on Los Lunas hoping to gain the edge in the pool. 

    For most of the first set, LAHS looked like the stronger team thanks to the attacking skills of Natalie Gallegos, Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez. The Hilltoppers took a big lead in the set, and led 21-17 late. That’s when the Tigers made an impressive comeback, and the Hilltoppers had trouble responding. 

  • Hockey splits first home series with Amarillo

     In the first home series of the year, the Los Alamos High School hockey team earned a split against the Amarillo Big Texans, including an impressive 5-0 win Saturday morning.

    Though hockey season officially began earlier this month, this was the first set of games featuring the full Hilltopper lineup. Many of the team’s top players were missing during the beginning of the season due to commitments to other sports. 

    For example, Jared Carnes was still playing for the Hilltopper soccer team and Jacob Dunwoody was still paying for the LAHS football team. 

    In their first weekend in the lineup, though, both of them made their presence known. Dunwoody has proven to be one of the team’s best puck handlers and goal scorers, while Carnes is an effective physical forward, who also has the ability to score. 

    Even with them in the lineup, though, it was freshman Conner Cook, in his first year on the team that really stole the show. Friday night, in a 2-1 loss, Cook scored the only Hilltopper goal in the second period that temporarily put his team on top 1-0. 

  • Atomic City Update: LAHS winter sports have a tough act to follow

    Just as one sports season comes to a close, another is ready to take over and kick into high gear. The fall sports season at Los Alamos High School proved to be extremely successful, as five of the school’s six teams competed for state championships, and one team, boys’ cross country, took home the blue trophy for the championship. 

    It really is amazing to me to see how successful the athletes at LAHS are, and it makes me even more excited to watch the basketball, wrestling, swimming and hockey teams step into the spotlight. 

    I don’t know if all of those teams will be as successful as the fall sports, where the Hilltoppers normally dominate. 

    But I think the teams are capable of exciting moments and could take this community on an exciting ride into early March. 

    There are plenty of things to be excited about as the winter sports get underway. The top thing that I am looking forward to seeing is how the girls’ basketball team develops under new head coach Lanse Carter. 

    Last year, it was obvious that many of the girls on the team were talented, and showed flashes of brilliance. 

  • Steinkamp earns player of the year honors

    Following an outstanding senior season, Arthur Steinkamp was named New Mexico’s Player of the Year in Class 4A, and was also named a first-team all-state performer. In total four Hilltopper boys and three Hilltopper girls made the first-team all-state list, while boys’ head coach Ron Blue was named the Coach of the Year. 

    Steinkamp finished the season with the most goals in the state of any boy, regardless of class. 

    He scored 43 goals and dished out 12 assists, accounting for 96 total points. 

    He scored more than 90 goals in his Hilltopper career, and increased his goal output every year. 

    The other boys named to the first-team all-state list were sophomore forward Aiden Semelsberger, senior midfielder Jared Carnes and senior defender Jesse Prime. 

    Semelsberger excelled in his first year with the Hilltoppers, while Carnes and Prime were excellent on the field, and also did well in leadership roles, as they acted as captains along with Steinkamp. 

    Junior goalkeeper Jacob Majors and junior forward Dakota Duran made it onto the second-team all-state list after outstanding seasons. Both will return to the Hilltoppers in prominent roles next year.