• Volleyball drops second straight road game

    Despite playing well for much of the match, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team struggled to close out sets against Santa Fe High and fell Thursday night 3-1. 

    The Hilltoppers entered the match hoping to rebound after a loss earlier this week against St. Michael’s, and got off to a much better start against a tough Demonettes team. 

    After falling behind 11-6 in the first set, LAHS quickly rebounded to take a 14-13 lead on an ace serve by Elodie Thelliez. The Hilltoppers were unable to extend that lead, however, as Santa Fe quickly gained control again. Though Thelliez, Gracie Swenson and Elise Olivas picked up big points at the end of the set, the Hilltoppers fell behind 1-0 with a 25-20 loss. 

    The second set was the best of the night for LAHS, but it was far from perfect. After taking a 12-10 lead on a kill by Gabriella Duran, the Hilltoppers were outscored 10-1 over the next 11 points, and fell behind 19-13. That’s when the team picked up its energy, as Natalie Gallegos picked up a powerful kill and Kyla Sandoval followed with an impressive ace serve to cut the deficit to 19-16. 

  • Atomic City Update: LAHS coaches create great sense of community

    During the opening weekend of fall sports at Los Alamos High School, several things made me smile and proud to be a part of this community. All of the teams were victorious, the crowds were loud and supportive and the atmosphere was exhilarating. 

    However, the thing that made me happier than anything was seeing coaches of other sports supporting the fall sports along with the rest of the fans. 

    I arrived at the LAHS volleyball game on Saturday about an hour before the varsity team took the court. I watched the JV game in its entirety and was impressed at how many other people arrived early to watch the young players. 

    Lanse Carter, the new girls’ basketball coach at LAHS, arrived and sat right next to me at the media table in the middle of the bleachers. He sat there for the entire varsity match, taking time to talk to some of the fans while cheering for the Hilltoppers. 

    After the match ended, we were talking and he said that at his previous schools, he had not spent much time watching volleyball, but felt that it was important to make a good first impression at LAHS and that he enjoyed watching the team. 

  • LAHS earns fourth place at Cernicek tourney

    For the first time in four years, the first place trophy for the Louie Cernicek Memorial Tournament does not belong to the Los Alamos High School boys’ soccer team. 

    After winning its opening match Friday morning 5-1 over Los Lunas, the team could not keep the momentum rolling into Saturday. LAHS played the first match of the day Saturday morning against Clovis, falling 2-0. Then, in the third place match, the Hilltoppers fell again, this time 3-2 against Roswell to earn fourth place at the tournament. 

    It was clear early in the game against Clovis that offensive opportunities would be hard to come by. The forward combination of Arthur Steinkamp and Aiden Semelsberger had a difficult time getting through the defense of Clovis, and every attempted pass over the top of the defense was quickly cleared away. 

    Things became even more difficult seven minutes into the game, as Clovis’ Elias Ortega found the back of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead. 

  • Cross country impresses at UNM Invitational

    Both cross country teams started the season strong at the UNM Invitational last weekend in Albuquerque, as the girls finished second and the boys finished third despite tough weather conditions. 

    The start of the race was delayed by lightning, which forced the event schedule to shift, and rain continued on and off throughout the morning, making the course more challenging than normal. 

    However, the conditions didn’t keep anyone from having a strong meet. The varsity boys raced first, and ended with a third place finish, behind only Albuquerque Academy and El Paso Americas, a school from Texas. 

    Steven Strevell went to the front immediately, fell back a little in the middle, and came back for an incredibly strong second place finish to last year’s state best Kashon Harrison of Kirtland Central. Duncan Fuehne also ran aggressively and fought hard throughout for a seventh place finish.

    Head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood were impressed with the performance of both runners. 

    “Those two really emerged on the scene last track season and were ready to start where they left off,” Kathy Hipwood said. 

  • Volleyball earns big win in home opener

    In 2017, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team won only one time inside Griffith Gymnasium. The team has already matched that total in 2018, with a season-opening 3-0 win against Bloomfield Saturday. 

    From start to finish, the Hilltoppers looked more confident and more skilled. The team is more skilled at every position, and players know their responsibilities, executing at nearly every opportunity. 

    In the first set, LAHS was aggressive from the start, with forceful attacks and accurate serves. The team jumped out to a quick 13-3 lead, forcing a timeout from Bloomfield head coach Sunni Corley. 

    However, the timeout did little to stop the Hilltoppers’ momentum, as the team continued to roll, winning the first set 25-8. 

    Senior Sophia Salazar had four kills in the opening set, and junior Natalie Gallegos also added four. 

    Bloomfield kept the second set close in the beginning, tying the set 13-13 at one point. However, after that point, the Hilltoppers scored five consecutive points, forcing another timeout from Bloomfield. 

    Gallegos and Salazar took over after the timeout, combining for six kills to close out the set for a 25-16 victory, taking a 2-0 set lead. 

  • Girls’ soccer dominates against Santa Fe Prep

    Last year, the Santa Fe Prep girls’ soccer team did not lose a regular season game, going 14-0-1 until the state tournament. This year, the Los Alamos High School girls’ soccer team made sure that would not be the case again, defeating the Blue Griffins 3-0 at Sullivan Field to begin the season. 

    LAHS has loaded its non-district schedule with talented teams this season, determined to prepare as well as possible for the state tournament in early November. 

    If this game was meant to be an early season test of how the Hilltoppers are doing, the team passed with flying colors. From the opening whistle, the experienced Hilltoppers maintained possession with ease, constantly moving the action toward the Blue Griffins’ goal. 

    LAHS’ ability to set the pace of the game with its midfield players was impressive, and the forwards of the Hilltoppers repeatedly kept the ball away from Santa Fe Prep defenders as they advanced on goal. 

    After narrowly missing on several opportunities in the opening minutes, senior Katie Hopkins got the Hilltoppers on the board in the 19th minute with a shot from 20 feet away, giving LAHS a 1-0 lead. 

  • LAHS football runs past Española

    Heading into this season, Los Alamos High School running back Cade Yost expressed a desire to become a leader for the younger players on his team, and always lead by example. 

    In Friday night’s season-opening 57-12 win over Española Valley, Yost did just that. He scored five times and proved impossible for the Sundevils to stop even when they knew the ball would go to him. 

    Though it was the skill players who made a great first impression, Hilltopper head coach Garett Williams was even more impressed with his offensive line. 

    “Those leaders, like Cade Yost and Dylan (Irish) and Walker (Eaton) just took over that skill group, but up front we really found some dudes that could go,” Williams said. “A lot of young guys really stepped up and dominated on that line, and it was good to see.”

    In particular, he was impressed with the play of senior Levi Guarello, who blocked for the skill players all night to open up big holes to run through. 

    “A guy like Levi Guarello, that is the best I have ever seen him play. He grew up tonight, and really started playing like a senior,” Williams said. 

  • Atomic City Update: Loyalty in sports should be greatly appreciated

    Nothing warms the hearts of sports fans more than a homecoming. Whether a former player returns with a new team or a player chooses to come back to the place where they started their career for another stint, it always leads to great memories and reunions. 

    In many cases, if a player returns as a member of another team, they will get a loud ovation from his former fans as a way of saying thank you for the time spent providing them with entertainment. 

    This week, there have been a lot of baseball homecomings, all of which brought a big smile to my face. Perhaps the most anticipated was Giancarlo Stanton, who returned to Miami as a member of the New York Yankees for the first time since being traded away from the Miami Marlins in the offseason. 

    The crowd erupted when he came to the plate, and he was clearly deeply touched by the reception. 

    He would have loved to stay with the Marlins. That’s where he began his career and made so many memories. But the front office had other priorities, and continuing to pay his high salary was not in the cards. 

  • Cross country looks to reclaim top spot at state

    In New Mexico, no cross country team has more of a tradition of excellence than Los Alamos High School. For years, it has been understood that if a team wants to win a state championship, they will have to go through the Hilltoppers. From 2009-2015, the girls won every championship. The boys were equally successful over that stretch, winning every title from 2011-2014. 

    Over the past two years, Albuquerque Academy has ripped the championship away from LAHS on both sides, as the Hilltopper girls finished as the runners-up and the boys finished in third place. 

    This year, things may be different. There is a quiet confidence surrounding this group. 

    The coaches and runners can see how much talent is at every practice, and they know they will be a force to be reckoned with. 

    “There really is a great vibe to this team,” said Rob Hipwood, who coaches the team alongside his wife Kathy. 

    Part of that vibe comes from the great mix of veterans and young runners that fill both the boys and girls lineups. 

  • Atomic City Update: High school athletes need community support this fall

    We are now only one week away from the start of the fall sports season, and I have a request for the entire community: Support your local teams this school year. Every day, football players, soccer players, volleyball players and cross country runners give everything they have for their teams, and they deserve the support of the community they are representing. 

    In the past couple weeks, I have started making my way to various sports practices, trying to get an impression of what to expect this fall, and I have been blown away. It seems that every team has found a way to improve, and I am expecting big things across the board. 

    The football team appears poised to continue to take a big step forward this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The volleyball team has a much more experienced core of players and has a higher sense of confidence. Both soccer teams, and both cross country teams, have a legitimate shot at winning state championships this year. 

    All of the coaches I have talked to are full of energy, and are excited to see what their kids can do out on the field.