• Hilltoppers end district play with sweep

    Heading into Saturday’s doubleheader against Capital, the Los Alamos High School softball team had already clinched the District 2-5A championship, and was only playing for positioning in next week’s state championship playoffs. 

    With a sweep over the Jaguars, the Hilltoppers did what they could to improve positioning, and now wait to see who they will be facing in the first round of the tournament. 

    Both games were tight, tense contests that came down to the final inning, but the Hilltoppers found a way to escape with an 8-7 win in the first game, and a 16-13 win in the second game. 

    The LAHS offense started out hot in the first game, striking for 5 runs in the first two innings to take a commanding lead. 

    However, starting pitcher Savana Luster, who pitched very well over the first three innings, started to run out of gas in the fourth inning and lost some of her control, putting multiple runners on base. The Jaguars took full advantage, striking for 4 runs in the inning to tie the score 5-5 and force LAHS head coach Randy Burditt to make a pitching change, bringing Reyna Lucero into the game. 

  • Baseball earns No. 12 seed in playoffs

    After finishing the regular season with a doubleheader sweep over Capital, the Los Alamos High School baseball team heads into the State Baseball Championships as the No. 12 seed. This marks the team’s first trip to the playoffs since 2016, when the Hilltoppers advanced to the quarterfinals. 

    Heading into the weekend, it appeared LAHS had a good chance to make the tournament, but losses against Capital would have hurt those chances. After struggling in the early part of the first game, the Hilltopper offense came to life, winning the first game 12-2 and the second game 10-0. 

    LAHS struck first in the first game of the day, as James Neal led off the game with a walk, advanced on an error by the shortstop and scored on a sacrifice fly by Vincent Marciano, staking Hilltopper starting pitcher Luke Kirkland to an early 1-0 lead. 

    The lead increased to 3-0 in the second inning as Walker Eaton and Hunter Swavely scored on a groundout by Kirkland and a triple by Luis Bojorquez. 

    After Capital scored a run to cut the lead to 3-1, LAHS struck for 4 runs in the bottom of the third inning, putting the game nearly out of reach at 7-1. 

  • Lacrosse falls to Sandia Prep in OT

     Battling Sandia Prep was the least of the Los Alamos High School boys’ lacrosse team’s problems Thursday night at Dara Jones Field, as high-powered wind gusts wreaked havoc on the players, the fans and especially the ball. The elements made the game unpredictable and exciting, though the home fans went home unhappy as the Hilltoppers lost 8-7 in overtime. 

    It was a back-and-forth contest from the opening face-off, as neither team was able to create separation. Offense was made difficult by the wind, as every pass had to be made carefully, and long passes were nearly impossible to complete. 

    The Hilltoppers took the early lead, as Peter Janke got LAHS on the board with the first goal of the game. 

    After Sandia answered back with a goal, Jacob Dunwoody gave the Hilltoppers a 2-1 lead with a goal of his own before the end of the first quarter. 

    Sandia once again answered back with a goal, and Ryder Davenhall came right back with his first goal of the game to give LAHS a 3-2 lead. 

    The back-and-forth game continued as Sandia tied the score 3-3 before Janke gave LAHS the lead back.

  • Atomic City Update: Cutting men’s soccer would be a mistake for UNM

    This week, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents voted 6-1 in favor of a budget that will require the university to cut sports programs in the near future. As someone who believes sports are an important part of society, especially on college campuses, this is not the kind of news I like to hear. 

    Particularly concerning is that one of the main sports being considered for the cuts is the men’s soccer program, which has been one of UNM’s most successful programs since the turn of the century. If a program had a long history of losing, and was making the school very little money I think it would be fair to consider letting it go, but that’s far from the case here. 

    The team has played in two Final Fours, one national championship game and has been a conference champion seven times since 2001. That is more success than many programs around the country could expect to have in 50 years of competition. 

  • LAHS softball keeps win streak alive

    In Major League Baseball, the talk of the world is about Shohei Otani, the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star that is dominating on the mound and at the plate in his first season in America. Locally, it turns out Los Alamos High School has a two-way threat of its own on the softball team. Katie Wimer, a sophomore, continued her outstanding season Wednesday afternoon against Albuquerque Academy, picking up a win on the mound with a complete game, and driving in 7 runs at the plate in a 15-5 victory. 

    This season, Wimer has pitched 30.1 innings on the mound, collecting a record of 4-1 while striking out 27 batters. At the plate, she has been even more impressive, batting .492 while driving in 35 RBI’s and knocking three home runs out of the park. 

    In an important district game against the Chargers, the Hilltoppers needed every part of Wimer’s game to pull out the victory. 

    After the pitchers dominated for the first two innings of Wednesday’s game, posting clean innings, Academy took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. 

    That’s when the LAHS offense woke up and returned to the form that it has shown throughout district play. 

  • Baseball drops heartbreaker at home to Academy

     All season, the Los Alamos High School baseball team has relied on strong pitching and timely hitting. Wednesday afternoon, the timely hitting was nowhere to be found as the Hilltoppers lost to Albuquerque Academy 5-4 at Bomber Field. 

    This was an important district game for both teams, as Academy entered the contest with a record of 7-1 in District 2-5A, one game ahead of the Hilltoppers, who entered the game at 6-2. A win would have pulled the Hilltoppers into a tie for first place in the district. Instead, the team is now left to wonder if it has done enough to earn an at-large bid to next month’s state championship tournament. 

    The opportunities were there for LAHS to take control of the game, and yet the big hit wouldn’t come to put the contest out of reach. 

    The Hilltoppers’ first opportunity came in the first inning, when the team loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk before Walker Eaton flew out to the left fielder to end the inning. 

    Academy also wasted early opportunities, leaving a man stranded on third base in the first inning, and two runners in scoring position in the second inning. 

  • Hilltoppers fall to Duke City at home

    Facing Duke City at Dara Jones Field Saturday afternoon, the young Los Alamos High School boys’ lacrosse team showed it still has a lot to learn about competing at the highest level, falling 17-3. 

    Duke City dominated possession of the ball from the very beginning, going up 5-0 before the Hilltoppers got the ball across midfield. 

    After switching sides for the second quarter, the Hilltoppers seemed to gain a little bit of momentum and went on the attack. Kevin Dors got LAHS on the board with a beautiful shot from close range, making the score 5-1. 

    However, Duke City, which is made up of some of the best lacrosse players in all of Albuquerque from multiple schools, continued to attack and quickly put the game out of reach. 

    Long after the outcome had been decided, Caleb Key and Jack Vandenkieboom scored goals for the Hilltoppers, temporarily sending cheers throughout the home crowd. 

    As the final whistle blew, however, Duke City emerged with a 17-3 victory. 

  • LAHS golf has strong day at home invite

    More than 100 players and 13 teams came together at the Los Alamos County Golf Course Monday morning for the LAHS Spring Invite, where the Hilltoppers played host and enjoyed great results. 

    The boys’ team finished as the overall runner-ups, while the girls were able to boast the event’s overall champion. 

    On the boys’ side of the event, Los Lunas High School walked away as the champions, finishing with a team score of 322. LAHS finished four strokes behind in second place, with a team score of 326. Rounding out the top three was Hope Christian, which finished with a team score of 335. 

    Other teams that participated in the tournament for the boys were Robertson, St. Michael’s, Capital, Tucumcari, East Mountain, Española Valley, Raton, Taos and West Las Vegas. 

    Individually, many Hilltoppers put together solid rounds. Davis Johnson was the team’s top golfer finishing with a score of 77, just six strokes off the leader. Henry Poston and Sean Rau both finished with scores of 81, while Conner Cook finished with a score of 84, Jacob Benelli finished with a score of 87 and Landon Burk finished with a score of 88. 

  • Lacrosse wins second straight home game

    The Los Alamos High School girls’ lacrosse team is officially on a roll. For the second consecutive home game, the Hilltoppers came away victorious, defeating Santa Fe Prep 6-5 at Dara Jones Field Thursday night. 

    Elena Culin played well in goal for the Hilltoppers, keeping Santa Fe Prep from putting too many goals on the board. 

    On offense, Allina Bergemann was the star for the Hilltoppers, scoring four goals during the game to lead the team to victory. 

    Also scoring two goals was Marie Lee, who has consistently gotten better throughout the season. 

    This is the second home game in a row that the Hilltoppers have won. The team is finding success in its first year as a team, led by head coach Whitney Pryce, who has done a good job of helping the team improve every game. 

    After a game on the road Thursday in Rio Rancho, the Hilltoppers will return to action Saturday at home against Santa Fe Prep at 10 a.m. This is the final scheduled home game of the season for the team, as the playoffs begin on May 1. 

  • Atomic City Update: High school baseball and softball need fewer doubleheaders

    As high school baseball and softball season moves along this spring, I have found great joy in watching the kids play games they love on a daily basis. It is obvious how much fun they are having on the field, and it is great to see the teams at Los Alamos High School find success late in the schedule. 

    However, the one negative I have found about the schedule are the number of doubleheaders the teams are forced to play. From a scheduling standpoint, I absolutely understand the need for doubleheaders. The teams all have to play a certain amount of games, and they want the kids to miss as little school as possible. 

    But I can’t see many other positives to the doubleheaders. First of all, playing two games back-to-back, which can take more than six hours, is physically draining for the players. Baseball is a game of lots of starts and stops. It requires laser-sharp focus and attention while in the field and in the batter’s box. 

    By the end of a second game, it is possible that a player would have played 14 innings in the field, and taken eight or more at-bats. I can’t believe that a player is as sharp after playing that much as he would have been hours earlier, at the beginning of the first game.