• Atomic City Update: Start of football practice is one of the most exciting times



    For many people in this community, the upcoming week is significant because it is the final full week of summer before school begins again. But for me, this week is noteworthy for a different reason. I have had Monday, Aug. 6, circled on my calendar for a few months because it is the day that high school football practice begins. 

    It is a very exciting time of year, because for the first time since school let out, the entire high school football team will be together every day throughout the fall. It is a time when players are able to prove what they can do on the field, and the bonds that will help a team find success begin to form. 

    Many people, myself included, feel that this is the most important time of the year for a young football team, or really any sports team. 

    There is more time in the nearly three weeks leading up to the first game of the season to learn the offense, learn the defense and put everyone in the best position to succeed. For all the other high school sports, this time of preparation begins on Aug. 13. 

  • Tough schedule awaits LAHS volleyball

    As the Los Alamos High School volleyball team looks to rebound after a tough 2017 season, the schedule that awaits them will be extremely tough, from the first game of the season to the end of October. 

    The season kicks off on Aug. 25 at home, when the Hilltoppers take on Bloomfield at 2 p.m. Bloomfield went 13-10 in 2017 and advanced to the first round of the Class 5A state tournament. In something of a surprise, LAHS defeated Bloomfield 3-1 last season in a non-district matchup. 

    With a road matchup against St. Michaels on Aug. 28, the schedule gets no easier. The Lady Horsemen were 17-7 last year, advancing all the way to the Class 4A semifinals. St. Michael’s defeated the Hilltoppers 3-1 last year. 

    The road games continue on Aug. 30 with a trip to Santa Fe High School, a team that went 9-12 last year and defeated LAHS 3-1. 

    Following that game, the Hilltoppers face what will likely be the toughest match of the season, taking on St. Pius at home on Sept. 4. 

    The Sartans went 20-3 last year and played in the Class 5A state championship game. The team also defeated the Hilltoppers 3-0 in a non-district matchup. 

  • District 2-4A previews: Moriarty High School

    Leading up to the new school year, the Los Alamos Monitor will be previewing the teams in Los Alamos High School’s new district 2-4A. The new district will provide new rivalries, renew old rivalries and continue existing rivalries. The new matchups should provide fun competition throughout the school year. 

    Of the four schools that Los Alamos High School will share District 2-4A with this school year, none has more consistently good sports programs than Moriarty High School, which will lead to an immediate, and fun, rivalry between the two schools. 

    The rivalry should begin immediately during the fall sports season, as the two schools will likely be battling for the top spot in the district in both boys and girls soccer. Last year, the boys soccer team went 14-7-1 and advanced to the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament, before falling to Hope Christian. 

    Much like LAHS, which advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals last year, the team will have a new look this year, losing 11 players to graduation. However, they are likely to still be highly competitive, and should provide good competition for the Hilltoppers. 

  • LAHS football hoping experience leads to success

    Coming off a winning season for the first time in five years, the expectations for the Los Alamos High School football team have been raised. The confidence on the practice field seems higher, the skill level is raised and the comfort in the offensive and defensive systems is obvious. 

    Last year, the Hilltoppers went 6-4, dominating against lesser teams while continuing to struggle against teams with high-powered offensive attacks. All of this was done with a quarterback, Dylan Irish, who had never previously played the position, and an all-purpose threat, Jack Stewart, who scored 14 touchdowns and gained 1,000 yards despite not playing football since his freshman year. 

    This year, the core group of offensive weapons is more experienced. Irish returns for his second year at quarterback, while the running backs, led by Cade Yost, have been in the system for four years and appear stronger than ever.  

    Head coach Garett Williams, entering his ninth year at the helm of the Hilltoppers, believes that leadership will be one of the biggest strengths of this year’s group.

  • District 2-4A previews: Española Valley

    Leading up to the new school year, the Los Alamos Monitor will be previewing the teams in Los Alamos High School’s new district 2-4A. The new district will provide new rivalries, renew old rivalries and continue existing rivalries. The new matchups should provide fun competition throughout the school year. 

    As the New Mexico Activities Association moved from six classifications to five this year, a lot is changing with high school athletics. Every team is in a new district, and rivalries will be shifting. 

    One thing that will not be changing, however, is the rivalry between Los Alamos High School and Española Valley High School, as the teams move into District 2-4A this school year in every sport except for football. 

    The Sundevils had an up-and-down season in sports last year, with some teams competing for state championships and other sports fighting to avoid the bottom of District 2-5A. 

  • Young golfers put on a show at Jr. PGA event

    At the Jr. PGA event held at the Los Alamos County Golf Course Friday, the kids in the county showed that the future of golf in this community is in good hands. 

    The boys and girls were split into individual age groups, with competitors as young as 7 years old and as old as 18 years old. 

    The youngest golfers impressed using the Stableford scoring system. In this system of scoring, a player wants to earn as many points as possible on each hole. A player receives one point for a bogey, two points for par, three points for a birdie and four points for an eagle. 

    In the 7-9 boys’ category, Lincoln Hoffer was the winner with 37 points, Michael Velasquez-Saiz was second with 26 points and Quinton Begay was third with 15 points. 

    The 10-12 boys used the same system, with Staton Nash coming out on top with a score of 34. Spencer Nash was second with a score of 29 and Eli Salazar was third with a score of 37. 

    In the 10-12 girls category, Rylee Salome was first with an impressive score of 49 and Anya Parasher was the runner-up with a score of 45. 

  • District 2-4A previews: Pojoaque Valley

    Leading up to the new school year, the Los Alamos Monitor will be previewing the teams in Los Alamos High School’s new district 2-4A. The new district will provide new rivalries, renew old rivalries and continue existing rivalries. The new matchups should provide fun competition throughout the school year.

    One of Los Alamos High School’s new district opponents this year will be the school closest to LAHS: Pojoaque Valley High School. This offers a chance for the two neighboring schools to develop a deeper rivalry than has existed in recent years when the schools were playing periodic non-district games. 

    This year, the biggest rivalry may come from girls’ basketball, which was Pojoaque Valley’s top sport last school year. The team went 23-6 last year, including a convincing 60-27 win over LAHS during the early part of the season. 

    The team appears like it will be strong again this season, losing only three players to graduation in May. Interestingly, the Elkettes lost in the Class 4A semifinals to Moriarty in the state tournament last year, and now the two teams find themselves in the same district heading into this fall. 

  • Atomic City Update: Cutting UNM sports hurts the athletes more than anyone

    Over the past week, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the recent sports cuts at University of New Mexico, trying to think about it from the perspective of the students. For months, we have heard from coaches and parents about what these cuts will do to them, and we have listened to the administration explain their reasoning for making these decisions. 

    But, somehow, I think we have forgotten about the people that this will affect more than anyone: the student-athletes. More so than anyone else, this represents a major life event, one that none of them saw coming. In less than a year, the program they have dedicated their lives to will no longer exist. Sure, some of them will be able to transfer schools and pick up where they left off. But that will not be an option for everyone. 

    Sure, UNM has promised to honor the scholarships of the student-athletes who lose their sports, but that will be a small consolation prize. I have tried to put myself in the shoes of a men’s soccer player, skier or beach volleyball player at UNM, and when I thought about it from that perspective, it’s scary. 

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts golf tournament

    By Isaac Fason

    On July 14 Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region, which covers Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties, held its 7th Annual Drive for Matches Golf Tournament at Los Alamos County Golf Course.

    The purpose of the annual tournament is to help fund the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and allow them to serve children in the community by forming one on one relationships with adult volunteers.

    The main tournament event was a shotgun style start, meaning every group tees off from a different hole at the same starting time.

    The game was also played scramble style, meaning every player in the group tees off but everyone is able to take their next shot from where the best ball lies.

    The event had two categories of scoring: gross score and net score. 

    Gross score is the untouched score from the group, while net score takes into consideration the handicap of players’ scores.

    The first place team for gross score was Eddie Sanchez, Sean Rau, Jacob Benelli and Brad King, and the first place team for net score was Lynne Taylor, Kathy Anderson, Donna Jones and Anna Swertfeger.

  • Atomic City Update: Decision to cut sports nothing but a quick fix for UNM

    When news came down Thursday afternoon that the University of New Mexico was officially eliminating men’s soccer, beach volleyball and both skiing teams, I had a feeling of disbelief and shock. 

    Now, the news itself didn’t shock me. This has been the expected move for a few months now, ever since the idea of eliminating sports was brought up in April. But for some reason, I always thought the school would eventually see how illogical and unfair the move is. 

    By cutting skiing and soccer, the university is letting go of two of its most successful national sports, teams that compete for championships every year and are highly respected.

    Based on money alone, sure, these moves will help the university. But that seems to be a short sighted and narrow-minded view of things. In my opinion, this move gives UNM a black eye, and will set it back immensely in every sport.