• Herrera named girls soccer coach

    Los Alamos High School filled one of its fall coaching vacancies Tuesday with the hiring of AJ Herrera.
    Herrera, who was the head coach for one season with the Los Alamos boys program, will take over the Los Alamos girls program, it was announced by the LAHS athletic department.
    Herrera ran the Hilltopper boys program for one season, 2006, and led it to a berth in the state Class 4A semifinals. He left following that season to take over the program at Santa Fe.
    “That made me a better coach,” Herrera said, noting that Santa Fe and Los Alamos are very different environments in which to run a program.
    With his hiring, Herrera officially takes over the reins from longtime head coach Jiri Kubicek, who stepped down in January after more than 20 years of leading the program.
    Along with his experience coaching the Demons, Herrera was also a collegiate soccer player at Maryland and was one of the top prep players New Mexico has ever produced. 

  • Española Valley, Capital make boys 4A field

    The Española Valley Sundevils and the Capital Jaguars were the only two teams from District 2 invited to participate in the Class 4A boys basketball state championship tournament.
    The Sundevils earned the No. 9 seed and the Jaguars snuck in as the No. 15 seed.
    Los Alamos, which won only two games this season, wasn’t invited to join the playoff field. It’s the third time in four years Los Alamos has missed out on the postseason.

  • LA takes on St. Pius in first round

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will face a familiar foe in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs Friday.
    Los Alamos will meet the St. Pius X Sartans to open the 2013-14 playoffs.
    The field for the Class 4A postseason was announced Sunday night by the New Mexico Activities Association. Los Alamos earned the No. 14 seed for the tournament, which paired it up with St. Pius, the No. 3 seed.
    That game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday night at St. Pius.
    The No. 14 seed was about where Hilltopper head coach Ann Stewart figured her team would land when the selections were announced.
    Stewart said that, due to the team’s 13-15 overall record and its 6-11 record against 4A opponents this season, getting anything much above the bottom third of the 16-team bracket was unlikely.
    Los Alamos finished in third place in the District 2 race this season and also took third in last week’s district tournament.
    District 2 put three teams into the field this season. Along with Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Española Valley also made the postseason.
    Santa Fe won both the regular season and district tournament titles, both coming last week, topping Española Valley in consecutive games.

  • LA drops season openers versus PV

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team will look to break into the win column today when it takes on the Pojoaque Valley Elks.
    Los Alamos opened up its 2014 season Saturday, but was swept in a doubleheader in the Four Corners area by the Piedra Vista Panthers.
    While Hilltopper manager Mike Gill said he would’ve much preferred a couple of wins at Piedra Vista, he thought his team played very well for an opener.
    “We hit the ball pretty hard, but we just didn’t get hits,” Gill said following Saturday’s losses. “We out-hit them (in game two), the difference was when they got guys in scoring position, they got them in.”
    Los Alamos lost the first game 7-2, although the Hilltoppers could’ve kept within striking distance if not for some costly errors late.
    In the second game, Los Alamos bounced back from a 4-0 deficit and actually led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Piedra Vista, however, scratched out a run in the inning to force extras, and won in nine innings, 6-5.

  • Girls basketball game set for Friday evening

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team will play its opening round playoff game at 6 p.m. Friday.
    Los Alamos will take on the St. Pius X Sartans Friday for the right to advance to the quarterfinal round at The Pit. Los Alamos was given the No. 14 seed for the tournament, while the Sartans are the No. 3 seed.
    All first round games will be played this weekend. The venue shifts to The Pit March 11.

  • LA girls pick up No. 14 seed for playoffs

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team secured the No. 14 seed in the upcoming Class 4A playoffs.

    The playoff selections for both the boys and girls teams from around the state were announced this evening. First round playoff games will be played this upcoming Friday and Saturday.

    Los Alamos (13-15) will take on the third-seeded St. Pius X Sartans in the opening round. The Sartans will host that game. Hilltopper athletic director Vicki Nelms said the game will be played at 6 p.m. Friday in Albuquerque.

    The Los Alamos-St. Pius match-up is a rematch from the regular season. St. Pius won that contest going away, 68-44.

    The Hilltoppers were one of three District 2 teams to make the field this year. Santa Fe, the district champion, earned the No. 2 overall seed, while Espanola Valley picked up the No. 5 seed.

    In boys Class 4A, Los Alamos, as expected didn't earn an at-large invitation. Espanola Valley picked up the No. 9 seed as the District 2 champion and Capital snuck in as the No. 15 seed.

    For more information on the upcoming basketball playoffs, see Tuesday's Los Alamos Monitor.

  • LA has tough schedule to open 2014

    While the weather may not be playing ball right now, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers are.
    The season has begun for the Hilltopper baseball program. The team opened up its season this weekend with a doubleheader at Piedra Vista, its usual season-opening jaunt.
    And this will hardly be the only road trip Los Alamos has in its immediate future.
    “We’re definitely going to be road warriors, that’s for sure,” said Hilltopper manager Mike Gill.
    Los Alamos has just one home game set for the month of March, that will be March 12 against Hope Christian.
    Expectations are fairly high right now for the Hilltoppers, who have several returning veterans, lots of arms in the bullpen, and good power at the plate.
    The Hilltoppers sport one of the dominant players in Class 4A, junior Jared Mang, who has been hitting No. 3 in the batting order since his eighth grade season.
    Mang, who plays shortstop when he’s not pitching, had a big season in 2013. Mang hits for power, he hits for average and is a solid No. 1 in the Hilltoppers’ pitching rotation.
    Gill, heading into this weekend’s doubleheader with the mighty Piedra Vista Panthers, said he wasn’t sure exactly who was going to throw this weekend, but was planning to get as many pitchers in as the games would allow him to.

  • Santa Fe wins 2-4A tournament crown

    The Santa Fe Demon girls basketball team came back after trailing most of the game Friday night to top the Española Valley Sundevils.
    The Demons forced overtime and then prevailed in the extra period to win 51-48 at Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium.
    With the win, Santa Fe captured the 2-4A tournament title and remains in line for a possible No. 1 seed in the upcoming state tournament. Santa Fe (26-2) earned the 2-4A regular season title last Monday in Los Alamos, topping the Sundevils by 19 points.
    The Sundevils (21-7) had two shots at grabbing a share of the title this season, but couldn’t get over the final hump.
    They were the only Class 4A team to beat the Demons this season.
    Santa Fe’s Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage had 21 points and veteran Jackie Martinez finished with 13.
    Despite the two losses to Santa Fe this week, Española Valley has an excellent chance to host a first round home game in the playoffs. 

  • Postseason fields will be out today

    It’s an annual source of speculation and belly achin’ around New Mexico, and it returns today.
    The New Mexico Activities Association announces the selection and seeding for the upcoming state basketball playoffs. The selections will be announced at 6 p.m. on the NMAA’s website, nmact.org.
    Los Alamos fans will be waiting anxiously to see where exactly the Hilltopper girls end up.
    The Hilltopper girls aren’t locks to get into the playoffs, but it’s not likely they will get frozen out, either. The Hilltopers have been ranked in the 12-15 range in 4A most of the year and were No. 15 heading into the District 2-4A championship tournament.
    Head coach Ann Stewart said after Thursday’s loss to the Española Valley Sundevils that she thought Los Alamos might end up with something in the neighborhood of a No. 14 seed based on its 2013-14 record.
    Los Alamos finished 13-15 on the regular season, but, more importantly to the selection committee, was 6-11 against other 4A teams. Five of those losses came at the hands of Santa Fe and Española Valley, the Hilltoppers’ top two district opponents.
    Santa Fe won the 2-4A tournament title, knocking off Española Valley 51-48 in overtime Friday night.

  • Hockey playoffs start tonight

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey team will open the Year End Tournament tonight in Rio Rancho, taking on the La Cueva Bears.
    Los Alamos (8-9-1) earned the No. 6 seed for the Year End Tournament, which features nine teams from the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League.
    Following this weekend’s tournament, which will be played at Blades Ice Arena in Rio Rancho, the Hilltoppers will meet the Taos Ice Tigers March 8 for the pure team championship game. That game will be played in Taos.
    Los Alamos had a chance to improve its seed for the tournament last weekend, but fell to the St. Pius X Sartans 3-0 in Albuquerque. Los Alamos controlled the tempo most of the way but couldn’t find the back of the net, while St. Pius had few opportunities but capitalized on what it was given.
    The Hilltopper-Bear game is set for 5:45 p.m. That game will be broadcast on KRSN.
    Los Alamos and La Cueva, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, split their two contests this season, with each holding serve on its home ice.
    The winner of tonight’s game will play the winner between the seventh-seeded Sartans and the second-seeded El Paso (Texas) Franklin Cougars Saturday afternoon, also at Blades.