• Atomic Tumblers compete at Xcel Region 3 Championships

    The Los Alamos Atomic Tumblers traveled to Galveston, Texas during the weekend of May 18 to compete in the Xcel Region 3 USA Gymnastics championships. All seven states (New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma) were represented.

    There were 1,076 gymnasts competing in 14 sessions throughout the weekend.  There were 16 judges representing all seven states as well.

    In the Diamond Division competition, there were 77 competitors, and only one session.  Hannah Gram finished seventh in the seniors’ division with 36.725. Gram took sixth place on vault (9.25), bars (9.075), and floor (9.475).  

    She earned the last medal with a tenth place finish on beam (9.475). Brianna Fryer placed ninth in the junior’s division on her half twist on, full twist off vault with 9.25.  Chantel Bibeault also placed ninth on vault in the younger division with a half on, full off, scoring 9.225. Kayli Lincoln qualified but was unable to attend.

  • New Aquatomics coach brings passion, excitement to LA

    Mark Scott, the new head coach of the Los Alamos club swim team known as the Aquatomics, has been in or around pools since he could walk. 

    Scott’s father was a swim coach, so he was at the pool quite often. Scott taught himself how to swim at 3 years old, was on his dad’s team at 4 years old, and swam competitively for 17 years. 

    After his many years of competitive swimming, Scott did not miss being in the water due to the amount of injuries he had been forced to deal with. However, Scott quickly realized “it felt really good to be on deck,” and he began coaching.

    Scott has been coaching since 1975, including stints at NCAA Division II school University of Puget Sound and NCAA Division I school University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

    Scott’s coaching path has not always been straightforward, though. Twice Scott has dealt with 5-year-stints of feeling burnt out due to stress and high levels of competition.

    Scott says that stress and pressure is “dependent on what the coach wants out of the team, and what the swimmers want out of the team.”

  • Atomic City Update: Lanse Carter is the perfect hire for LAHS girls basketball

    Longtime college basketball coach Bobby Knight once said, “To be as good as it can be, a team has to buy into what you as the coach are doing. They have to feel you’re a part of them and they’re a part of you.”

    I think this quote is particularly relevant right now to Los Alamos High School, and new girls’ head basketball coach Lanse Carter, who is looking to change the culture of the program and once again turn the Hilltoppers into state championship contenders. 

    Though he is new to the Los Alamos area, he is anything but a stranger to basketball in northern New Mexico. He has had stints at Capital, Pojoaque, Santa Fe Indian School and Santa Fe High School and has a history of turning programs around in a hurry. 

    In 2008 and 2009, he won state championships at Pojoaque, and also took Santa Fe High to the state tournament in his only year there in 2016, after taking the job just two days before the season began. 

    Sure, on paper his credentials are impressive enough. But after watching a little bit of his practice last week and watching him interact with the girls, I am even more convinced that he is the right man for this program. 

  • Topper Soccer School kicks off at Urban Park next week

    Next week, kids ages 3-9 will have the opportunity to play soccer like the Hilltoppers, as Topper School 2018 gets underway at Urban Park in Los Alamos. 

    The mission of Topper Soccer School is to provide an extraordinary camp environment through innovative instruction and positive reinforcement, and to expose little kids to big soccer. Members of the boys’ high school soccer program provide instruction.

    The first session of the camp runs June 11-15. Though the registration date has passed, late registrations will be accepted. Ages 3-5 will play from 4-5 p.m., and ages 6-9 will play from 5-6 p.m. 

    The “Tiny Touches” session will be for the 3-5-year-olds, and is designed for young children who like to kick soccer balls.  Proper technique will be taught with an emphasis on basic skills including dribbling, shooting and passing in an encouraging and enthusiastic environment.  Skills will be demonstrated and lots of fun and games will be included in the sessions.  To make the overall environment more comfortable and conducive to learning for the young players, parents (mom, dad, older sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.) are welcome to participate in these training sessions as well. 

  • LAHS football releases 2018 schedule

    The Los Alamos High School varsity football team will play 10 games in the 2018 season, six of which are against teams that they faced in the 2017 season. Among these are Española Valley, Pojoaque, Gallup, Santa Fe, Capital and Del Norte. The new teams that the Hilltoppers will go against include Taos, Bloomfield, Hope Christian and Valencia.

    The Hilltoppers finished with a 6-4 record in the 2017 season. Twelve of the team’s 25 players were seniors who will not be returning, including running back Jack Stewart and quarterback Kayden Rivera. 

    The receiving corps and defensive secondary will need to be addressed with the losses of seniors such as Wyatt Saeger, Reyes Mendez and Leander Murphy.

    The offensive and defensive lines will retain most of its core of juniors, only losing seniors Devin Cantua and Arturo Rodriguez. 

    Fortunately for the Hilltoppers, in a year that may consist of a lot of regrouping and rebuilding, their schedule contains just two teams that had a winning record in the 2017 season: Taos, 8-4, and district rival Capital, 6-5.

  • Atencio, Rees named LAHS Athletes of the Year

    To be a great athlete requires more than just having skill on the playing field. It also requires a person to be a great teammate and to come to every practice and game ready to help their teammates at every opportunity. 

    Those are the attributes that make Ashley Atencio and Ben Rees stand out at Los Alamos High School and are a big reason they were named the Los Alamos Sports Association’s Athletes of the Year at Tuesday night’s Honors Convocation. 

    Atencio was the starting goalkeeper for the girls’ soccer team, which advanced all the way to the state championship game, finishing as the second-place team in Class 5A. She made 148 saves last season and played in 23 games for the Hilltoppers, recording one shutout. 

    What makes her season even more impressive is that she wasn’t originally scheduled to be the starting goalkeeper for the team, but stepped into the starter’s net when incumbent starter Anna Lemke was unable to play while she recovered from a knee injury suffered during the previous basketball season. 

    It was Atencio’s first action in goal since her sophomore season, when she played a total of 70 minutes without allowing a goal. 

  • Los Alamos basketball plays in NM Games

    In a Memorial Day weekend tradition, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team participated in the New Mexico Games in Albuquerque Saturday and Sunday. It is the beginning of a summer schedule that will prepare the players for the next high school season, and offers a chance to play games against some of the best teams in the state. 

    On Saturday, the team began the 4A/5A/6A boys’ tournament against Belen at Del Norte High School. Last high school season, the Eagles were the state champions in Class 5A, defeating LAHS’ district rival Española Valley in the state championship game. 

    Though Belen High School coach Andrew Dunnell does not coach the team during the summer, he was in attendance at Saturday morning’s contest. 

    When he walked into the gym, LAHS head coach Mike Kluk greeted him and gave him a handshake, saying, “I have to shake the hand of the champ.” He congratulated Dunnell on the fantastic season, and especially on the performance against the Sundevils, before allowing Dunnell to head to the stands to enjoy the game. 

  • Carter excited for new challenge at LAHS

    Lanse Carter, the new head coach of Los Alamos High School’s girls’ basketball team, has a history of revitalizing programs and taking teams to higher levels. Right now, that is exactly what the Hilltoppers need.

    In the 2016-17 season, Carter took over as the interim head coach of Santa Fe High School’s girls’ basketball team just two days before the team’s first game. In the previous year, the team finished with an 8-19 record and did not win a district game. 

    Under Carter, the team improved to an 11-17 record, won four district games and earned a spot in the state tournament. 

    Carter coached as an assistant for the women’s basketball teams at Western State and Adams State, two NCAA Division II schools in Colorado, before coming to northern New Mexico. Since 2002, Carter has coached girls’ basketball at Capital, Pojoaque, Santa Fe Indian School and Santa Fe High.

    Carter said that he has “always liked,” Los Alamos, and that he “always had tons of respect for Gerry Washburn from when I was at Capital and coaching against him.” 

  • Atomic City Update: Keeping active is even more important in the summer

    As the school year comes to a close and high school sports end until August, it is more important now than ever that young kids stay active and in shape during these down months in the sports calendar. 

    I know how tempting it can be for young kids to sit on the couch all summer and watch TV or play video games, especially with how busy the rest of year is. But these months should be used to remain active in some form, because sitting on the couch for two months isn’t productive, and certainly isn’t healthy. 

    This town is full of great things for kids to do over the summer, and there is no excuse for a lack of activity. If kids are looking for something fun to do that will keep them healthy, taking a hike on one of the countless trails around town is a great way to do that, and you could explore a different trail almost every day this summer. 

    Kids can also take advantage of the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center and get some laps in at the pool, which is one of the best workouts anyone can get. 

    One of the best summer activities in town, the Splash and Dash series, sponsored by the Los Alamos Triatomics, allows people of all ages to take a swim in the pool, and then go for a run, all for fun. 

  • 7 Hilltopper baseball players named All-District

     Following a season that saw the Los Alamos High School baseball team return to the state tournament, seven Hilltoppers have been named District 2-5A All-District performers. 

    LAHS went 16-12 this season, and 9-3 in district play, finishing as the runners-up behind Albuquerque Academy. The Hilltoppers boasted a balanced, potent offense, and a pitching staff that could compete with any team. 

    Three Hilltoppers have been named First-Team All-District: Vincent Marciano, James Neal and Arthur Steinkamp. 

    Marciano was a fixture in the middle of the LAHS lineup, and showed a great ability to drive in runners in scoring position, driving balls into the gap for doubles with ease. As one of only three seniors on the team, Marciano played an important leadership role as well. 

    Neal was a strong defender for LAHS, and also played a key role at the top of the lineup, often leading off for the Hilltoppers. He did a great job of getting on base all season, and made defenses uncomfortable with his activity on the base paths. He will be returning next season for his senior year, and will play an even bigger role on the team.