• LA romps Capital in its finale

     SANTA FE – Even if the door isn’t wide open, it was still open, and the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team marched right through it.

    Los Alamos was in need of a win to keep its hopes of a District 2-4A title alive, and it was able to do just that Friday night against the Capital Jaguars. The Hilltoppers rushed for better than 10 yards per carry in the second half, blowing open what had been a tight game in the third quarter.

    Fullback Xavier Dennison rushed for 126 yards in one of the biggest nights of his season as the Hilltoppers thumped Capital 42-0 at Jaguar Field.

    Friday’s game was the season finale for the Hilltoppers (3-6), who, going into this week’s play, have a half-game lead over the Santa Fe Demons. The Demons, however, play those same Jaguars at Ivan Head Stadium and, if they prevail, will win the district by virtue of the tiebreaker.

    Bernalillo, which is in line to finish 3-1 in district along with Santa Fe and Los Alamos, was effectively eliminated from advancing to the state tournament with the Hilltoppers’ win.

    It was Bernalillo that kept Los Alamos’ hopes of a 2-4A crown alive Thursday night, upsetting Santa Fe 43-42 and setting up a likely 3-way tie scenario at the top of the 2-4A standings.

  • LA teams roll to two more 2-4A wins

    SANTA FE – Another District 2-4A meet, another big victory for the Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country teams.
    The Hilltoppers, as they have done for 13 previous year, dominated the district championship meet Friday afternoon at Capital High School. The Hilltopper girls scored 17 points en route to their 14th consecutive 2-4A title, while the Hilltopper boys finished with 20 points to earn the sweep.
    While Los Alamos has thoroughly dominated the district in recent years – rarely do teams get any closer than double Los Alamos’ point total – this is a race the teams don’t take lightly, as it is the only meet that qualifies them for the state championship race.
    “We feel pretty confident, but we were careful not to be overconfident,” said Hilltopper Amanda Mercer, who, along with winning the individual 2-4A girls title, was helping teammate Maddy Foley put ice on her knee after the race.
    Mercer led a solid pack of Hilltoppers to the finish line Friday along the sandy, groove- and rock-filled course behind the campus of Capital High. Mercer, Talia Dreicer and Foley finished 1-2-3 in the race, with Mercer finishing in a time of 20 minutes, 7 seconds and Dreicer finishing 13 seconds behind her.

  • LA girls eliminated by Panthers in first round

     It’s a first for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team, although it’s a first the Hilltoppers didn’t want.

    Since joining Class 4A under its current alignment in 2000, the Hilltoppers have never failed to get to at least the 4A state tournament semifinals. It’s an impressive streak, but that streak came to an end Saturday.

    Los Alamos, taking on the Piedra Vista Panthers, a team it had handled well two weeks earlier, struggled against the Panthers to sustain an attack. Los Alamos couldn’t counter after Piedra Vista’s Peyton Pigford connected on 35-yard direct kick for the equalizer at the 67-minute mark.

    The game went into a shootout, and in the shootout, Pigford again came through, making the final kick from the mark count as the Panthers upset the Hilltoppers 2-1 in the first round of the 4A playoffs at Sullivan Field.

    Throughout much of the second half and the two overtime periods, Piedra Vista was the more physical and more aggressive of the two squads. Although Pieidra Vista got off only one shot in each of the overtime periods, it controlled the flow for virtually the entire second OT.

    Although it wasn’t sharp after Meghan McDonald’s goal in the 53rd minute, Los Alamos appeared poised to escape with a victory.

  • Stone scores twice as LA tops Centennial, 2-0

    Even though it was a contest between a No. 6 seed and a No. 11 seed, the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team was well aware the Centennial Hawks weren’t going to be a pushover.

    That would prove to be the case Saturday, but the Hilltoppers would prevail and advance to the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A tournament.

    Los Alamos’ Collin Stone took advantage of two defensive miscues by Centennial and put both of those chances away as the Hilltoppers eliminated the Hawks 2-0 at Sullivan Field.

    Stone put Los Alamos on the board in just over two minutes, making a sliding attack at the top of the penalty box when, on what appeared to be a routine goal kick, the Hawks inexplicably decided to make a long pass across the goal mouth and Stone got a foot on the pass, knocking it into the near post to give the Hilltoppers the early edge.

    Early in the second half, Stone ran down a through-ball about 25 yards out from the Hawk goal. The Hawk defense seemed to respond well enough, but Centennial goalkeeper Luis Rodriguez came over all the way out to Stone to try to cut him off, although Stone didn’t appear to be in a threatening position at that point.

    Stone made a juke move on Rodriguez, who bit. Stone then raced right past him and straight to the open goal for the second score.

  • Player bounces back from serious injury

    More often than not, the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls’ soccer team saves its best showing for last.

    The Hilltoppers host a first round game of the Class 4A playoffs Saturday.

    At the forefront of their hopes for making a run in the playoffs is their star forward, Catie McDonald.

    McDonald is the featured scorer for Los Alamos and the one the other teams will have to find a way to slow down in the 4A tournament. But for the Hilltopper sophomore, the past year has been a challenging one.

    Last October, on a routine run toward the goal during what should’ve been an unremarkable game against Bernalillo, McDonald went headlong into the steel post at Sullivan Field.

    McDonald was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was diagnosed with head trauma, whiplash and a serious shoulder injury.

    Instead of being the tag-team partner of one of the most prolific scorers in program history, Amy Neal, on the way to what may have been a run at the state title, McDonald was suddenly relegated to the bench and Los Alamos was bounced in the state semifinals.

    While someone suffering a similar injury would be given a pass for downshifting their game, McDonald said that’s not the way she wants to play.

  • LA boys, girls open state playoffs at home

    The Class 4A boys and girls soccer playoffs are this weekend for the teams left standing around the state.
    For Los Alamos, both the Hilltopper boys and girls will be in action Saturday. And while the Hilltopper teams are both No. 6 seeds facing off against No. 11 seeds, the scenarios are quite different.
    Los Alamos’ boys will take on Centennial, a school that’s only been open for just over a year, while Los Alamos’ girls will meet Piedra Vista. Saturday’s boys game is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the girls will play at 1 p.m. at Sullivan Field.
    Los Alamos’ boys could have a test on their hands against the upstart Centennial Hawks. The Hawks, a team comprised mostly of underclassmen, has been one of the surprises in 4A this season.
    Centennial, which is located in Las Cruces, put together a nice season, going 13-7 and was involved in a three-way tie at the top of the District 3 standings. However, Centennial finished third in the tiebreaker and, as such, dropped down to the No. 11 seed.
    Hilltopper head coach Evan Gartz was quick to note, however, that in the final MaxPreps.com rankings, the Hawks were rated one place better than the Hilltoppers.

  • Volleyball team faces Farmington Saturday

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team will close out its 2013 regualar season Saturday afternoon on the road.
    The Hilltoppers will face the Farmington Scorpions in a nondistrict match in the Four Corners.
    It’s a tough test for Los Alamos (13-7) in its regular season finale. It’s also a match that could affect seeding in the upcoming Class 4A playoffs.
    The Scorpions (13-5) are the No. 4 team in the 4A rankings this week and four of its five losses this season came against the No. 1 team in the state, the Piedra Vista Panthers.
    Los Alamos will host the semifinal match of the District 2-4A tournament Thursday night.

  • Bernalillo tops Santa Fe, LA still alive in 2-4A football race

    It’s still anybody’s ballgame in District 2-4A football.
    The Los Alamos Hilltoppers can take a half-game lead in 2-4A with a win tonight at Capital. Game time is 7 p.m.
    Los Alamos got one of the breaks it needed in the district race when the Bernalillo Spartans upset the Santa Fe Demons Thursday night.
    The two teams duked it out through four quarters and were knotted at the end of regulation, but in overtime, Santa Fe scored a touchdown but couldn’t get into the end zone on a 2-point conversion.
    Bernalillo scored on its try and kicked the point-after to take a 43-42 win.
    Santa Fe (3-6 overall, 2-1 in 2-4A) dropped Los Alamos 28-9 Oct. 18 and was in the driver’s seat in the district until the loss against Bernalillo (2-7, 2-1) which seems to be surging in the late going of 2013.
    But the playoff scenario for the three teams is clear heading into tonight’s game. Los Alamos needs to win tonight and have Santa Fe lose to Capital next week for it to be district champion.

  • LA tops Capital in 3

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team earned a sweep to close out its District 2-4A regular season Wednesday.
    As expected, the Hilltoppers dropped the Capital Jaguars in three sets, winning 25-14, 25-22, 25-16 at Edward Ortiz Gymnasium in Santa Fe.
    The win improved Los Alamos’ season mark to 12-7 and wrapped up the 2-4A runner-up slot for the regular season.
    Los Alamos still has a key nonidistrict contest Saturday at Farmington, one that could affect Class 4A postseason seeding.
    With its runner-up status, Los Alamos will host the district semifinal playoff match Nov. 7. The winner of the Nov. 7 match will face Española Valley for the district tournament title — Española Valley clinched the regular season championship with its 3-0 win Saturday at Griffith Gymnasium. 

  • LA football finishes season vs. Jaguars

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper football team will close out its regular season against the Capital Jaguars Friday night.
    The game the Hilltoppers might be most worried about, however, is happening tonight.
    The Hilltoppers (3-6 overall, 2-1 in 2-4A) will be at Capital (2-6, 1-1) for their 2013 finale, trying to keep their hopes alive for a shot at a district title.
    Two weeks ago, the Hilltoppers lost at Santa Fe 28-9, putting them in jeopardy of missing out on the district title. Santa Fe, by virtue of its win over Los Alamos, is in the 2-4A driver’s seat and can shut the door on the Hilltoppers’ chances of regaining the district title it lost in 2012 with a win over Bernalillo tonight.
    If the Demons lose tonight and the Hilltoppers win Friday, however, things get a little more interesting.
    It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that the Spartans, who have just one win on the year, can upend the Demons (3-5, 2-0). The Spartans will have momentum on their side after crushing Capital last week 49-7, while the Demons were on the wrong end of a blowout, getting blasted by Moriarty 52-8 in a nondistrict contest.
    Even in the best-case scenario for Los Alamos, a lot of things would still have to happen for it to grab a piece of the 2-4A title.