• 'Toppers, Renegades hit the ice

    It will be a busy weekend at Los Alamos County Ice Rink with the Hilltoppers and the New Mexico Renegades both in action.
    The Renegades, a Junior A hockey team based in Rio Rancho, will be back for its annual game at the ice rink. This will be the third year in a row the Renegades have played their Outdoor Fusion Series game in Los Alamos.
    They will take on the El Paso Rhinos, one of their rivals in the Western States Hockey League. Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Admission for that contest is $5.
    While that’s a big contest, it’s not even close to the only one at the ice rink this weekend.
    The Hilltoppers will host four games in three days against both the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League teams from El Paso, Texas.
    Los Alamos will play league-leading Coronado at 8:15 p.m. Friday, then the two teams will meet again at 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
    Then, following the Renegade-Rhino game, Los Alamos will take on the Franklin Cougars at 9 p.m.
    The two teams will meet again at 10:15 a.m. Sunday. 

  • Former 'Topper remembered at tourney

    The person with the best seat in the house this weekend is the one for whom the tournament is named, Bryan Sanchez.
    Sanchez, a former Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestler who lost his life in a car accident is remembered annually at the Bryan Sanchez Invitational, which is scheduled for Saturday in Auxiliary Gymnasium.
    “When Bryan first started to wrestle, I was not a good wrestling mom,” said team mom Rita Sanchez. “I was throwing up and my blood pressure would shoot up. I decided to suck it up and find a way to be supportive and be excited about the sport. Before every match I would put holy dirt from the Santuario de Chimayó on the back of Bryan’s neck. It made me feel better and it made him wrestle well and safe. It was our routine. He would say, ‘dirt me,’ and I would.”
    Sanchez now has more sons than she can handle, as the only representative allowed on the floor that can get away with yelling, “Come on honey.”
    She along with daughter Elena, will share the workload this weekend, as teams come from far and wide for the tournament.

  • LA's championship team to be honored

    The 1964 Los Alamos Hilltopper championship boys basketball team, along with two other teams from 50 years ago, will be honored at a reunion luncheon next month.
    The New Mexico Activities Association, the body that oversees most interscholastic high school activities in the state, will host the 25-50 Year Reunion Luncheon March 14 at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.
    The luncheon will be held as part of the state basketball championship tournament, which is scheduled for March 11-15, also in Albuquerque.
    Those who were players, coaches, managers or served those teams in some capacity and have not already been contacted regarding the ceremony are asked to get in touch with the NMAA at 505-923-3280.
    In 1964, Los Alamos won its first basketball title — girls basketball was not a recognized sport at the time — defeating St. Michael’s 76-55 in the Class A championship game. The Hilltoppers, who had a won-loss record of 21-7 that year, were coached by Bob Cox.
    It would be 36 years before Los Alamos claimed another basketball state title.
    Other teams that will be recognized at the ceremony are Class B champion Hatch and Class AA champion Roswell from 1964. The boys and girls championship teams from 1989 will also be honored.

  • Walker signs with Ft. Lewis College

    Many athletes who are looking to continue their careers past the prep level have said deciding where to go to school was a tough, stressful decision.
    Mike Walker isn’t one of them.
    Walker, who will graduate from Los Alamos High School this spring, had a pretty good idea where he wanted to continue his running career and on Wednesday made it official.
    In a ceremony at LAHS Wednesday, Walker signed his National Letter of Intent to participate in cross country with the Fort Lewis Skyhawks.
    Fort Lewis is a Division-II school in Colorado and participates in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which has become a hotbed of runners from northern New Mexico.
    “It was a good fit,” Walker said of his decision to run for the Skyhawks. “I liked the campus and the atmosphere. I talked to the coach and members of the team. They’re good people. It seemed like the right option.”
    Walker, who came into his own as a senior on the Hilltopper squad in 2013, should feel right at home on the Fort Lewis roster. Last season, Fort Lewis featured six runners from New Mexico, including former Rio Rancho runner Preston Charlie and former Sandia standout Zach Chenowith.
    Wednesday was the first day high school athletes could sign letters of intent to join Division-I and Division-II colleges.

  • LA girls are 15th in 4A rankings

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team remains around the middle of the pack in the MaxPreps rankings, while the Hilltopper boys are still trailing all the other Class 4A teams.
    Full rankings of all teams in the state can be found at MaxPreps.com.
    The Hilltopper girls are rated No. 15 according to the website. The Hilltoppers, who are off until Friday, currently sport a record of 10-11 overall and are 2-2 in district play after defeating Capital Saturday in Santa Fe.
    Los Alamos’ two district losses on the season came against Santa Fe, the top-ranked team in 4A and the No. 7-ranked team among all programs in the state, and Española Valley, which is currently ranked No. 6 in 4A.
    Santa Fe, at 21-1, has one of the best records in the state and leads the district with a spotless 4-0 record.
    Following the Demons are Los Lunas in the No. 2 spot and St. Pius X at No. 3. Gallup and Valencia round out the top five on the girls’ side.
    Los Alamos’ boys, who won just their second game of the season Friday night in upending Capital, are 26th and last among all 4A teams heading into this week’s play.
    The Hilltoppers are idle until Saturday when they host Bernalillo.

  • Sports Briefs 02-04-14

    Half-marathon registration open

    Registration for the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs half-marathon is now open online.
    The JMTR is scheduled for May 24.
    The half-marathon is the most popular of the three races at the event and interested runners are encouraged to sign up early as space for the run is limited.
    The JMTR starts on North Mesa and goes up Pajarito Mountain toward the Valles Caldera.
    For more information about the JMTR, visit highaltitudeathletics.org or email race director Tom Stockton at jemezruns@gmail.com.

    Spring parent meeting scheduled for Wednesday at LAHS

    Los Alamos High School will host its spring athletic parent meeting Wednesday.
    A general meeting will start at 6 p.m., then be followed by sports-specific meetings approximately 40 minutes later.
    Anyone whose student-athlete is interested in competing in spring sports should plan to attend the sports-specific meeting — those who attended a general meeting in the fall or winter don’t have to attend the spring general meeting.
    Those planning to attend are asked to register online.
    Information on registration can be found by visiting the athletics’ website at laschools.net.

    Isotopes hosting job fair

  • LA rolls to big win over Capital

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls basketball team thumped the Capital Jaguars to close out the first round of District 2-4A play Saturday night.
    Los Alamos forced Capital into the mercy rule in the third quarter, going up by 35 points late in the quarter.
    It was all Hilltoppers, as the winless Jaguars couldn’t do much to slow them down. The Hilltoppers won going away, 68-30.
    With Saturday’s win, Los Alamos evened its district record to 2-2 with four 2-4A games remaining. Los Alamos (10-11 overall) is idle until Friday when it travels to Bernalillo.
    For the Hilltoppers, McKenzie Logan dropped in 17 points. It was, however, a relatively balanced scoring night for Los Alamos, with Shannon Doyle scoring 10 points, Kiana Zerr putting in 8 and Jordan Duran coming up with 6 points.
    For Capital (0-18), both Selena Gonzales and Julie Gandara both finished with 10 points.

  • Geyer wins top bracket at Cardinal Classic Saturday

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team took 16th out of 25 competing teams at last weekend’s Cardinal Classic tournament.
    Los Alamos earned 104 points at the tournament, which was hosted by Las Vegas Robertson, one of the top small-school programs in the state. While the point total wasn’t enough to get the Hilltoppers anywhere near contention for the team title, it was still good enough to put them ahead of three of their four District 2-4A competitors.
    The tournament was the next-to-last event of the regular season for Los Alamos, which will host its finale Saturday.
    At the Cardinal Classic, Los Alamos’ top wrestler, Brian Geyer, won the 195-pound gold bracket, picking up some big wins along the way, including against Capital’s Jacob Esquibel in the semifinals and Carlos Vega of Silver, a Class 3A state title contender, in the championship round.
    Geyer, a defending state champ from last season, topped Vega 10-6 to pick up the win. Geyer had been held out from competition with an illness about two weeks earlier.
    “I felt pretty good,” he said. “It was a pretty tough tournament and there were a lot of tough teams there. But I got some head-to-heads (victories) there that I wanted to get before state.”

  • Kubicek looks back, forward as he starts his retirement

    It was inevitable, so Jiri Kubicek decided not to delay his decision to retire any longer.
    “Being in this business for 32 years, it was probably going to be only another year. It’s the right time,” he said.
    And with that, the one of the longest-tenured coaches in the history of Los Alamos High School decided to retire.
    Kubicek has put on his whistle for the last time as the head coach of the Los Alamos Hiltopper girls soccer team for the last time. He officially vacated his position Saturday, a position he’s held since 1991.
    During that time, he helped cement the Hilltoppers’ place as one of the top programs in the state. He guided the program to a nearly .700 winning percentage over a 23-year career and two state championships.
    One of the sweetest memories Kubicek said he had during his career was when his daughter, Jessica, knocked in the winning goal to upset the Albuquerque Academy Chargers for the 2003 state title.
    Jessica Kubicek, an all-state performer for the Hilltoppers on defense, capped off what had been a remarkable run in the state playoffs, made all the more impressive by the fact Los Alamos struggled most of that season and was lightly regarded heading into the postseason.

  • LA earns first 2-4A win by downing Capital

    With time winding down in the first half, it looked like the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys basketball was in trouble.
    But a couple of late buckets in the first half gave the team some momentum that it carried into the third quarter.
    Los Alamos trailed the Capital Jaguars by as many as 9 points with about a minute and a half remaining before the break, but Los Alamos, which felt going into Friday night’s game it could outrun the Jaguars up and down the floor, got its fast break offense going from that point on.
    Hilltopper Skyler Veenis scored in transition with only about a second left in the half and Los Alamos dropped in 8 fast-break points in the third quarter, which swung the tide of the contest.
    Los Alamos would hold on to win late, earning a 40-38 victory at Griffith Gymnasium for its first win of the District 2-4A season.
    That long-awaited win snapped a 13-game losing streak for the Hilltoppers (2-19 overall, 1-3 in 2-4A).
    Since the start of district, Los Alamos has had some close calls. It hung with Bernalillo through most of their Jan. 22 meeting before the Spartans pulled away at the end, then was victimized by cold shooting late in both its games against Santa Fe and district-leading Española Valley.
    The Hilltoppers have been hungry for a positive outcome, but finally found it Friday.