• Baseball gets back on track with a pair of big wins

    With a doubleheader sweep of Española Valley High School Saturday afternoon, the Los Alamos High School baseball team kept pace in District 2-5A, which looks as if it will be highly competitive until the end of the season. 

    The Hilltoppers could not have asked for much more success Saturday afternoon, defeating the Sundevils 9-2 in the first game, and following it up with a 17-0 win in game two, showing that LAHS remains a force to be reckoned with in the playoff conversation. 

    Jacob Rutten started the first game on the mound for the Hilltoppers, and displayed the dominant pitching that has carried his team at times this season. He struck out two batters in the first inning to work around a leadoff single, and followed that up in the second inning by striking out two more batters to escape a jam caused by a pair of walks. 

    On offense, the Hilltoppers clicked right away, scoring 3 runs in the first inning thanks to a leadoff walk and an error by the Sundevil centerfielder. Singles by Antonio Gonzales, Rutten and Sam Fisher followed, and LAHS took a 3-0 lead. 

  • Atomic City Update: Girls’ lacrosse program proves to be good for LA

    Of all the things I have seen during this school year, I don’t think I have ever seen as much excitement from a team as I saw this week as the girls’ lacrosse team won its first ever game as a program. 

    For anyone who just happens to wander past Dara Jones Field at Overlook Park during one of the team’s games, there is now way you would know they have only played three games together ever. 

    No, they may not have the skills to match up against talented teams that have been playing together for years. But honestly, that doesn’t matter. 

    I was at the team’s first game of the season, a 15-2 loss against Rio Rancho. To compare the level of skill I saw from the Hilltoppers in that game compared to the effort I saw this week in the team’s 9-2 win against Bosque would be impossible. 

    It is clear that coach Whitney Pryce and her team are working hard every day in practice, and it is great to see that effort be rewarded with positive results. 

    More than anything, this team is trying to grow the sport of lacrosse in this town, and in this state, especially for girls.

  • Boys’ lacrosse falls in home opener


    n a highly physical contest, the Los Alamos High School boys’ lacrosse team was unable to keep pace with the combined team of Cibola and Bosque, falling 9-4 Wednesday at Dara Jones Field in White Rock. 

    This game was the Hilltoppers’ home opener, as the team’s first attempt to play at Dara Jones Field was postponed due to rain and snow in the area on March 15. 

    After falling behind 1-0 early in the contest, LAHS answered right back, as James Flesner scored to tie the score 1-1. 

    But it was quickly evident that Cibola’s attack would be hard to contain, quickly scoring two goals to take a 3-1 lead and gain control.

    By running its offense well from behind the net, Cibola kept LAHS goalie JD Carson off balance and made it difficult for him to get in front of shots, leading to many quality scoring opportunities.

    After James Gutieerez scored for the Hilltoppers to make the score 3-2, Cibola answered back, scoring two goals before halftime to go into the break with a 5-2 advantage. 

  • Hilltoppers take down Moriarty

     After struggling at times early in the season, the offense of the Los Alamos High School softball team has come to life in recent weeks, and it is leading to wins. 

    That continued Tuesday on the road against Moriarty High School, as the Hilltoppers struck for 20 runs in a 20-5 victory. 

    The offensive explosion included 16 hits and four walks, and four Hilltoppers also reached base on errors on defense by the Pintos. 

    LAHS struck for 2 runs in the first inning to get going, and then 8 runs in the second and 9 more runs in the third inning to put the game away. The Hilltoppers added 1 more run in the fourth inning to get to 20 runs for the game, ending the game via the mercy rule after four innings of play. 

    On the mound, Savana Luster had a good outing for the Hilltoppers, giving up 5 runs on eight hits and striking out five batters. 

    After giving up 3 runs in the bottom of the first inning and 2 more runs in the second inning, she settled down, keeping Moriarty scoreless for the final two innings.

  • Girls' lacrosse picks up big win

    Los Alamos High School girls’ lacrosse coach Whitney Pryce could hardly contain her excitement. This season, the program’s first, has been a challenge for Pryce and the 13 girls on her team. In two previous games, the Hilltoppers were blown out, struggling to keep up with teams that had been playing together for far longer. 

    But Tuesday night at Dara Jones Field in White Rock, the Hilltoppers won, defeating Bosque 9-2 and showing significant improvement. Following the handshke line after the game, Pryce jumped for joy back over to her team, the smile on her face easy to spot from anywhere in Overlook Park. 

    “Our communication has gotten increasingly better over time,” Pryce said. “Our defense has improved. We are really working together as a team, and our motto is to stay positive no matter what, even though in some of the previous games we got demolished a little bit.”

    In this game, the Hilltoppers took on a different role, jumping on top early and never letting go of control of the game. 

    Marie Lee got the Hilltopeprs on the scoreboard early, which seemed to build confidence, as the team continued to push forward and force Bosque into mistakes. 

  • Mang brothers lead UNM offense

    Since returning from a hand injury in mid-March, former Los Alamos High School baseball player Jared Mang has been an offensive force for the University of New Mexico, leading the Lobos through a difficult Mountain West conference schedule. 

    Mang, who is considered a future MLB draft prospect, has played in 10 games since coming back from his injury, hitting four home runs and putting together a .314 average. 

    The Lobos have been inconsistent throughout the season in large part due to a pitching staff that does not have a starter with an earned run average under 5.34. 

    Because of the up-and-down pitching, the offense is being counted on to step up and perform, a role Mang has embraced. 

    In the 10 games since his return, the Lobos are 6-4, including wins over Mountain West rivals Air Force and San Diego State. 

    Mang is also hitting for power with consistency. He has hit home runs two games in a row, and has driven in at least one run in three straight games. 

    He currently leads the Lobos with four home runs, despite missing 12 games during the early part of the season. 

    Last year, Mang was the top hitter for the Lobos, collecting 90 hits and a .373 average. 

  • Hilltoppers split pair of games with Academy

    Looking to continue its strong start to District 2-5A play, the Los Alamos High School softball team played a doubleheader Saturday against Albuquerque Academy, losing the first game 8-7 and winning game two 10-8.

    The Hilltoppers had plenty of momentum going into the doubleheader, winning two games in a row, including the district opener against Del Norte 20-0 last week. 

    With senior Reyna Lucero on the mound for LAHS, things appeared to go smooth early on. Lucero allowed only 1 run through the first three innings as the Hilltoppers jumped on top 3-1. 

    However, things began to unravel in the fourth inning, as Lucero allowed 6 runs to score, putting Academy in front 7-3 midway through the game. 

    LAHS fought all the way back, though, picking up 2 runs in the fifth inning and another 2 runs in the seventh inning, tying the score 7-7 heading into the bottom of the seventh. 

    The Hilltoppers could not complete the comeback, however, as Academy scored 1 run in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn an 8-7 victory. 

  • Atomic City Update: District play offers chance for Hilltoppers to live up to potential

    With the non-district portion of baseball and softball season in the rearview mirror, it’s time to see what the teams at Los Alamos High School are really made of. 

    For both teams, it was a very up-and-down start to the season, as consistency was hard to come by. 

    I have watched both teams quite a bit, and they can be very exciting. It’s fun to see Arthur Steinkamp and Jacob Rutten pitch for the baseball team, and Reyna Lucero brings a ton of excitement to the mound for the softball team. 

    But with the baseball team standing at 7-7, and the softball team at 7-6, the hope is that they are able to string some wins together now that district play is underway. And if that’s possible in any district, it’s 2-5A. 

    This year is similar to previous years, where LAHS tries to challenge itself during non-district play, only to roll through the district schedule with relative ease. Last year, the softball team entered district play with a record of 6-6, and then went 11-1 to claim the district championship behind an explosive offensive attack that feasted on lesser pitching. 

  • High Flyers win state championships

    Five High Flyers gymnasts won state championship titles and 11 others placed either second or third in the New Mexico USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Championships this month. The five first place winners included Lauren Evenhus, Level 2 uneven bars, floor exercise and all-around champion, River Irving, Level 3 vault champion, Anna Kirkland, Level 4 vault champion, Gianna Rolfe, Level 2 vault champion, and Siena Rolfe, Level 5 balance beam champion. In total, 34 gymnasts competed for High Flyers in the March state championships in Levels 2 through 6. Competing in Level 6, Gianna Benelli won third place on floor exercise. Sarah Worley placed fifth on floor exercise and seventh all-around.

    In Level 5 competition, Siena Rolfe placed second on uneven bars and was second all-around, Sarah Newman took second on balance beam, and Megan Martinez placed third on vault, balance beam, floor exercise, and all-around.  

    Elaina Irving placed fourth on balance beam and was fifth all-around, while Emily Smith finished in sixth place.

    Four gymnasts competed in the Level 4 championships. In addition to her first place win on vault, Anna Kirkland placed second on balance beam, third on uneven bars, and was second all-around. Mairen Hoch placed third on vault.  

  • LAHS softball dominates Del Norte

     If Wednesday’s District 2-5A opener is any indication, the Los Alamos High School softball team is in good shape to make a return to the state playoffs. 

    Facing Del Norte High School at Overlook Park, the Hilltoppers dominated, winning 20-0 and ending the game via the mercy rule after three innings. 

    Del Norte entered the game struggling, losing consecutive games to Albuquerque High And Valley, giving up 15 runs in both games and only managing to score one run combined. 

    Those struggles carried over for the Knights against LAHS, as the Hilltoppers jumped on top 6-0 in the first inning. 

    The first six batters of the game all reached for LAHS, including four walks, all of which came around to score. Jordan Jaramillo picked up the first big hit of the game for the Hilltoppers, as she doubled to score 3 runs. 

    Already holding a commanding lead entering the second inning, LAHS never took the foot off the gas.

    The first seven batters of the second inning all reached base and scored, including doubles by Jordan Jaramillo, Terri Jaramillo and Reyna Lucero.