• Friday Night Lights

    The good news for the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team is the learning curve on either side of the ball isn’t going to be very steep.
    Los Alamos opens its 2013 season Friday night and has several veterans on its roster heading into opening night when the Hilltoppers head down the hill to take on the Pojoaque Valley Elks.
    The only big loss on the offensive side of the ball is bruising fullback Arnoldo Ortiz, a three-year starter in the Hilltopper backfield. Beyond that, the skill position players are back, along with some athletic newcomers.
    Los Alamos head coach Garett Williams knows his team and his team knows their jobs.
    “We’re way ahead of where we’d normally be at this time of year,” said Williams. “Before, it would’ve taken three or four games to hit our stride. But these guys, with the experience they have, we’re looking good right now.”
    Friday’s game could be an interesting test. Pojoaque Valley was humbled 55-14 in the 2012 opener at Sullivan Field, but the Elks have upgraded on the offensive line — three players are at or near the 300-pound mark — and have promising athletes in the backfield.
    That game could be the first of a salty nondistrict season for the Hilltoppers.

  • Bosque tops LA in shootout

    The Bosque School Bobcats made it a boy-girl sweep over the Los Alamos Hilltoppers in a soccer doubleheader Tuesday in Albuquerque.
    Los Alamos’ girls soccer team scored its first goal of the season in the second half to force overtime against Bosque’s Bobcats.
    After two scoreless overtime periods, Bosque prevailed in a shootout 6-5 to take a 2-1 victory.
    It was Los Alamos’ second loss to start 2013, although assistant coach Paul Criscuolo, filling in for absent head coach Jiri Kubicek, said he saw better performance from the Hilltoppers against Bosque than he saw in Saturday’s debut loss.
    “We had some good improvements from the Farmington game,” said Criscuolo, who is a longtime assistant under Kubicek. “The girls were more physical, they passed the ball better. We still have things to work out. We have a new lineup and we’re trying to create a better energy level.”
    Los Alamos, which was shut out 2-0 at home against Farmington, got some better offensive movement against Bosque, a quality small school.
    Los Alamos actually outshot Bosque by a healthy 23-7 margin for the contest, although Criscuolo said only 10 of those shots were on goal.

  • LA boys fall in first game of year to Bosque School

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team had some defensive issues in the first half of its season opener Tuesday.
    Los Alamos allowed a pair of goals to the Bosque School Bobcats in Tuesday’s game in Albuquerque.
    Things got a little better in the second half for Los Alamos, but it would still end up on the short end of the contest, 2-1.
    Bosque was set up with its first big chance of the game on a Los Alamos handball in the first half. Then, Los Alamos didn’t properly set up its wall on the ensuing free kick, occurring just outside its penalty box, and the Bobcats took advantage.
    The Bobcats (1-0), who made the state championship contest in Class A-3A last season, took advantage of another defensive communication later in the half for their second goal.
    The Hilltoppers regrouped after halftime, however, and looked much better in the second half, although they would only find the goal once.
    “The biggest thing was improvement,” Los Alamos head coach Evan Gartz said. “In the first half, our lack of experience was huge. With only having four or five guys with real varsity experience, it showed, especially in the first half.”
    The Hilltoppers debuted several new players Tuesday after losing many key starters to graduation, particularly in the midfield.

  • Just Starting Out

    Los Alamos’ Collin Stone, seen here in a 2012 game against Albuquerque Academy, and the rest of the Hilltoppers open their season today against a tough Class A-3A school, Bosque, this afternoon. They open at home Friday morning.

  • Boys, girls XC places 6 in the top 10 at La Cueva scrimmage

    Colin Hemez was the top finisher in the boys side of the Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country team at Saturday’s scrimmage in Albuquerque.
    As they have for the last several seasons, the Hilltoppers ran against the La Cueva Bears in a preseason scrimmage. The Bears are among the better Class 5A teams in the state, but the Hilltoppers had a very strong showing on both the boys and the girls side.
    Los Alamos officially opens its season Sept. 7 at the University of New Mexico Invitational.
    The Hilltoppers sent 30 girls and 35 boys to Saturday’s scrimmage.
    Hemez, a senior and one of Los Alamos’ top returners this season, finished in 16 minutes, 52 seconds, more than a minute ahead of the Hilltoppers’ next-best finisher, Connor Bailey.
    Los Alamos placed six runners in the top 10 on the boys side against La Cueva.
    On the girls side, Sophia Galvez led six runners who also made the top 10 in the two-team competition. Galvez is just starting her sophomore year but had a strong freshman debut in track and field during the spring.
    Saturday, she finished in a time of 20:21.
    Returner Mikayla Pulliam was just 13 seconds behind Galvez and Amanda Mercer was 24 seconds behind Pulliam to crack the top five.

  • On Schedule 08-25-13


    Football: St. Pius X at Los Alamos, JV, 4:30 p.m.


    Girls soccer: Los Alamos at Bosque School, varsity, 3:30 p.m.

    Boys soccer: Los Alamos at Bosque School, varsity, 5:30 p.m.


    Girls soccer: Moriarty at Los Alamos, varsity, 4 p.m.

    Boys soccer: Los Alamos at Cleveland, JV, 4 p.m.


    Boys soccer: Los Alamos vs. Goddard at Louie Cernicek Invite, 8:30 a.m.

    Football: Los Alamos at Pojoaque Valley, varsity, 7 p.m.


    Boys soccer: Los Alamos at Louie Cernicek Invite, TBA.

    Cross country: LAMS at Peñasco Middle School, boys and girls seventh and eighth grade, 8 a.m.

  • LA drops season opener to Farmington

    It was an inauspicious start to the 2013 season for the Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team Saturday.
    Los Alamos debuted at home against another Class 4A squad, the Farmington Scorpions, but it was the Scorpions that settled into their game before the Hilltoppers.

    Farmington forward Hannah Kelley scored at the end of both halves, breaking the scoreless tie in the 37th minute, then putting away a freebee goal late in the game as her team won 2-0 at Sullivan Field.

    It was the first game of a tough early season schedule for the Hilltoppers. Hilltopper head coach Jiri Kubicek knew he’d get to see quickly what his team’s deficiencies are and had some notes for his squad after its opener.

    “Better communication, better support, better team effort,” said Kubicek. “We didn’t see much of that effort today. You have to be more in control. We just didn’t do that.”

    Both teams featured a high percentage of sophomores on their opening day rosters, but the Scorpions were largely sophomores with just a sprinkling of upperclassmen mixed in.

    But the Scorpions looked like the more seasoned team.

    Their defense slowed down Los Alamos’ main scoring threat, Catie McDonald, who only had a couple of good looks throughout.

  • Vance wins this week’s Pace Race

    Because of heavy rains Tuesday, much of the markings on the Pace Race’s 3-mile trail were washed away.
    Despite the tough navigating, however, Linda Vance still managed the best prediction of the week.
    The Pace Race is a weekly event hosted by the Atomic City Roadrunners. Tuesday’s run went through Bayo Canyon and Rendija Canyon.
    Vance was just 15 seconds off her predicted finish time, easily topping the field.
    Karen Thorn was 30 seconds off, Ted Romero 33 seconds off and Jennifer Reglien, running on the 1-mile course, was off by 63 seconds.
    On the shorter course, Mariela Vargas was the fastest finisher with her time of 9 minutes, 54 seconds.
    Romero finished the long course in a time of 22:49. Roxana Candia had a time of 30:44.
    The next Pace Race will be 6 p.m. Tuesday.
    The race will start at the Montessori school in Quemazon.
    For more information about the Pace Race or the Atomic City Roadrunners, contact 672-1639 or visit the club’s website, atomicrunners.com. 

  • Hilltoppers will be challenged this season

    In more ways than one, this season for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys soccer team will be about transition.

    Los Alamos, which opens the fall season Tuesday, will be looking at transition between defense to offense, offense to defense and, most importantly, transition from a battle-tested, senior-laden team to one with a lot of new personnel in a lot of new positions.

    The Hilltoppers open their 2013 campaign on the road at Bosque School, the first of some challenging contests in the early going.

    The opening day roster features a dozen seniors, which some would say is enviable, but most of the seniors for Los Alamos played very limited minutes on last year’s squad. Offensively, 8 of their top 10 goal producers from 2012 are gone.

    The biggest loss to graduation, however, is center-midfielder Henry Steinkamp. Steinkamp ran the offensive show and was the team’s distributor, finishing the season with 15 assists, as many as the next two players combined.

    The main challenge for Los Alamos heading into Tuesday’s opener against Bosque, a very tough Class A-3A program which was the small school runner-up last season, is to try to see how all its pieces are going to fit together.

  • Sports Briefs 08-22-13

    Car wash will benefit Hawk football

    The Los Alamos Middle School Hawk football team will host a car wash Saturday.
    The car wash will start at 9 a.m. at the Shell Station in Los Alamos. Proceeds from the event will go to help the LAMS football program.

    YMCA offering martial arts classes

    The Family YMCA of Los Alamos is accepting registrations for its fall martial arts classes.
    Classes will include Tae Kwon Do, Jujitsu, kickboxing and others. There are classes for adults (ages 13 and up) and youth (ages 7-12).
    Those interested are asked to call 662-3100 for more information.