• Hilltopper baseball picks up key bounceback wins

    In an important weekend tournament in Artesia, the Los Alamos High School baseball team began to get back on track, winning a pair of games against district rival Moriarty and Lovington. 

    Those wins come after a pair of disappointing shutout losses last week against Albuquerque Academy and Santa Teresa, both of them ending 4-0 and featuring very few signs of life for the Hilltopper offense. In the loss to Albuquerque Academy, LAHS collected only three hits and no batter got past second base. 

    One of the biggest issues in the first few games of the season has been driving the ball consistently and collecting extra base hits, which LAHS did more successfully over the weekend with double digit outbursts.

    The team’s offensive troubles fell by the wayside, as LAHS defeated Moriarty 10-2 and Lovington 11-4. The win over Moriarty is especially significant as the Hilltoppers will be competing against the Pintos directly once the district season begins. 

    LAHS will travel to Moriarty for the first district game of the season April 2. 

  • LAHS softball struggles against Belen

    The Los Alamos High School softball team is still searching for its best combinations in the lineup and on the mound, and has struggled a bit in the early part of the season. That struggle continued Friday afternoon against Belen, as the Hilltoppers fell 15-5. 

    In the past week, pitching has become the major issue for the Hilltoppers, as the team dropped a 17-0 decision March 19 at Los Lunas, than gave up 15 runs to Belen Friday. 

    LAHS lost last year’s top pitcher, Reyna Lucero, to graduation and has been searching for a way to replace her innings. 

    Senior Savana Luster has done a nice job stepping into a big role on the mound, while junior Katie Wimer and sophomore Aspen DeHerrera have also taken on key roles on the mound. More progress is expected from the trio as the season moves toward district play. 

    Friday afternoon, LAHS jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning, but surrendered it immediately. Belen answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning and never gave up the lead. 

  • LAHS softball drops thriller to Academy

    In a back-and-forth battle between former district rivals, the Los Alamos High School softball team came up just short, losing 14-13 to Albuquerque Academy at Overlook Park. 

    Trailing 14-11 in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, it appeared the Hilltoppers would go down quietly. The first two batters of the inning went down on a groundout and a strikeout, putting the Chargers one out from victory. 

    Alicia Gonzales popped up to the second baseman on a play that looked like it would end the game, but none of the Academy fielders went for the ball and it dropped in, giving LAHS new life. 

    Janessa Gonzales was hit by a pitch, and Claire Bluhm singled in Alicia Gonzales, cutting the lead to 14-12. 

    Katie Wimer, the Hilltopper starting pitcher, lined a double into the left field gap, scoring Janessa Gonzales and advancing Bluhm, the potential game tying run to third base. 

    The drama ended with the next batter, Maya McMillan, though. She popped the ball up to the pitcher, ending the game and allowing the Chargers to escape with a 14-13 victory. 

  • Atomic City Update: LAHS boys’ basketball exceeded expectations with trip to district semifinals

    Heading into this basketball season, my expectations for the Los Alamos High School boys’ team were quite low. I never doubted they had talent, I just wondered how the team would play offensively and also wondered about the leadership qualities of members of the team. 

    Despite the disappointing 9-20 record of the team, the kids flashed a lot of potential that should serve them in the future. All season, the defense was strong, actively challenging passes and contesting shots at the rim. 

    Though the team did not have a lot of players with size under the basket, LAHS held a lot of teams in check and did a good job for the most part grabbing rebounds. 

    After showing flashes of brilliance a year ago, Gavin Campos emerged as the offensive leader for the Hilltoppers, working well in tandem with senior David Owen to create a strong 1-2 punch that teams were forced to defend against. 

  • LAHS swimmers break long-held school records

    In swimming, progress is often seen in milliseconds, impossible for the human eye to see. That’s why, when something as impressive as breaking an existing school record happens, it is important for coaches and teammates to recognize the accomplishment. That was the case at this year’s state championship meet for two local swimmers, Orion Henderson and Ian Jaegers. 

    Henderson broke Matt Walters’ school record in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 1:56.32. The previous record stood since 1988. 

    Jaegers broke Will Clay’s school record in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 53.62. The previous record stood since 2001. 

    Los Alamos High School swimming coach Stu Corliss said he was proud of the accomplishments, and acknowledged how rare something like that is. 

    “Once every 10 or 20 years, you get lucky to have some really outstanding swimmers,” Corliss said. “It’s not like we have some pipeline that constantly brings new people into our program.”

  • LAHS softball sweeps doubleheader against Capital

    The Los Alamos High School softball team made Robbie Harris’ debut as head coach one to remember, as the Hilltoppers swept a doubleheader from Capital in dramatic fashion, 17-7 and 12-11.

    Harris has been a club softball coach in Los Alamos for several years, and took many of the girls on this year’s high school team to a regional tournament in Louisiana two summers ago. He has also been an assistant to former head coach Randy Burditt for several years, coaching first base. 

    As head coach, he moved over to coach third base this year, and his players made sure he was active over there in his debut, as the team scored 29 runs across the doubleheader. 

    In the first game of the day, LAHS fell behind 5-0 going into the bottom of the third inning, but quickly caught up. 

    LAHS junior Katie Wimer got the scoring started for the Hilltoppers with a two-run home run in the third inning, and the offense took off from there. 

    The Hilltoppers scored 6 runs in the third inning and added another 7 runs in the fourth inning. Part of the fourth inning explosion included another home run from Wimer, who drove in 5 runs in the game. 

  • Hilltoppers fall in first round of state tournament to Highland

    All season, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team’s biggest strength was its size. Against nearly every team on its schedule, the Hilltoppers had a size advantage that it exploited to find success. 

    In the first round of the state tournament, though, LAHS ran into a rare opponent with even more size, creating a tough matchup. Though the Hilltoppers hung tough for a while, Highland High School proved to have too much depth and talent for the Hilltoppers to handle, as the Hornets defeated LAHS 62-38.

    LAHS ends the season with an overall record of 13-16. Though the Hilltoppers had their sights set on higher goals, the team made great progress throughout the season, more than doubling their win total from a season ago. 

    Each of the past two seasons, LAHS finished with records of 6-21, winning only one district game each season. This year, the Hilltoppers were in control of District 2-4A for much of the season and finished with a 6-2 record against district opponents, good for second place. 

  • Hockey wins league championship

    Despite being the top seed in the Year End Tournament, the road to the Rio Grande High School Hockey League championship was anything but easy for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers. The team overcame a loss in the semifinals, battled back in the consolation bracket and defeated the Amarillo Big Texans 3-2 to claim the championship.

    After going 15-3-2 in the regular season, the Hilltoppers earned an automatic bye to the quarterfinals, where the team faced Telluride. 

    Despite being heavily favored in the matchup, the Hilltoppers had trouble gaining traction. Telluride led 2-1 after the first period, and the game was tied 3-3 in the final period. Telluride, however, ran into penalty issues in the late stages of the game, and the Hilltoppers took full advantage. LAHS struck for three late goals and won the game 6-3, advancing to the semifinals to take on Amarillo.

    It was clear early in the game that the Hilltoppers were struggling against an Amarillo team with a lot of speed and physicality. The Big Texans jumped out on top, and rode that momentum to a 3-0 lead in the blink of an eye. 

  • Boys’ basketball advances to district tournament semifinals

    All throughout the regular season, Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball coach Mike Kluk knew his team had enough talent to compete against any team. Now, in the district tournament, his team is proving it with an unlikely run to the semifinals. 

    LAHS finished the regular season with a district record of 2-6, good enough to earn the No. 4 seed and host the first round of the district tournament. LAHS easily dispatched Moriarty in the first round 64-53, then advanced to the quarterfinals and defeated Pojoaque 47-43.

    Monday night against Moriarty, the Hilltopper offense came out of the locker room on fire, building a 16-2 lead in the blink of an eye. 

    The team knocked down eight shots from the floor in the opening quarter, and was led offensively by Gavin Campos and David Owen, who both made great passes to set up opportunities and converted every opportunity that came their way. 

    LAHS extended its lead to 33-16 by halftime, as Campos scored 10 points and Owen added 8 points. 

  • Atomic City Update: Sportsmanship remains important, even in the tough times

    When you are competing in anything, there is nothing more important than sportsmanship. Whether you win or lose, you have to be able to look your opponent in the eye and tell them, “Good game.”

    Everyone has the ability to be graceful, and appreciative of the opportunity to compete. It helps me determine who has strong character, because nothing reveals a person’s true colors like how they act after a competition. 

    The people who will get ahead in life are the graceful winners, and especially the graceful losers, who are able to set aside whatever hurt they may be feeling to congratulate an opponent. 

    In the last week, I have seen a few acts that directly contradict the New Mexico Activities Association’s motto, “Compete with Class.”

    At the state wrestling tournament, one of Los Alamos High School’s wrestlers was defeated by a wrestler from Los Lunas High School. The competitors were completely cordial, and LAHS’ wrestler handled defeat with lots of class.