• Atomic City Update: Tough schedules will lead to great success for LAHS soccer

    Heading into this school year, it was clear that soccer season would not be a walk in the park for Los Alamos High School. After being moved into a new district that lacked soccer powerhouses, LAHS put together tough non-district schedules designed to challenge the Hilltoppers. 

    It has certainly been a challenge. Entering district play this week, the girls’ soccer team has a record of 6-4, while the boys are 8-5. Many of the teams LAHS has faced will be at the state soccer tournament next month. The results of these matches has been mixed, though it is clear both teams have work to do before being considered favorites for a state championship. 

    However, I believe these tough early-season battles will pay off down the road. 

    As both teams enter district play, the schedule lightens considerably. This is the time for the Hilltoppers to pile up wins and further build their cases for high seeds in the state tournament. 

  • Hilltoppers lose second straight home game

    For the second time in six days, the Los Alamos High School football team suffered a lopsided defeat on its home field. Thursday night at Sullivan Field, the Valencia High School Jaguars dominated the Hilltoppers 48-7, using a high-powered passing attack and a tough defense to stay in control from start to finish. 

    It was a rare Thursday night football game in Los Alamos, played early to accommodate Valencia’s fall break, which began on Friday. Thursday night games are more common in places like Albuquerque, where lots of schools have to play on a limited number of fields, making the schedule more difficult to assemble. 

    Even with one fewer day to prepare, the Hilltoppers looked strong on their first offensive drive, using a strong rushing attack led by quarterback Dylan Irish and running back Cade Yost. A long run down the field by Yost set LAHS up inside the 10 yard line, and Irish ran it in to the end zone from there untouched. An extra point by Ethan Hunt made the score 7-0 in favor of LAHS. 

    From that point forward, Valencia dominated. Every time the Jaguars’ first-team offense had the ball for a full drive, it scored a touchdown. 

  • Golf teams continue strong play at Belen Invitational

    Throughout the fall golf season, the teams from Los Alamos High School have proven they will be tough to beat for a state championship. That continued last week at Pendaries Golf Course near Las Vegas, New Mexico, where the top golfers at LAHS went toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the state and put on a great show.

    The Hilltopper boys earned first place at the tournament with a team score of 330. Cleveland finished in second place with a team score of 340, and Belen, the host school, finished in third place with a score of 345. A total of eight schools participated in the event. 

    It was a tight battle throughout the day between LAHS and Cleveland, as the Storm earned the top-two overall scores. Lorne Fishburn earned a score of 74, while Enrique Armijo earned a score of 76. 

    However, the depth of the Hilltoppers proved to be stronger. Henry Poston earned fourth place overall with a score of 78, and Landon Burk finished right behind him with a score of 82. 

    All four of the scorers for the Hilltoppers finished with scores of 83 or under, as Mateo Maestas and Davis Johnson both finished with rounds of 83 to help lead the Hilltoppers to victory. 

  • LAHS takes on tough competition in Colorado

    In the early stages of cross country season, the teams from Los Alamos High School have proven they can compete against the best teams in the state. Last weekend in Northglenn, Colorado, the Hilltoppers proved they could compete on the regional stage as well. 

    At the Pat Amato Classic, both the boys and girls from LAHS finished in second place in a meet full of Colorado’s best teams. 

    Many of the boys had their best performances of the season, including Duncan Fuehne, who finished in second place overall at the meet with a time of 15:52.52. Steven Strevell continued his outstanding senior season with a seventh place finish in a time of 16:07.21. Rafael Sanchez finished close behind him in ninth place with a time of 16:12.15. 

    After the top three LAHS finishers, there was a small gap before Wyatt Watson finished in 32nd place with a time of 17:14.78 and Elijah Velasquez finished in 34th place with a time of 17:20.43. 

    Overall, the team’s pack time was 1:27, and the Hilltoppers earned only 84 points from its top five runners. 

  • LAHS volleyball dominates Española to extend win streak

    In most matches, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team uses a combination of forceful attacks and strong blocking to defeat opponents. Tuesday night against Española Valley, though, the team was opportunistic, taking advantage of errors by the Sundevils to gain control of the match and earn a convincing 3-0 win. 

    No matter the method, the Hilltoppers are on a roll. The win over Española Valley pushed the team’s winning streak to four matches, including the first two District 2-4A matches. Last year, the team won only one district match in eight tries. 

    Early on in the match, it was clear the Hilltoppers were confident. LAHS jumped out to a quick 8-1 lead in the first set, and the team was outplaying Española Valley in every facet of the game. Though the Sundevils made the set close toward the end, the consistency of the Hilltoppers made it impossible for Española Valley to take control. The Hilltoppers took the first set 25-22. 

  • Atomic City Update: Don’t look ahead: Enjoy LAHS football’s best start since 2007

    As sports fans, it’s often easy to forget about the present and start worrying about the future. It is especially bad in professional sports, where fans constantly worry about a player’s contract future, and who will replace them when they are gone. In a fan’s mind, a regular season often loses its significance. It is difficult for some people to just enjoy every game as it comes, because they are so worried about how every game affects their favorite team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs. 

    When the season really does end, fans are often filled with regret because they did not enjoy the season as much as they should have because they were always filled with thoughts of what came next. 

    This seems especially relevant right now, as the Los Alamos High School football team is off to its best start since 2007. 

    Currently, the Hilltoppers have a 4-1 record, with the team’s only loss coming on the road against Class 4A’s top team, Taos. 

    The start has been impressive, especially as many starting players have dealt with injuries, specifically quarterback Dylan Irish and running back Cade Yost. 

  • Young players continue to step up for Hilltoppers

    It has been far from an easy start to the season for the Los Alamos High School boys’ soccer team. Heading into the year, a learning curve was to be expected for the Hilltoppers, a team that graduated 11 key players in May and had to find a way to work young players into a group that advanced to the state semifinals last year. 

    One of the ways the Hilltoppers hoped to ease that transition was with its trio of captains, Jared Carnes, Jesse Prime and Arthur Steinkamp. All three of the players had large roles on last year’s team, as Steinkamp led the team in scoring, Carnes was a force in the midfield and Prime stabilized everything on the back line. 

    However, all three have dealt with injuries early this season, forcing LAHS head coach Ron Blue to make adjustments almost every game. 

    Prime has yet to play in a game this season as he continued to deal with a leg injury. Carnes had a great start to the season, but has been dealing with an injury in his back that makes it difficult to play. 

  • Girls’ soccer loses tight contest against Cleveland

    In one of the toughest tests of the season to date, the Los Alamos High School girls’ soccer team did everything right except win. 

    Facing Cleveland High School Saturday morning at Sullivan Field, the Hilltoppers played well, but gave up a goal in the final moments in a 2-1 loss. 

    Despite the loss, head coach Ann Cernicek described the contest as her team’s “best game to date,” and for good reason. 

    Early on, it appeared the Hilltoppers were better than the Storm. 

    The team did a good job of possessing the ball, and kept dangerous opportunities away from goalkeeper Annika Fox throughout the early minutes. 

    Much of the first half was played in the middle of the field, with neither team able to mount a meaningful attack on goal. 

    The game was scoreless into the 34th minute, when Cleveland jumped on top on a beautiful goal by Madyson Barela. 

    She took a hard shot that Fox had no chance to stop, and the Storm took a 1-0 lead. 

  • LAHS escapes Gallup with a victory

    A week after pulling of one of the biggest upsets in recent memory, the Los Alamos High School football team traveled to Gallup High School to take on the Bengals, and it was anything but smooth. Despite moving the ball well all evening, the Hilltoppers had trouble scoring, and held on for a 7-0 victory. 

    LAHS entered the game with a 3-1 record, while Gallup entered 1-4. A week earlier, the Bengals fell to Española Valley 48-6. To say these were teams that appeared headed in opposite directions would be an understatement. 

    However, Friday night, they appeared as evenly matched as any two teams in the state. 

    Twice in the first quarter, the Hilltoppers moved the ball down the field with ease. On the first possession, quarterback Dylan Irish connected on a pass with Jacob Dunwoody to set LAHS up inside the Gallup 10-yard line. Three plays later, Lawrence Armenta was stopped near the goal line, hading the ball to Gallup. 

    After a forced punt, the Hilltoppers once again moved the ball inside the 10-yard line. But Gallup stepped up defensively again, and Irish was stopped on the 2-yard line on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Bengals. 

  • Volleyball finishes non-district play on high note

    As high school volleyball season heads into district play, it appears the Los Alamos High School Hilltoppers are ready to get on a roll. The team picked up its second straight home win Tuesday night, taking down Capital High School 3-1. 

    Earlier this season, at Santa Fe’s Tournament of Champions, Capital defeated the Hilltoppers in straight sets, though the match was close throughout. 

    At the beginning of Tuesday’s match, it appeared Capital might take control again, as the Jaguars jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the first set. Capital was able to maintain a small advantage for most of the set, though the Hilltoppers kept it close. 

    Toward the end of the set, LAHS became more aggressive and took the lead. 

    After surrendering three points in a row, Capital had a set point, but the Hilltoppers did not fold under the pressure. 

    Elise Olivas recorded back-to-back kills on soft shots into the middle of the floor and Natalie Gallegos fired a hard shot into the backcourt to win the first set 26-24 for LAHS.