• LAHS football in playoff chase as district play begins

    Heading into district play, the Los Alamos High School football team is in good position despite struggling throughout the past two games. Overall, the Hilltoppers are 4-3 this season, and have as many wins as their district opponents combined. 

    Santa Fe High School, which entered this season with a 33-game losing streak, has shown improvement and currently has a 2-5 record. The Demons defeated Española Valley 23-22 on the road Sept. 7 and Bernalillo 17-15 at home on Sept. 21. 

    Much like the Hilltoppers, though, Santa Fe has struggled recently, losing its last two games by a combined score of 89-6. 

    In what could be an important game in District 2-5A, LAHS and Santa Fe will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ivan Head Stadium in Santa Fe. 

    After that game, the Hilltoppers will head to Capital High School to take on the Jaguars Oct. 26. Capital has struggled throughout this season, and has a 1-5-1 record heading into district play. 

    Since defeating Pojoaque Valley 67-14 in the first game of the season, Capital has been outscored 224-48, and has lost five games in a row. In its last game, Capital was defeated 47-0 on the road in Portales. 

  • Cross country teams dominate at Northern New Mexico Challenge

    As the end of cross country season draws nearer, it appears the teams from Los Alamos High School are getting stronger every week. Friday afternoon at the Northern New Mexico Challenge in Santa Fe, the Hilltopper boys and girls dominated and won by more than 65 points in both races. 

    The action kicked off with the girls’ race, and LAHS freshman Norissa Valdez proved quickly why she is one of the top runners in the state. Valdez separated herself from the pack within the first mile, and opened a sizable lead throughout the race. She finished in first place overall with a time of 19:59. The second place finisher, Alyx Mastor from Taos, was nearly a full minute behind Valdez with a time of 20:56. 

    After Mastor, the Hilltoppers dominated the race, finishing in third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh places. 

    All five of the runners finished within 12 seconds of each other, as Hannah Gartz had a time of 21:00, Mabel Pyle finished in 21:05, Tia Hartzol had a time of 21:07, Abby Beus finished in 21:10 and Marin Kelly had a time of 21:12. 

  • Atomic City Update: It’s the best time of year for sports fans

    Many people consider the Christmas season to be the most wonderful time of the year, but I would have to disagree. The most wonderful time of the year is right now, especially if you are a sports fan. 

    Sure, other times of the year have good arguments, too. In June, the NBA Finals and NHL Finals are going on at the same time, and baseball is in the middle of its regular season. In March, college basketball hosts the best tournament in sports while basketball and hockey conclude their regular seasons and baseball gets ready to go. 

    But there is nothing quite like late October. Major League Baseball is getting ready to crown a champion. The National Football League is in full swing. Hockey and basketball are just getting going, and fans of every team still have a reason to be optimistic. Plus, college football is entering conference play, raising the stakes even higher. 

    Some of my best memories from my childhood are from this time of the year, when I would obsessively channel flip between a hockey game, a Monday Night Football game and a World Series game. As far back as I can remember, I just couldn’t get enough. 

  • ‘Dig Pink!’ match has special meaning for local volleyball players

    Around the country this month, high school volleyball teams are helping to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research with “Dig Pink!” matches, where players dress in pink jerseys, hold silent auctions and raffles. 

    In Los Alamos, the “Dig Pink!” match will be Tuesday, when the Hilltoppers take on Pojoaque Valley High School. The C team match begins at 4 p.m., junior varsity will take the court at 5 p.m. and varsity will compete at 6 p.m.

    Prior to the match, the players will decorate Griffith Gymnasium with pink ribbons and balloons, providing a special atmosphere for everyone involved. Prior to the varsity match, victims and survivors will be honored inside the gym.

    This year’s match will hold special meaning for two Hilltoppers, who have recently been personally affected by cancer. Senior libero Kyla Sandoval’s father Louie passed away last year after a fight with esophageal cancer, while senior middle hitter Janessa Gonzales’s mother survived breast cancer and her aunt is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. 

  • LAHS loses homecoming game to Hope Christian

    After three weeks of flying high, the Los Alamos High School football team came crashing back down to Earth on Homecoming weekend, as the Hope Christian Huskies invaded Sullivan Field and dominated the Hilltoppers 45-2. 

    LAHS entered the game with a 4-1 record for the first time in more than a decade, and felt confident going up against the No. 1 team in Class 3A. 

    However, across 48 minutes of football, the Huskies showed the Hilltoppers just how difficult it is to enter the realm of New Mexico high school football’s elite teams. 

    At every turn, Hope Christian exposed LAHS’ weaknesses.  The Hilltoppers struggle to defend a strong passing attack, and the Huskies took advantage time and time again, with a pair of first half touchdown passes to go up 14-0. 

    The first came at the end of a long drive for Hope Christian, as senior quarterback Vince Quezada rolled out of the pocket at the 10-yard line and found senior wide receiver Jake Cosper wide open in the back of the end zone. 

  • Cross country continues strong start at Academy Invite

    The Los Alamos High School cross country teams had another successful weekend in Albuquerque, as both the boys and girls finished in second place despite facing stiff competition. 

    The varsity boys got the action started for the Hilltoppers, placing three boys among the top seven finishers. Senior Duncan Fuehne was forth overall with a time of 16:10. Junior Steven Strevell finished right behind him in fifth place with a time of 16:11 and sophomore Rafael Sanchez finished in seventh place with a time of 16:22. 

    Freshman Keith Bridge was the fourth runner for LAHS, finishing in 30th place with a time of 17:29. Rounding out the scoring for the Hilltoppers was Hunter Swavely, who finished in fifth place with a time of 17:34. 

    Overall, Albuquerque Academy finished just two points ahead of the Hilltoppers to win the meet. Academy finished with 73 points, while LAHS finished with 75. 

    Following the boys’ race, it was the girls’ turn to take on the course. It was another strong performance for the Hilltoppers, led by freshman Norissa Valdez. Valdez has been the top finisher for LAHS in every meet this season, a feat that continued in Albuquerque. 

  • Volleyball starts district play with road win

    With a 3-2 win over Moriarty High School on the road Tuesday night, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team has as many wins over district opponents as it collected through the entire 2017 season. 

    It was a strong district opener for the Hilltoppers, and continued a streak of impressive performances over the past several weeks. This was the third win in a row for LAHS, a streak that began for the Hilltoppers Sept. 19 at home against Cleveland. 

    In that match, and the ones that have followed, the Hilltoppers have been a strong attacking team that limits its errors and takes full advantage of errors by the opposition. That was truer than ever against Moriarty. 

    Early on, LAHS struggled to get into a rhythm and many players were out of position on rallies. However, because of attack and service errors by Moriarty, the Hilltoppers were able to remain close until they found their groove. 

    That happened late in the first set, when LAHS was able to turn a tied set into a four-point lead. Due to strong attacking by Natalie Gallegos, Sophia Salazar and Eden Schmierer, the Hilltoppers were able to maintain that lead and take the first set 25-21. 

  • 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.