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  • Hilltopper hockey gets back in win column

    For the first time in nearly two months, the Los Alamos High School hockey team got into the win column, winning two games against the Taos Ice Tigers last weekend.

    The Hilltoppers entered the weekend on a 10-game winless streak, dating back to Dec. 16. Throughout the long drought, defense proved to be a problem for the team, allowing five or more goals eight times.

    Against Taos, however, the defense stepped up in a big way for LAHS, allowing just two combined goals in two games to end the regular season.

    Friday evening, the Hilltoppers started scoring early and did not allow Taos a chance to respond. Just three minutes into the game, Tyler Weiss scored his fourth goal of the season, putting LAHS in front 1-0.

    Ben Rees added on to the score with five minutes left in the period with his 13th goal of the season, putting his team in front 2-0 heading into the second period.

    Weiss and Rees combined on a goal at the beginning of the second period to put the Hilltoppers up 3-0, giving them complete control of the contest.

    Midway through the period, Jacob Dunwoody scored his 13th goal of the season, putting the team up 4-0 after the second period.

  • Nordic ski club dominates in Colorado

    Despite generally low snow this winter, Southwest Nordic Ski Club was lucky to have two different events within reasonable driving distance on the same day and fielded 27 racers between the two venues.

    The larger group headed to Crested Butte, Colorado, for their famous and colorful Alley Loop races now in its 32nd year.

    The distances for Alley Loop range from 1.5K all the way to marathon distance of 42K. Typically all courses start and finish on Main Street and snake through town’s quaint alleys giving the event it’s name.  

    This year, due to lower snow, the race started at the Nordic Center but longer courses were still able to ski through alleys in town. Racers, as well as spectators, dress up in costumes and celebrate the event all day along the course making for colorful and fun photos of the event.

    In the 1.5K race, SWNSC girls swept the podium with Anna Simakov (age 8) in first, Harper Reid (age 7) in second and Samantha Baily (age 6) in third. Liv Niklasson (age 8) raced as well but forgot to put on her timing chip. Her finish would’ve also placed her on the podium had she been counted in the timing.

  • Atomic City Update: District tiebreakers seem unfair for high school athletes

    One of the most confusing aspects of high school sports are the tiebreakers in postseason play, which are often hard for anyone to understand, and don’t always seem completely fair.

    This is especially concerning as the winter sports season draws to a close, with the regular season in basketball set to end next week. With district races as close as ever around New Mexico, many of the tiebreaker scenarios could come into play, and could end up having a significant impact on the state tournament.

    One of the oddest things about this tiebreaker system is that the rules are different if the tie occurs between the No. 1 and No. 2 seed than if the tie occurs between any other seeds.

    In the event that the top two seeds are tied, a winner-take-all playoff game determines the No. 1 seed, which gets a pass directly to the district championship game.

    However, if the tie occurs between lower seeds, or if more than two teams are tied, then an entirely different system is used: point differential.

  • Golf course to open earlier than expected

    Due to the unseasonably warm weather in the area, the Los Alamos County Golf Course will open for the season earlier than expected, on Feb 16.

    The full course will be operational, with tee times scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday-Sunday, as well as holidays, throughout the rest of February.

    Tee times are available by booking online at least 10 days in advance, or three days in advance by calling the golf shop directly at 662-8139.

    The practice range will have the same hours of operation. Golf carts must be returned to the clubhouse by 4 p.m.

    Season passes will go on sale Feb. 16, and anyone without a pass will pay applicable rates.

    Los Alamos County Golf Course offers a challenging 6,500 yard, par 72, 18 hole layout. The golf course, built in 1947 by the Atomic Energy Commission, is one of the oldest 18 hole golf course in New Mexico.

  • Hilltoppers lose to Del Norte on senior night

    Prior to Saturday night’s game against Del Norte High School, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team honored its seniors with a Senior Night celebration. The moment offered a chance to reflect on what the group has accomplished, but also offered a reminder of what this season was supposed to look like.

    When the season began, eight seniors filled the roster. Only six are still active. Jack Stewart left the team after Thanksgiving, and Andreas Runde suffered a season-ending leg injury soon after.

    The six seniors that remain, Ramon Roybal, Antonio Trujillo, Troy Hammock, Michael Naranjo, Brandan Duran and Ivan Balakirev, have all played big roles this year, but the results haven’t followed.

    The team has stumbled to a 9-14 record, including many close losses in recent weeks. That continued against Del Norte, as LAHS fell 55-51 in a game that came down to the final minute.

    Hilltopper head coach Mike Kluk said that the team’s inability to knock down shots, and committing too many turnovers contributed to the loss.

    “You can’t beat decent teams, and definitely can’t beat good teams, having 17 or 18 turnovers,” Kluk said. “It’s just tough to do.”

  • Second half struggles keep LAHS winless in district

    Despite showing flashes of exciting play Saturday night, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team lost its fifth straight district game, falling to Del Norte High School on the road 53-31.

    Heading into the game, there was reason for optimism among the Hilltopper faithful. In the first meeting between the teams, the game came down to the final seconds in a 39-36 Del Norte victory. It was close from beginning to end.

    This game had a much different feel early on, as the Knights’ girls attacked the Hilltoppers without fear in the first quarter. Del Norte captain Amanda Burks set the tone offensively, scoring her team’s first 11 points of the game, including three impressive 3-point shots. With the strong shooting of Burks, Del Norte jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead.

    The gap continued to widen throughout the first quarter, as the Knights repeatedly found a way to get open underneath the basket, resulting in easy layup opportunities.

    After falling behind 21-6 as time expired in the first quarter, the Hilltoppers caught a break for the first time in the ballgame. Attempting a three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer, LAHS’ Alex Calderon was fouled, sending her to the free throw line to shoot three shots.

    She made two of the three, and cut the deficit to 21-8 heading into the second quarter.

  • LAHS suffers fourth quarter collapse in loss to Academy

    After leading by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter against Albuquerque Academy, the Los Alamos High School boys’ basketball team watched the game slip away in a heartbeat, falling 72-71.

    Heading in with a 0-5 record in District 2-5A, the Hilltoppers recognized that this game was the best chance to earn a district win this season, with matchups against Española Valley and Capital looming next week.

    Academy entered the game with a 1-4 district record, with its lone win coming last month in Los Alamos, a 71-60 victory over the Hilltoppers.

    If LAHS were able to win the rematch by 12 points or more, it would have earned the tiebreaker over the Chargers in the upcoming district tournament. And though that seemed likely at times during the game, Academy had other ideas.

    It was a game of scoring runs, and that started from the very beginning. The Chargers appeared unstoppable in the first few minutes, scoring the first 8 points of the game and forcing three turnovers from LAHS’ Antonio Trujillo.

    The Hilltoppers settled down after digging the deep hole, and climbed back into the game with a pair of 3-pointers from Trujillo, and another from David Owen. Michael Naranjo also played a key role in the quarter with 6 points.

  • Hilltoppers come up short in overtime against Chargers

    Despite strong offensive efforts from Becca Green and Susana Gallegos, the Los Alamos High School girls’ basketball team blew an 8-point fourth quarter lead, falling to Albuquerque Academy 42-38 in overtime.

    The game was a hard-fought battle throughout, with the teams fighting for every loose ball and forcing more than a dozen held-ball calls. Nearly every trip down the floor resulted in at least a few players tangled up on the ground.

    Gallegos set the tone in the game early, as she drove hard to the basket every time she got the ball in her hand, earning three trips to the free-throw line in the first quarter. She went 3-6 from the line, and added a layup, scoring 5 of the team’s 9 points in the quarter.

    Thanks to her strong play, and Academy’s inability to knock down shots throughout the first eight minutes, LAHS led 9-7 after the first quarter.

    Green took over for the Hilltoppers in the second quarter, putting up 7 points, as she took advantage of her size advantage on the inside, which gave her an easy lane to the basket.

    The Chargers hung around throughout the half, and gained a big boost from a late 3-pointer from Mercy Moya that kept Academy within striking distance as LAHS led 20-14 at halftime.

  • Atomic City Update: District play has not been kind to Hilltopper basketball

    For any high school team, winning against rival schools is one of the most satisfying feelings. Most of the time, the kids on rival teams are the ones you have known for years, and probably competed with at some point. They know what you do well, and you know what they do well. That sense of familiarity creates some of the best competition, and makes the desire to win even greater.

    This is one of the reasons why having both basketball teams at Los Alamos High School go 0-4 through the first rotation of district games is so frustrating, for those in the community who watch, and especially those who are coaching and playing.

    For the boys’ team, this is an unexpected development. Heading into this season, the team appeared primed for immediate success. With eight seniors on the roster, the team was expected to be one of the top teams in Class 5A, and was selected by the Santa Fe New Mexican as the team to beat in District 2-5A.

    However, things haven’t gone as expected. LAHS has lost all four of its district games, with the closest game coming in a 6-point loss against Capital High School.

    In the other games, an 11-point loss to Albuquerque Academy, a 13-point loss to Del Norte and a 24-point loss to Española Valley, the outcome was decided long before the final whistle blew.

  • Atomic Tumblers bring home 17 gold medals at Winter Fiesta

    Competing against 15 teams from around the region, the Los Alamos Atomic Tumblers brought home 17 gold medals at the annual Winter Fiesta competition in Albuquerque.

    The Atomic Tumblers competed In the Xcel competition. Los Alamos was the only team in New Mexico who fielded enough gymnasts in the (top) Diamond Division for team competition, meaning no team competition was held.

    Individually, Brianna Fryer brought home a gold medal with a score of 8.90 on the bars, and earned fourth place in the all-around competition. Hannah Gram took home the silver medal in the all-around.

    In the Platinum competition, Atomic Tumblers took second place as a team. There were two age divisions, junior and senior, but all Los Alamos gymnasts competed in the junior division. Megan Brown earned the silver medal in the all-around, while Colette Bibeault earned the bronze. Individually, Bibeault earned a gold on the beam with a score of 9.20, Sara Gardner earned a gold on the floor with a score of 9.20 and Danielle Trellue earned a gold on the vault with a score of 9.20.