https://www.lamonitor.com/sports/rss.xml en Atomic City Update: Turnaround of LAHS volleyball has been incredible https://www.lamonitor.com/content/atomic-city-update-turnaround-lahs-volleyball-has-been-incredible <img src="https://www.lamonitor.com/sites/www.lamonitor.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/olivas_set.jpg" alt="Elise Olivas (1) and Natalie Gallegos (11) have played key roles in leading LAHS to the regular season district championship this season." title="Elise Olivas (1) and Natalie Gallegos (11) have played key roles in leading LAHS to the regular season district championship this season." align="left" hspace="6" /><p class="p1"> O<span style="line-height: 20.4px;">n Sept. 15, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team had a 3-7 record and appeared to be headed toward non-relevance. Then, something amazing happened. From that point forward, the Hilltoppers went 9-1 and won the regular season district championship.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2"> It&rsquo;s the kind of turnaround you usually only hear about in the movies and in fictional books. Seemingly overnight, the Hilltoppers turned their season around. Sophia Salazar and Natalie Gallegos turned into the types of players everyone has seen flashes of since they started playing volleyball at the high school.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> Kyla Sandoval has stepped up at the libero position, and has become one of the top defensive players in the entire state. She played a key part in big Hilltopper victories against Espa&ntilde;ola Valley and Pojoaque Valley, as did Elodie Thelliez, Gracie Swenson, Ariel Edkin, Janessa Gonzales and Gabriella Duran.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> To put the turnaround in even more context, remember that the Hilltoppers went just 7-16 last year, and were considered one of the weakest teams in the whole state. In last year&rsquo;s regular season, the team won only five games. Only one of those came against district competition, and only one of those happened at Griffith Gymnasium.&nbsp;</p> Girls’ soccer loses heartbreaker to Academy in state semifinals https://www.lamonitor.com/content/girls%E2%80%99-soccer-loses-heartbreaker-academy-state-semifinals <p> <span style="line-height: 20.4px;">F</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">acing one of the toughest teams in the entire state, the Los Alamos High School girls&rsquo; soccer team came up just a few seconds short of playing for the state championship. Thursday afternoon in Bernalillo, the Hilltoppers lost 2-1 in double overtime against the Albuquerque Academy Chargers.</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2"> LAHS entered the state championship tournament as the No. 4 seed, while the Chargers entered as the No. 1 seed.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> Throughout the regular season, the Chargers went 18-2, and outscored opponents 136-7. Eliza Mariner was a dominant player for the Chargers as she scored 59 goals, easily the top mark in New Mexico.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> Earlier this season, at the Albuquerque Academy Tournament, the Chargers dominated the Hilltoppers 5-0. Thursday&rsquo;s matchup was an entirely different story.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> The first half was a defensive struggle, with neither team able to mount much of an attack through the first 30 minutes. The defensive back lines played outstanding, and prevented the forwards from getting much momentum headed toward the goal.&nbsp;</p> LAHS golf teams win final fall tourney https://www.lamonitor.com/content/lahs-golf-teams-win-final-fall-tourney <img src="https://www.lamonitor.com/sites/www.lamonitor.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/poston_drive_1.jpg" alt="Henry Poston was the overall winner at the Bosque Fall Invitational, finishing with a score of 72. Both Hilltopper teams were victorious at the tournament." title="Henry Poston was the overall winner at the Bosque Fall Invitational, finishing with a score of 72. Both Hilltopper teams were victorious at the tournament." align="left" hspace="6" /><p class="p1"> As the fall season comes to a close, the Los Alamos High School golf teams are set up well for the spring season, with both teams already qualified for May&rsquo;s state championship tournament.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> Last week at the Bosque Fall Golf Invitational, the final tournament of the fall season, both the Hilltopper boys and girls walked away victorious, as the boys won by seven strokes and the girls won by 28 strokes.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> For the girls, it was by far the best tournament of the fall. Four of the five girls competing finished with scores under 90 for the first time this season and the team cruised to a tournament victory.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> Though Albuquerque Academy&rsquo;s Grace Jorgensen was the top overall scorer in the tournament, the four Hilltopper scorers were not far behind.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> Leah Mountain came in second overall at the tournament with a score of 82, continuing her outstanding season. Jessica Osden was right behind her with a score of 84.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> For Mountain and Osden, the scores earned both their sixth individual legs for the state tournament in six tries. Only three legs are required by the end of the season to compete in the season&rsquo;s final tournament.&nbsp;</p> Boys’ soccer advances to state quarterfinals https://www.lamonitor.com/content/boys%E2%80%99-soccer-advances-state-quarterfinals <img src="https://www.lamonitor.com/sites/www.lamonitor.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/steinkamp_goal_good.jpg" alt="Arthur Steinkamp helped lead the Hilltoppers past Goddard in the first round of the Class 4A state soccer tournament. He scored three goals in the first 22 minutes of the game as LAHS won 8-0." title="Arthur Steinkamp helped lead the Hilltoppers past Goddard in the first round of the Class 4A state soccer tournament. He scored three goals in the first 22 minutes of the game as LAHS won 8-0." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> <span style="line-height: 20.4px;">Throughout this season, the Los Alamos High School boys&rsquo; soccer team has steadily improved, and is now three wins away from a state championship. Saturday morning at Sullivan Field, the Hilltoppers took the first step toward the ultimate goal, recording an 8-0 victory over Goddard in the first round of the state championship.</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"> After going 13-6-1 in the regular season, and 5-0-1 in District 2-4A play, LAHS entered the state tournament as the No. 5 seed and hosted No. 12 seed Goddard for the right to advance to Wednesday&rsquo;s quarterfinals.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> Heading into the contest, LAHS head coach Ron Blue was confident, because he believes the team is better now that any point throughout the season.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> &ldquo;I think we are playing really, really well,&rdquo; Blue said. &ldquo;Our energy has been really, really high, we have learned a lot and our young players have stepped up. With the way we are playing, I am really happy, and obviously it helps when your top player is in his top form, as Arthur (Steinkamp) is right now.&rdquo;</p> Cross country teams win district titles https://www.lamonitor.com/content/cross-country-teams-win-district-titles <img src="https://www.lamonitor.com/sites/www.lamonitor.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/fuehne_sanchez_strevell.jpg" alt="Duncan Fuehne, Rafael Sanchez and Steven Strevell all finished in the top four at the district championship meet. Fuehne was named the overall district champion." title="Duncan Fuehne, Rafael Sanchez and Steven Strevell all finished in the top four at the district championship meet. Fuehne was named the overall district champion." align="left" hspace="6" /><p class="p1"> With dominant performances, the Los Alamos High School boys and girls cross country teams won district championships Friday, and 13 runners were named all-district performers.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> The Hilltoppers competed against runners from Espa&ntilde;ola Valley, Moriarty, Pojoaque Valley and Taos at Pojoaque Valley High School on a course that proved to be among the most challenging courses of the season.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> The course was full of steep hills, rough terrain and harsh curves. But nothing was going to slow down the Hilltoppers.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> The boys ran first, and Duncan Fuehne, Rafael Sanchez and Steven Strevell quickly jumped toward the front of the pack. It stayed that way throughout most of the race, the LAHS&rsquo; second pack of boys not far behind.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> Ultimately, Fuehne earned first place and was named the individual district champion with a time of 17:08, as he separated himself from the rest of the pack.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"> Sanchez and Strevell were not far behind, finishing in third and fourth places, respectively. Sanchez, a sophomore, finished in third with a time of 17:18, and Strevell, a junior, finished in fourth place with a time of 17:25.&nbsp;</p> Volleyball wins district championship with win over Pojoaque https://www.lamonitor.com/content/volleyball-wins-district-championship-win-over-pojoaque <img src="https://www.lamonitor.com/sites/www.lamonitor.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/janessa_block.jpg" alt="LAHS’ blocking was strong against the Elkettes Thursday night, as the team had 17 total for the night. Natalie Gallegos was the top blocker for the Hilltoppers with 13. The Hilltoppers won the regular season District 2-4A championship and will now advance to the state tournament." title="LAHS’ blocking was strong against the Elkettes Thursday night, as the team had 17 total for the night. Natalie Gallegos was the top blocker for the Hilltoppers with 13. The Hilltoppers won the regular season District 2-4A championship and will now advance to the state tournament." align="left" hspace="6" /><p class="p1"> W<span style="line-height: 20.4px;">ith a dramatic, five-set, win over the Pojoaque Valley Elkettes Thursday night, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team claimed the District 2-4A regular season championship. The championship assures the team of the No. 1 seed in next week&rsquo;s district tournament and also guaranteed the Hilltoppers a spot in the state championship tournament.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2"> It is an achievement that cannot be understated. Last season, LAHS went 7-16 overall and won only one district contest. As late in this season as Sept. 15, the Hilltoppers were 3-7. Then, everything changed.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> From that point forward, LAHS went 9-1 overall and 7-1 in District 2-4A, one of the toughest districts in the state. The only blemish on the team&rsquo;s record was a loss in mid-October to Pojoaque Valley. On Thursday, the Hilltoppers more than made up for it.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> The fight for the regular season district championship came down to one final match. Both teams were 6-1 in district play. Pojoaque&rsquo;s lone district loss to that point came against Espa&ntilde;ola Valley, just two days after defeating the Hilltoppers in straight sets in Los Alamos.&nbsp;</p> Atomic City Update: LAHS football continues to be stuck in cycle of mediocrity https://www.lamonitor.com/content/atomic-city-update-lahs-football-continues-be-stuck-cycle-mediocrity <p> <span style="line-height: 20.4px;">L</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">egendary National Hockey League coach Scotty Bowman once said, &ldquo;I found out that if you are going to win games, you had better be ready to adapt.&rdquo; I read that quote while scrolling through my Facebook news feed this week, and it reminded me of the Los Alamos High School football team. But it was for all the wrong reasons.</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2"> &ldquo;Adaptable&rdquo; and &ldquo;willing to change&rdquo; have never been ways to describe the team. The coaches have a system they believe in and, right or wrong, they stick with it. Last week was an example of when the system didn&rsquo;t work, and it continues a trend in the wrong direction.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> In the 21-14 loss last week on the road against Capital High School, LAHS&rsquo; stubborn commitment to the run game cost the team in a big way. Three times in the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers had the ball with a chance to tie the game or take the lead. All three of the drives ended deep in Capital territory.&nbsp;</p> Volleyball sweeps Taos on Senior Night https://www.lamonitor.com/content/volleyball-sweeps-taos-senior-night <img src="https://www.lamonitor.com/sites/www.lamonitor.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/thelliez_spike_0.jpg" alt="LAHS senior Elodie Thelliez recorded six kills and a block in Tuesday night’s victory over Taos. Thelliez was one of five seniors honored for Senior Night, along with Gabriella Duran, Janessa Gonzales, Kyla Sandoval and Sophia Salazar." title="LAHS senior Elodie Thelliez recorded six kills and a block in Tuesday night’s victory over Taos. Thelliez was one of five seniors honored for Senior Night, along with Gabriella Duran, Janessa Gonzales, Kyla Sandoval and Sophia Salazar." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> <span style="line-height: 20.4px;">Despite a few shaky moments in the first two sets, the Los Alamos High School volleyball was able to win on its Senior Night 3-0 over Taos, continuing its late-season surge.</span><span style="line-height: 20.4px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2"> Since Sept. 15, the Hilltoppers have been one of the most dominant teams in the state, going 8-1, with five of the wins requiring the minimum three sets. Unlike some of the other matches, though, Tuesday night&rsquo;s win over the Tigers proved to be difficult and required some outstanding play from LAHS&rsquo; top players.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> Led by star player Faith Powell, Taos came out strong in the first set and did not allow the Hilltoppers to gain any sort of an edge. LAHS appeared to be out of sync for much of the first set, and relied on errors by the Tigers to pick up quite a few points. Powell made an impact for the Tigers at the service line and on the front line, as she proved to be hard to defend.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2"> Though the Hilltoppers struggled throughout much of the set, Natalie Gallegos, Sophia Salazar and Elodie Thelliez stepped up when it mattered most and closed out the first set with a 25-23 win for LAHS to put the team up 1-0 in the match.&nbsp;</p>