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Today's Sports

  • Cross country impresses at UNM...

    Both cross country teams started the season strong at the UNM Invitational last weekend in Albuquerque, as the girls finished second and the boys finished third despite tough weather conditions. 

    The start of the race was delayed by lightning, which forced the event schedule to shift, and rain continued on and off throughout the morning, making the course more challenging than normal. 

    However, the conditions didn’t keep anyone from having a strong meet. The varsity boys raced first, and ended with a third place finish, behind only Albuquerque Academy and El Paso Americas, a school from Texas. 

    Steven Strevell went to the front immediately, fell back a little in the middle, and came back for an incredibly strong second place finish to last year’s state best Kashon Harrison of Kirtland Central. Duncan Fuehne also ran aggressively and fought hard throughout for a seventh place finish.

    Head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood were impressed with the performance of both runners. 

    “Those two really emerged on the scene last track season and were ready to start where they left off,” Kathy Hipwood said. 

  • Volleyball earns big win in home...

    In 2017, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team won only one time inside Griffith Gymnasium. The team has already matched that total in 2018, with a season-opening 3-0 win against Bloomfield Saturday. 

    From start to finish, the Hilltoppers looked more confident and more skilled. The team is more skilled at every position, and players know their responsibilities, executing at nearly every opportunity. 

    In the first set, LAHS was aggressive from the start, with forceful attacks and accurate serves. The team jumped out to a quick 13-3 lead, forcing a timeout from Bloomfield head coach Sunni Corley. 

    However, the timeout did little to stop the Hilltoppers’ momentum, as the team continued to roll, winning the first set 25-8. 

    Senior Sophia Salazar had four kills in the opening set, and junior Natalie Gallegos also added four. 

    Bloomfield kept the second set close in the beginning, tying the set 13-13 at one point. However, after that point, the Hilltoppers scored five consecutive points, forcing another timeout from Bloomfield. 

    Gallegos and Salazar took over after the timeout, combining for six kills to close out the set for a 25-16 victory, taking a 2-0 set lead. 

  • Girls’ soccer dominates against...

    Last year, the Santa Fe Prep girls’ soccer team did not lose a regular season game, going 14-0-1 until the state tournament. This year, the Los Alamos High School girls’ soccer team made sure that would not be the case again, defeating the Blue Griffins 3-0 at Sullivan Field to begin the season. 

    LAHS has loaded its non-district schedule with talented teams this season, determined to prepare as well as possible for the state tournament in early November. 

    If this game was meant to be an early season test of how the Hilltoppers are doing, the team passed with flying colors. From the opening whistle, the experienced Hilltoppers maintained possession with ease, constantly moving the action toward the Blue Griffins’ goal. 

    LAHS’ ability to set the pace of the game with its midfield players was impressive, and the forwards of the Hilltoppers repeatedly kept the ball away from Santa Fe Prep defenders as they advanced on goal. 

    After narrowly missing on several opportunities in the opening minutes, senior Katie Hopkins got the Hilltoppers on the board in the 19th minute with a shot from 20 feet away, giving LAHS a 1-0 lead. 

  • LAHS football runs past Española

    Heading into this season, Los Alamos High School running back Cade Yost expressed a desire to become a leader for the younger players on his team, and always lead by example. 

    In Friday night’s season-opening 57-12 win over Española Valley, Yost did just that. He scored five times and proved impossible for the Sundevils to stop even when they knew the ball would go to him. 

    Though it was the skill players who made a great first impression, Hilltopper head coach Garett Williams was even more impressed with his offensive line. 

    “Those leaders, like Cade Yost and Dylan (Irish) and Walker (Eaton) just took over that skill group, but up front we really found some dudes that could go,” Williams said. “A lot of young guys really stepped up and dominated on that line, and it was good to see.”

    In particular, he was impressed with the play of senior Levi Guarello, who blocked for the skill players all night to open up big holes to run through. 

    “A guy like Levi Guarello, that is the best I have ever seen him play. He grew up tonight, and really started playing like a senior,” Williams said. 

  • Atomic City Update: Loyalty in...

    Nothing warms the hearts of sports fans more than a homecoming. Whether a former player returns with a new team or a player chooses to come back to the place where they started their career for another stint, it always leads to great memories and reunions. 

    In many cases, if a player returns as a member of another team, they will get a loud ovation from his former fans as a way of saying thank you for the time spent providing them with entertainment. 

    This week, there have been a lot of baseball homecomings, all of which brought a big smile to my face. Perhaps the most anticipated was Giancarlo Stanton, who returned to Miami as a member of the New York Yankees for the first time since being traded away from the Miami Marlins in the offseason. 

    The crowd erupted when he came to the plate, and he was clearly deeply touched by the reception. 

    He would have loved to stay with the Marlins. That’s where he began his career and made so many memories. But the front office had other priorities, and continuing to pay his high salary was not in the cards. 

  • Cross country looks to reclaim...

    In New Mexico, no cross country team has more of a tradition of excellence than Los Alamos High School. For years, it has been understood that if a team wants to win a state championship, they will have to go through the Hilltoppers. From 2009-2015, the girls won every championship. The boys were equally successful over that stretch, winning every title from 2011-2014. 

    Over the past two years, Albuquerque Academy has ripped the championship away from LAHS on both sides, as the Hilltopper girls finished as the runners-up and the boys finished in third place. 

    This year, things may be different. There is a quiet confidence surrounding this group. 

    The coaches and runners can see how much talent is at every practice, and they know they will be a force to be reckoned with. 

    “There really is a great vibe to this team,” said Rob Hipwood, who coaches the team alongside his wife Kathy. 

    Part of that vibe comes from the great mix of veterans and young runners that fill both the boys and girls lineups. 

  • Atomic City Update: High school...

    We are now only one week away from the start of the fall sports season, and I have a request for the entire community: Support your local teams this school year. Every day, football players, soccer players, volleyball players and cross country runners give everything they have for their teams, and they deserve the support of the community they are representing. 

    In the past couple weeks, I have started making my way to various sports practices, trying to get an impression of what to expect this fall, and I have been blown away. It seems that every team has found a way to improve, and I am expecting big things across the board. 

    The football team appears poised to continue to take a big step forward this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The volleyball team has a much more experienced core of players and has a higher sense of confidence. Both soccer teams, and both cross country teams, have a legitimate shot at winning state championships this year. 

    All of the coaches I have talked to are full of energy, and are excited to see what their kids can do out on the field. 

  • Hilltoppers have eyes set on...

    Over the last three seasons, the Los Alamos High School boys soccer team has advanced to at least the semifinals of the state tournament. Every year, the Hilltoppers have lost to Albuquerque Academy. In 2015, they lost in the state finals. In 2016 and 2017, the loss came in the semifinals. 

    For some teams, this would cause a lack of confidence. For the Hilltoppers and head coach Ron Blue, it does the exact opposite. 

    “I think I would be selling us short if we didn’t set the goal to win the state championship, honesty,” Blue said. “That’s a credit to the way this community has embraced soccer, how these kids train, how they are coached. I think that every year we should expect to be a team that competes at the state level, and this year is no different.”

    He has good reason for optimism, with a team loaded with talent and a strong desire to win the state championship. 

  • Expectations remain high for...

    Heading into the new school year, expectations are sky high for the Los Alamos High School girls soccer team, and for good reason. 

    The 2017 season was one of the most successful in team history, going 17-6-1 and advancing all the way to the state championship. The team came one goal short of the trophy, and now they may be even better. 

    The coaching staff, led by Ann Cernicek is entering its second year leading the Hilltoppers. 

    There are 12 returning seniors, as well as returning standout juniors, all of whom are capable of making an impact on every game. 

    Though things look good as the season begins, Cernicek is not allowing the team to look too far ahead. 

    “Even though you get so many players returning, it’s a totally different team,” Cernicek said. “I feel like we are starting to paint a picture, and every game we will be adding to that painting.”

    She may not know what the painting will look like at the end of the season, but she certainly finds the colors available to her exciting.

  • Familiar teams remain in new...

    Though Los Alamos High School’s sports district has changed drastically in nearly every sport, that is not the case in football, where the district opponents remain familiar heading into 2018.

    Football is the only sport the New Mexico Activities Association decided to keep at six classifications, while every other sport moved to a five-classification system. Because of that, LAHS remains in Class 5A for football, competing alongside district holdovers Capital High School and Del Norte High School, along with newcomer Santa Fe High. 

    Departing the district are Albuquerque Academy and Española Valley High School, though the Sundevils remain on LAHS’ schedule for the home opener next week on Aug. 24. 

    Santa Fe High returns to district competition after being an independent school last year, playing a full schedule of non-district games. The Demons were 0-9 last year, and have not won a game since 2014, falling in 33 straight games. The team’s last win came in Los Alamos on Oct. 3, 2014. 

    Last year, the Hilltoppers defeated the Demons in a close 21-14 game that was tied entering the fourth quarter.