Today's Sports

  • Atomic City Update: LAHS...

    One of the most important things I look for when I watch high school sports is improvement. Sometimes, improvement can be small, and other times it can be obvious, but any type of improvement is important. 

    When I watch the Los Alamos High School volleyball team this year, the improvement is clear. Last year, the young players were often unsure of their responsibilities and made far too many errors in attacking, blocking and serving. This year, with everyone on the team a year older, the confidence is higher, the skill level has been raised and everyone knows their own individual responsibilities. 

    Now, it’s only a matter of time before these improvements show up in the win column. The team currently has a 1-3 record, losing three games against St. Michael’s, Santa Fe and St. Pius after winning the opening match of the year against Bloomfield. 

  • Hilltoppers come up just short...

    For more than a decade, the St. Pius X Sartans have dominated the Los Alamos High School volleyball team. In 12 meetings since 2007, St. Pius is undefeated against the Hilltoppers, including multiple matchups in the state tournament. That streak continued Tuesday at Griffith Gymnasium, but this was perhaps the closest match of them all, a 3-2 match that went down to the very end.

    The Hilltoppers entered the match looking for a good performance after losing two games on the road in Santa Fe last week. St. Pius came in also looking for a rebound after losing 3-1 in their last game against Rio Rancho.

    Early on, it appeared the Hilltoppers were well on their way to a victory. LAHS jumped out to a lead in the first set, led by junior Natalie Gallegos. She delivered three kills and an ace in quick succession, and gave the Hilltoppers a 17-13 lead, forcing St. Pius to take a timeout.

    The stoppage did little to slow LAHS’ momentum, though, as they continued to pile up points and run away with the set, taking it 25-15 to take a 1-0 lead.

  • 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. 

  • LAHS earns fourth place at...

    For the first time in four years, the first place trophy for the Louie Cernicek Memorial Tournament does not belong to the Los Alamos High School boys’ soccer team. 

    After winning its opening match Friday morning 5-1 over Los Lunas, the team could not keep the momentum rolling into Saturday. LAHS played the first match of the day Saturday morning against Clovis, falling 2-0. Then, in the third place match, the Hilltoppers fell again, this time 3-2 against Roswell to earn fourth place at the tournament. 

    It was clear early in the game against Clovis that offensive opportunities would be hard to come by. The forward combination of Arthur Steinkamp and Aiden Semelsberger had a difficult time getting through the defense of Clovis, and every attempted pass over the top of the defense was quickly cleared away. 

    Things became even more difficult seven minutes into the game, as Clovis’ Elias Ortega found the back of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead. 

  • Atomic City Update: LAHS coaches...

    During the opening weekend of fall sports at Los Alamos High School, several things made me smile and proud to be a part of this community. All of the teams were victorious, the crowds were loud and supportive and the atmosphere was exhilarating. 

    However, the thing that made me happier than anything was seeing coaches of other sports supporting the fall sports along with the rest of the fans. 

    I arrived at the LAHS volleyball game on Saturday about an hour before the varsity team took the court. I watched the JV game in its entirety and was impressed at how many other people arrived early to watch the young players. 

    Lanse Carter, the new girls’ basketball coach at LAHS, arrived and sat right next to me at the media table in the middle of the bleachers. He sat there for the entire varsity match, taking time to talk to some of the fans while cheering for the Hilltoppers. 

    After the match ended, we were talking and he said that at his previous schools, he had not spent much time watching volleyball, but felt that it was important to make a good first impression at LAHS and that he enjoyed watching the team. 

  • Volleyball drops second straight...

    Despite playing well for much of the match, the Los Alamos High School volleyball team struggled to close out sets against Santa Fe High and fell Thursday night 3-1. 

    The Hilltoppers entered the match hoping to rebound after a loss earlier this week against St. Michael’s, and got off to a much better start against a tough Demonettes team. 

    After falling behind 11-6 in the first set, LAHS quickly rebounded to take a 14-13 lead on an ace serve by Elodie Thelliez. The Hilltoppers were unable to extend that lead, however, as Santa Fe quickly gained control again. Though Thelliez, Gracie Swenson and Elise Olivas picked up big points at the end of the set, the Hilltoppers fell behind 1-0 with a 25-20 loss. 

    The second set was the best of the night for LAHS, but it was far from perfect. After taking a 12-10 lead on a kill by Gabriella Duran, the Hilltoppers were outscored 10-1 over the next 11 points, and fell behind 19-13. That’s when the team picked up its energy, as Natalie Gallegos picked up a powerful kill and Kyla Sandoval followed with an impressive ace serve to cut the deficit to 19-16. 

  • LAHS volleyball struggles...

    With a deadly combination of size and speed, the St. Michael’s High School volleyball team is one of the frontrunners for a state championship in Class 3A this season. Tuesday in Santa Fe, the Lady Horsemen proved to be too much for Los Alamos High School to handle, as the Hilltoppers fell 3-1. 

    From the first serve of the match, it was obvious that it would be a challenge for the Hilltoppers to keep up, as the Lady Horsemen always seemed to be in the right spot on the floor, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first set. 

    After falling behind 12-2 in the set, LAHS seemed to settle down a bit and played with more confidence, but the deficit was too large to overcome as the Hilltoppers fell 25-12 to go down 1-0. 

    The second set was far more competitive, as the Hilltoppers grabbed an early lead and hung with the Lady Horsemen through the middle part of the set. However, the LAHS blockers struggled to defend against the strong attacking of St. Michael’s in the latter part of the set, falling into a hole once again. 

    Despite a tough effort, the Hilltoppers lost the second set 25-19 to go down 2-0. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.