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´Toppers finish 14th in season opener

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Wrestling: Six LA grapplers finish at or above .500

By The Staff

The Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team started its season off with a solid middle-of-the-pack finish in one of the toughest contests in the state.
Los Alamos took 14th at the Southwest Duals this weekend. The Southwest Duals, hosted by Rio Rancho, included not only some of the top teams in New Mexico, but teams from all across the region, including Texas, Arizona, Colorado and even as far away as Kansas.
It was the 2011-12 opener for the Hilltoppers, who brought a nearly complete roster with them to the duals. The Hilltoppers, who have struggled filling out a full lineup for most of the recent past, have as many as 30 wrestlers available to them this season.
Los Alamos was only lacking a 106- and 126-pounder for this tournament.
Hilltopper 152-pounder Cory Geyer, a junior, and 182-pounder Brian Geyer, a sophomore, got their season off to a strong start. Both finished 6-2 in eight contests Friday and Saturday.
Cory and Brian Geyer were two of six Hilltoppers who won at least half their matches this weekend against some very good teams.
“All things considered, at the Rio Rancho Duals, it was a pretty respectable finish,” said Los Alamos head coach Bob Geyer. “We got a lot of mat time, we corrected a few mistakes. We made some stupid mistakes that we’ve got to fix this week.”
Coach Geyer said his team might have been able to pick up an extra place or two in the 21-team field had it not been for errors which he said were, generally, easily corrected.
Eighth-grader Lane Saunders at 138 pounds won all three of his matches Saturday to finish with a tournament record of 5-3, helping the Hilltoppers to their 14th-place finish.
Finishing at an even 4-4 were Ben Mitsunaga at 145 pounds, Peter Brewer at 195 and Diego Madrid at 220.
Another Hilltopper youngster, freshman Jonathan Schueler, finished 3-5 in eight contests this weekend. Schueler, who weighed in Friday at 207 pounds, was going up against wrestlers who outweighed him considerably.
In Friday’s round-robin, the Hilltoppers defeated Class 5A Sandia 45-30 for their first duals win of the season. The Hilltoppers will host the St. Pius X Sartans in a dual meet Wednesday.
Los Alamos’ finish this weekend put it four slots ahead of longtime rival Española Valley. Española Valley, which has won four of the last five District 2-4A titles, struggled much of the weekend and has struggled this preseason filling out a full slate of wrestlers.
Coach Geyer said where his less-experienced wrestlers struggled was with body position on top and getting themselves free when working off the bottom. Nevertheless, he said he was very happy with the effort all weekend.
“The whole team is trying hard,” he said. “They’re just going out there and banging. The attitude is so much better. They’re not wanting to quit.”