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RIO RANCHO – Cory Geyer was the top finisher for the Los Alamos Hiltoppers at this weekend’s state Class 4A championship meet.
Geyer bounced back from a loss in the semifinals at 152 pounds to knock off an old foe in Keonny Gonzales and pick up his second win of the tournament over Isaiah Valdez of Aztec.
The top-three finish by Geyer was one of the few bright spots for the Hilltoppers at the state meet, held Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center.
Geyer progressed through to the semifinals Saturday, only one of two Hilltoppers to survive two rounds Friday. He earned a first round pin over Irving Lopez of Farmington in round two after receiving an opening-round bye.
In Friday’s quarterfinal round, he had a tougher test in Aztec’s Valdez.
Valdez earned a takedown of Geyer in just :16 but Geyer came back to take a 3-2 lead at the end of the first period. Neither wrestler got much going against the other in the second and third periods until Geyer scored a late takedown to pick up a 6-2 decision.
The only other Hilltopper to make it into the championship quarterfinals was Brian Geyer. There, in a rematch of the District 2-4A title bout at 170 pounds, Jonah Schmelz won with a second period pin to knock Brian Geyer into consolation bracket.
Prior to that contest, Geyer pinned another district opponent, Capital’s Ryan Sirico, in the first period to advance.
Beyond that, however, Friday turned out to be a rough day for the Hilltoppers. Only one Hilltopper didn’t get an opening-round bye, that being 145-pounder Ben Mitsunaga.
Mitsunaga won his opening round contest, taking a 6-4 victory over Dennis D’Orazio of Miyamura.
But Los Alamos came up on the short end of 10 of 12 second round contests. In those, three Hilltoppers didn’t make it through the first period.
Arnoldo Ortiz, at 182 pounds, went into overtime with a tough competitor from Bloomfield, John Ellaesser. Ortiz earned an escape with just :03 left in the bout to tie the score at 4-4.
But late in the overtime period, Ellaesser tripped Ortiz at the ankles and covered him up to earn the victory.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, they would continue to struggle in the consolation side. Only Lane
Saunders and Diego Madrid would be left standing after one round of direct elimination.
Brian Geyer and Saunders would actually advance far into the consolation bracket, missing out on a shot for a top-five finish by one round.
Friday’s showing was disappointing for Los Alamos, which was taking one of its largest teams to state in some time and going in on a high note after capturing its first district title in 17 years.
Click here to see a slideshow of events from the championship weekend.