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The Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team will play host to its biggest event of the season Saturday.
Los Alamos will take on 10 other teams in the Bryan Sanchez Memorial Invitational. The tournament is scheduled to include some solid teams from around the area.
Included among those teams are at least three of the Hilltoppers’ District 2-4A opponents, Española Valley, Capital and Bernalillo, something that gives this tournament added importance as it could affect seeding for next week’s district championship tournament.
“I’d like to see us get a few more head-to-head tiebreakers over our district opponents,” Los Alamos head coach Bob Geyer said.
Saturday’s tournament is the finale of the Hilltoppers’ regular season. The Hilltoppers are the defending 2-4A champions, but were neck-and-neck with Capital in the teams’ only meeting Jan. 16.
Los Alamos relies heavily on its middleweights and light-heavyweights for its success. Its lineup between 152-195 pounds of Lane Saunders, Cory Geyer, Arnoldo Ortiz, Brian Geyer and Diego Madrid is among the toughest in the state in that band.
The Bryan Sanchez tournament is dedicated to the memory of one of the Hilltoppers’ former competitors. Sanchez, who was universally praised by his coaches for his work ethic during his prep career, died in a car accident on his 21st birthday.
The team will award a trophy to one of its wrestlers who best embodies Sanchez’s spirit.
Rita Sanchez, Sanchez’s mother, the Hilltopper wrestlers’ unofficial team mom teacher at Los Alamos Middle School, will present the award at Saturday’s event.
Along with Los Alamos’ district opponents, some tough squads like Belen, Valencia, Las Vegas Robertson and Tucumcari are expected to participate.
The Hilltoppers competed at last weekend’s Robertson Invitational, getting five wrestlers into the top bracket, with Cory Geyer winning the 160-pound title. This week, 132-pounder, Chandler Lauritzen, is expected back after sitting out the Robertson tournament.