LA wrestling team returns to action

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The Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team gets back to action Saturday after earning a ninth-place finish in last weekend’s Rio Rancho Shootout duals meet.

Los Alamos split eight team duals contests at the event, hosted by the Rio Rancho Rams. Among Los Alamos’ key wins at the duals were victories over Class 4A schools Farmington, Santa Fe and Moriarty.

The Hilltopper will now gear up for an appearance at the Jaguar Invitational, which is hosted by District 2-4A rival Capital. This will be the Hilltoppers’ first look at Capital, which is a much-improved team this season and could give the Hilltoppers a run for their money as they seek their third consecutive district title.

The Jaguar Invitational is an individual tournament, while the tournament at Rio Rancho consisted entirely of duals contests.

In all, 16 teams took part in last weekend’s tournament at Rio Rancho. Hilltopper head coach Bob Geyer said he liked the way his wrestlers fought the good fight against some tough competition to take ninth place.

“Even when our backs were on the mat, we were fighting,” he said. “Even when we’re down, we’re not quitting. That was good to see.”

One of the big showings of the weekend was by 182-pounder Joseph Coriz. Coriz picked up a big pin over his opponent from Moriarty with the dual’s outcome still very much up in the air.

Had Coriz lost, it would’ve been tough for Los Alamos to do better than a tie against the Pintos, a solid 4A opponent. Instead, Coriz and 195-pounder Brian Geyer earned pinfalls in the final two head-to-head bouts to give the Hilltoppers a 47-33 win.

Los Alamos also topped a Class 5A team, Valley, this weekend. Los Alamos was on the short end of decisions against Piedra Vista, Rio Rancho, Coronado, Texas and Mesa View, Ariz., one of the top programs in that state.

“Not a bad showing,” coach Geyer said. “We saw some good stuff out of our young kids. It’s good to see them step up and do what they needed to do.”

The meet was the opener of the 2013-14 season for Los Alamos, which only has a handful of regular starters back from last season.

Individually, Brian Geyer went 7-1 at his new weight class — he was the 182-pound state champion last season — and Chandler Lauritzen, another top returner for the Hilltoppers, went 6-2.

John Dermer wrestled up one weight class, going 7-1 overall at heavyweight, while freshman Patrick Irish was 4-4 at 220 pounds, as did junior Mateo Cardiel at 120 pounds.