Venue for Cernicek Invite still unknown

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By Mike Cote

The 2011 Louie Cernicek Invitational boys soccer tournament starts up in a few hours, although, as of press time Thursday, the venue for the first round hadn’t been determined.
Los Alamos’ Hilltoppers will take part in the Louie Cernicek Invitational starting Friday morning. The tournament has been played every year since 1997, when it was known as the Mountain Top Invitational.
The Cernicek tournament is usually among the toughest tournaments in the state during the regular season. This season looks to be no exception.
In the tournament, five Class 4A teams currently ranked in the top 10 by NMSoccer.com’s coaches’ poll are scheduled to take part — the coaches’ poll doesn’t officially close until Sunday — including the Hilltoppers, Farmington, Belen, Roswell and Piedra Vista.
Los Alamos will open the tournament at 9 a.m. Friday when it takes on the Goddard Rockets.
The Hilltoppers won their home tournament in 2010, the first time they had picked up the top spot in the Louie Cernicek Invitational since 2004. They knocked off the Belen Eagles 3-1 in the finale of the tournament.
Last season, Los Alamos won the Class 4A state title, its first since 1986. Los Alamos went into the 2011 season with a No. 1 ranking in the state, but was humbled Saturday at Farmington, losing 5-0.
Unofficially, Farmington has the top-ranking in the state going into the tournament, according to the NMSoccer.com website.
The Scorpions, a senior-heavy team and the 4A champs in 2009, will take on the Class 5A Clovis Wildcats in Friday’s first round.
As of press time, Los Alamos High School athletic director Vicki Nelms was unsure whether renovations at Sullivan Field would be completed in time to schedule first round games at the facility — check lamonitor.com for updated information.
Nelms said that determination wouldn’t be made until sometime after noon Thursday.
Should Sullivan Field be a go, all of the first round games except the Farmington-Clovis game, scheduled for 11 a.m., will be played there. If Sullivan Field isn’t ready, the tournament will be shifted to Overlook Park in White Rock.
 Most of the tournament’s games 12 games would be played on Dara Jones Field in White Rock.
Other first round tournament games include Roswell vs. Piedra Vista at 11 a.m. and Belen vs. Bernalillo at 1 p.m.
Second- and final-round games are scheduled for Saturday.