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Wrestling: LA gets back into action after layoff

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By The Staff

After being snowed out of competition last weekend and having an abbreviated practice schedule this week, the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team faced a stiff test this weekend in Las Vegas.

Los Alamos was one of 22 teams taking part in the two-day Las Vegas Robertson Invitational, a high-level individual competition hosted by one of the marquee Class AAA programs in the state.

At the tournament, which started Friday, Hilltoppers Desmond Fellers and Gary Thorne both moved to the gold bracket of the tournament, although neither advanced in the top bracket.

Another five Hilltoppers — Cory Geyer, Brian Geyer, Clint Adams, Robert Van Lyssel and Diego Madrid — qualified for Saturday’s silver bracket.

“Overall, we didn’t do too bad considering we didn’t get out on the mat hardly at all (last week),” Los Alamos head coach Bob Geyer said.

The Hilltoppers were scheduled to compete the previous weekend at a tournament hosted by Albuquerque Valley, but that competition was nixed due to weather conditions. They also had to cut practices off Thursday due to the local snowstorm.

Thorne, at 171 pounds, finished the tournament with three wins and four losses in the gold bracket.

In the silver bracket, Adams finished second in the 152-pound competition and Madrid was third at 189 pounds, including coming back from a semifinal round loss to knock off a competitor from Capital, which Madrid could see again at the District 2AAAA championship tournament in two weeks.

Robertson’s tournament was scheduled to have 24 competing teams this weekend, but two teams dropped out late due to the still-poor weather conditions in the area.

“It was still a pretty tough tournament,” Geyer said. “Some of our guys stepped up and some didn’t quite get it done.”

At 130 pounds, Ben Mitsunaga finished with a pair of wins on the weekend.

Los Alamos is quickly closing in on the end of its 2009-10 season, with just the Bryan Sanchez Memorial Tournament remaining on its regular season schedule.

Following that tournament, which will be held Saturday, the Hilltoppers will host the district tournament the following weekend.

Geyer, who feels his team has a good chance to qualify at least eight wrestlers for next month’s state tournament, said he’s hoping for a good week of fine-tuning heading into the season finale.

“We’ve got to learn to win those close matches,” he said. “We’re in a lot of close matches. Now we have to learn how to win them. That comes with experience.”