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Wrestling: LA performs well on Los Lunas' mat

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By Mike Cote

When you’re understaffed, you do the best you can.That was the philosophy the Los Alamos Hilltoppers took into Saturday’s Los Lunas Invitational team duals tournament. And that philosophy worked out well.The Hilltoppers, fielding just a five-man unit Saturday, due to injury and illness, won 14 of 20 head-to-head contests at the tournament. Because they were surrendering more points than they could possibly make up to each of the four teams they faced, the focus was on winning on the mat.Los Alamos head coach Eric Sorenson said he was very happy with his team’s overall performance and downright thrilled with the performances of 145-pounder Brandon May and 171-pounder Gary Thorne, who had their best outings of the season Saturday.The two combined to win six of their eight bouts Saturday, all of the wins by pin.“(They) were coming out and being aggressive,” Sorenson said of May and Thorne. “They’ve wrestled a little passively, but (Saturday) they wrestled aggressively as all get-out.”May could’ve gone 4-0 on Saturday, but made a late slip-up and got caught by Tucumcari’s Michael Martinez in his final bout of the day.After winning his first contest, Thorne lost to Los Lunas’ Robbie Trujillo, but bounced back to pick up two pins in his last two contests.“I’m really hoping we can keep the fire going with those two,” Sorenson said.Blaine Lattin at 189 went a spotless 4-0 Saturday, continuing his fine early season showing. Lattin scored four straight falls, including coming from behind against a tough challenge from Los Lunas’ Jesse Perea.Zak Wilde, fighting illness, finished 2-2 at 152, pinning two opponents, and Eric Carlson won two bouts Saturday, both by pinfall.“With five kids, you can’t expect to win a team tournament, but in terms of individual performance we did very well,” Sorenson said. “I’m very happy about that.”