Wrestling: LA's efforts are paying off

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

The Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team doesn’t always leave it on the mat. Currently, the team is hitting the pavement.
Los Alamos’ wrestling team is pounding the streets with its fundraising efforts, which started during the fall to assist with equipment needs for the 2010-11 season.
As teams look for new ideas to boost budgets, the high school and middle wrestling programs participated in a push-up-a thon.
“The kids, together made close to $4,000,” Los Alamos head coach Bob Geyer said. “I’m really proud of all the effort they put in to getting and gathering pledges, doing the pushups, and gathering the money afterwards.”
Jodi Cull-Host, one of the team captains, turned in a performance of 100 push-ups, raising between $400 and $500 for herself. In doing so, she inspired several other wrestlers to push themselves harder.
Even the coaching staff stepped up to the mat with push-ups, earning an additional $500.
Adopted team mom and devoted wrestling supporter, Rita Sanchez, not only provided the students with additional motivation, but put her money where her muscles were with her participation in the push-up payoff and adding $372 to the pot.
According to Geyer, Sanchez recruits members for Los Alamos Middle School, keeps track of team members, helps run events, and just generally is part of what makes the teams go.
“Rita has been a long term supporter of LAHS wrestling, and knows each of the kids on the team personally,” Geyer said. “She travels with us to the state tournament every year, and is just an incredibly valuable asset. Our home LAHS tournament, February 5, 2011, is named after her son, the Bryan Sanchez Memorial wrestling tournament.”
Although a variety of meets are on the calendar, the team is already working on the February, Sanchez tournament, hosted in Los Alamos.
The team is seeking sponsors for the second annual tournament and with the help of some faithful volunteers, will shine the light on the young Sanchez, who was a wrestler for the Hilltoppers from 2001 to 2005.
“We renamed the tournament in February 2009 in his memory, to honor Bryan’s special skills and contributions as well as his whole family commitment to our sport and our program,” Geyer said.
Rita Sanchez is a Los Alamos Middle School employee, teaching foreign languages and educating students about a variety of cultures.
Last season, daughter Elena was one of two team managers for the high school team. Elena is now attending college.
The memorial tournament will highlight one local wrestler, honoring him or her with a trophy awarded in Bryan’s name.
To learn more about the program, Geyer can be reached at 505-310-3206 or via email at coachgeyer@lawrestling.net.