Wrestling: ’Toppers earn hardware at Valley meet Saturday

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By The Staff

Blaine Lattin again led a big outing for the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team this weekend.

Lattin took the gold medal in the 189-pound bracket for the Hilltoppers at a singles tournament, hosted by Albuquerque’s Valley High School. Los Alamos was originally slated to compete at Highland but was rerouted to Valley late last week by Albuquerque Public Schools officials.

In all, Los Alamos took home six medals, four in the junior varsity bracket and two more in the varsity tournament. For the tournament, the Hilltopper squad went a combined 16-6.

“It was nice to see the kids that were able to wrestle do well,” Los Alamos head coach Eric Sorenson said. “It seems we’re picking things up. We’re clicking. Everything’s falling in place right now to ramp-up and be ready for state.”

Lattin stuck Gallup’s Kevin Smith and Sandia’s Elliot Tsoodle in the first two rounds of the championship bracket to make it the 189-pound finals.

In the finals, Lattin met up with Saul Urbina of Moriarty. The two met a week earlier in the Joe Vivian bracket at West Mesa, with Lattin nipping Urbina in overtime.

Saturday’s final ended up being another battle, but again Lattin came out victorious. Neither wrestler scored a takedown in the final, but Lattin picked up a second round escape and a third round reversal, which is all he would need to earn a 3-0 win.

Also in the varsity bracket, 160-pounder Zak Wilde took third place, winning three of his four contests on the day.

Wilde scored three pins, including getting a pin in his first contest of the day against Manzano’s Isaac Smith.

Following the win over Smith, however, Wilde ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Sandia’s Anthony Gomez. Gomez topped Wilde 13-1 in what Sorenson said could’ve been a tournament final had the brackets been seeded.

Instead, Wilde dropped into the consolation bracket, but bounced back nicely from his loss to stick both Gallup’s Sean Begay and Valley’s Roberto Blea.

At 171 pounds, Gary Thorne earned a solid win in the first round, pinning Sandia’s Sean Miller. Thorne would drop his next two contests, however, to Moriarty’s Steven Apodaca and Valley’s Julian Gurule.

Thorne, who was coming off one of the best showings of his career last week, battled tooth-and-nail with Gurule. Gurule took an 11-9 lead with just :20 remaining in the bout, but by that time both wrestlers were gassed. Thorne didn’t have the energy left for a last-second comeback and Gurule held on for the win.

In the junior varsity bracket, eighth-grade call-up John Gibson won the 130-pound bracket, winning a football game against Nathaniel Roanhorse of Bataan Military, 21-10, to earn the medal in the final. Gibson pinned St. Pius’ Pat Abbo to start the day, then outpointed Manzano’s Andrey Huynh 20-6 to advance to the final.

Cory Geyer took third place at 119 pounds Saturday, bouncing back from a second-round loss to St. Pius X’s Anthony Arredondo to score pins in two straight consolation contests. Geyer pinned Gallup’s Dillon McDaniel to open Saturday’s competition.

Nate Robbins, the 215-pound freshman who has put together an impressive rookie season, was placed by Sorenson into the JV bracket primarily to see how he would do against wrestlers closer to his own age.

Robbins finished second in the bracket, pinning Alfonse Adonis of Bataan and Crhis Chee of Gallup before falling in the championship to Moriarty’s Michael Merrick.

Jodi Cull-Host had two tough contests to start at 103 pounds, including eventual third place finisher Marissa Armendariz of Gallup, and was bounced from the tournament.

With everything seeming to be heading in the right direction late in the season, Sorenson said his team can’t afford to get too far ahead of itself.

“Our big thing is keeping focus and not getting anybody injured,” he said. “We’ll keep working hard, keep our conditioning and try to make sure we keep our head in the game.”