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Following a disappointing effort earlier last week, the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team bounced back well at Saturday’s Moriarty Duals.
Los Alamos finished third in its five-team pool at the contest, hosted by Moriarty’s Pintos, before falling to the West Mesa Mustangs in the fifth-place contest.
In Pool B, Los Alamos finished behind Las Vegas Robertson and Valley but topped Del Norte and Eldorado for the third-place finish.
“I was really happy with them,” Los Alamos head coach Eric Sorenson said. “I’ve been hoping we’d see tougher competition. I hope that’s the key to getting a handle on the competition we’re going to see at the state tournament.”
Sorenson was particularly happy that his team earned a measure of revenge against the Del Norte Knights, whom the Hilltoppers lost to Tuesday at the Knights’ home triangular.
From a team perspective, Tuesday’s triangular was a disappointing one for the Hilltoppers, in which they fell to both Highland and Del Norte. The Del Norte loss was worse because Sorenson felt the Knights were a team the Hilltoppers could’ve beaten.
But Saturday, Los Alamos nipped Del Norte 28-24 to edge the Knights out for third place in the pool competition.
One of the bouts that put the Hilltoppers over the Knights was Kory Nelson’s win at 125 pounds.
Nelson, who hadn’t up until this point in the season gotten back to his 2007-08 form, was on top of his game Saturday, earning five wins. Against Joseph Serna, who took a decision in their bout Tuesday, Nelson controlled the contest wire-to-wire, taking a big 11-3 victory.
Nelson generally dictated the action in all his contests Saturday, something Sorenson said he was glad to see from the senior.
Following Nelson’s five wins — which included two pins, two major decisions and a forfeit — Blaine Lattin was 4-1 on the day, losing only to a state Class AAAAA medalist from last season, Eldorado’s Adam Gonzales.
The 189-pound Lattin has been Los Alamos’ most consistent grappler all season. Saturday he took a major decision over Robertson’s Zack Silva and pins over Valley’s Frank Valles and West Mesa’s Miguel Trujillo, as well as picking up a forfeit win.
“He looked great (Saturday),” Sorenson said. “He’s been our rock all year.”
Los Alamos lost to Robertson 52-16 and Valley 69-10, but knocked off Eldorado 48-6.
Desmond Fellers at 145 pounds pinned Carson Royce of Eldorado. Also picking up wins at Moriarty were Zak Wilde, who pinned Jaime Abdulah of Eldorado in his only contest of the day, and Nate Robbins topped West Mesa’s Isaac Caraveo 6-3. Cory Geyer won an exhibition contest at 119, beating Mack Salmon 5-3.
The Hilltoppers will be at home for the first time this season Wednesday when they host a quadrangular. Albuquerque Academy and Rio Rancho’s junior varsity squad are already confirmed, while Capital, Los Alamos District 2AAAA foe, is also scheduled to appear.