Wrestling: Toppers bounce back in day two

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By Mike Cote

At the Robertson Invitational, there arent a lot of cupcakes.

Thats something Eric Sorenson, head coach of the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team, said his squad better get used to.

The Robertson Invitational, held this weekend in Las Vegas, attracts some of the top competition in the state. Robertson is one of the top programs in the state year in and year out and teams like to see where they stand in relation.

Los Alamos had a slow start Friday, going 16-24 in head-to-head competition, but was able to bounce back Saturday to pick up some quality wins.

The tournament featured round-robin duals competition Friday, followed by Saturdays individual tournament. Wrestlers were seeded in Saturdays bracket based on their performances Friday.

Only Hilltopper Eric Carlson, a senior heavyweight who only started wrestling this season, advanced to the gold medal tournament, winning four out of five bouts in the round-robin event, three by pin and one by major decision.

Carlson went on to finish sixth, falling in the first round to eventual heavyweight runner-up Anthony De Herrera of Bloomfield.

Even with a tough first-day draw Los Alamos pool competition included Aztec, Moriarty and St. Michaels, three of the elite programs in the state Sorenson said he thought the Hilltoppers would have a better Friday showing.

Im not sure why we came out so flat, he said. Thats who we need to prepare for (at) state. Its good to get that wake-up call the first day in this one, not the first day at state.

Blaine Lattin, Los Alamos 189-pounder who has been the biggest standout for the squad this season, dropped a pair of contests Friday and ended up in the silver bracket. But Lattin, like many of the rest of the Hilltoppers, put together a solid outing Saturday, scoring three pins and taking first place in that tournament.

Marshall Naranjo, who competed at 160 this weekend despite tipping the scale Saturday morning at 147, also took first in the silver bracket for his weight class.

Naranjo also battled back from a tough Friday, where he lost three out of four, before sticking three straight opponents on Saturday.

Zak Wilde, whom Sorenson said had an incredibly tough draw Friday, was another to bounce back to win silver in the 152-pound competition. Wilde nipped Alex Griego of Moriarty Saturday, 3-0, after losing to him 8-4 in their bout Friday.

Paul Martinez took fifth in the 112-pound silver bracket, and Seth Holsapple was fourth in the 171-pound silver tournament.

Sorenson said the next two weeks, in which they will have a home meet and then head to Espaola Valley for the District 2AAAA tournament, will be the toughest weeks of the season. He said the team needs to keep the enthusiasm level it achieved Saturday in order to make a serious run for a district championship.

Weve got to step it up, he said. From here, this is what its going to look like.