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Wrestling: Toppers earn 4 medals Saturday

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By The Staff

It wasn’t even on the team’s schedule initially, but the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team is glad it made Saturday’s trip.

Los Alamos earned a quartet of top-four finishes Saturday at the Rattler Open out of 10 competing wrestlers with Jodi Cull-Host and Desmond Fellers both advancing to the championship bout.

The Rattler Open was held in Tucumcari.

Cull-Host, wrestling at 103 pounds, nearly upset Eric Gomez of Los Lunas in the final round of the tournament, but surrendered a penalty point with just seconds remaining in the final round and falling 8-6. Fellers, meanwhile, made the championship contest at 152 pounds but lost in that bout to Oscar Magana of Ruidoso

It was as good a finish for the Hilltoppers as first-year head coach Bob Geyer would’ve hoped for.

“We’re pretty happy,” Geyer said. “Everybody’s stepping up for us pretty good. We’re wrestling tough. Even the matches we lost, we had some close ones.”

The Hilltoppers have a young, freshman-heavy squad this season and has the stated goal of constant improvement over victories. And so far, things have been looking up.

The Tucumcari Open — which, because it was an open, didn’t calculate team standings at the end — features 16-man brackets in most of Saturday’s weight classes. While that had the benefit of giving Los Alamos’ young wrestlers plenty of chances to get some good mat time, it also cost its 145-pounder John Gibson a crack at a third place finish.

Gibson, who went into Saturday’s tournament just a week removed from a solid finish at the Capital Invitational, picked up four victories Saturday against just one loss to get to the consolation finals. But, by state rules, wrestlers can compete in no more than five bouts in one day, so Gibson had to forfeit the consolation finale.

So too might have 140-pounder Brian Geyer, who also went 4-1 Saturday, but his scheduled opponent also reached his quota of five contests. By rule, a coin toss was held to determine the winner and Geyer was awarded third place.

Also Saturday, Cory Geyer, Ben Mitsunaga and new incoming heavyweight Taylor Morrison each advanced in the singles competition.

Originally, Los Alamos wasn’t scheduled to have a tournament this weekend, but Geyer said Tucumcari welcomed his team to the competition when he contacted them earlier this week. In fact, in a couple of the tournament’s brackets, Los Alamos was able to enter more than one wrestler to fill up the 16 available slots.

The Hilltoppers will be off until after the holiday break when it travels to the Pinto Duals.