Wrestling: Toppers struggle at Las Vegas invite

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By The Staff

Despite competing in a place well known to have some top-shelf wrestling talent, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers were hoping to have a better showing than they turned in this weekend.

Los Alamos, which was missing a pair of its top wrestlers due to illness, failed to get anyone into the gold medal bracket at this weekend’s Robertson Invitational, held in Las Vegas. Kory Nelson and Paul Martinez both finished in second place in the silver bracket and Desmond Fellers picked up a solid third place finish in the silver bracket, but it wasn’t the kind of effort Los Alamos was looking for with just two weeks remaining before the District 2AAAA tournament.

“I wasn’t real happy,” Los Alamos head coach Eric Sorensen said. “We lost some matches we should’ve won and not necessarily because of mistakes. We weren’t wrestling up to our potential.”

The tournament ended up being a disappointing one for Los Alamos partially because it had wrestled very well for most of the month of January.

The tournament started Friday with teams wrestling in round-robin format, with the top two wrestlers in each weight class advancing to Saturday’s gold medal individual tournament and the next two finishers going into the silver tournament.

Los Alamos’ opening day was a mixed bag, with only 125-pounder Nelson and 130-pounder John Gibson even able to win half of their contests.

Fellers had a rough outing at 145 pounds Friday, dropping all three of his bouts. However, Fellers rebounded very nicely Saturday, bouncing Belen’s David Quayle in the consolation bracket — one of the opponents he lost to Friday — and then topping Robertson’s Joe Vigil to pick up third place in the silver tournament.

Nelson, for his part, won a pair of contests Saturday before falling to Derek Pringle of Aztec in the 125 silver medal championship bout.

Martinez also earned two wins Saturday before getting beaten in the final round of the 112-pound bracket.

Gary Thorne at 171 pounds had a good day Friday, going 2-3 against tough competition, then advanced in the consolation round after an initial loss before being dropped by Mike Vigil of Española Valley. Thorne tripped up Vigil when the two met Friday.

Cory Geyer at 119 also went 2-3 in Friday’s competition, scoring a win over Louie Valdez of Robertson but didn’t have as good a go of it Saturday, falling in two straight.

Gibson, meanwhile, had to resign following his loss Saturday to Capital Philip Urioste in the consolation round. Gibson won his first round contest against Albuquerque Academy’s Shane Benally.

Sorenson said he was unsure what the cause of his team’s subpar performance, but said it can’t afford any more of those type of showings.