LA teams getting back into the swing

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By Mike Cote

After fairly lengthy layoffs, the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling and swimming teams will both be back in action this weekend.
Both teams have been off since last month, with the Hilltopper swimming team taking part in the Dec. 21 Albuquerque Public Schools Invitational and the wrestling team competing in the Rattler Invitational in Tucumcari that same day.
Saturday, the boys and girls swim teams will be back in Albuquerque for a Mini-Invitational, although Hilltopper head coach Stu Corliss isn’t sure how a meet with eight competing teams qualifies as a mini-meet.
Nevertheless, he thinks his team should be ready to return to competition.
“During the break we had a lot of people on holiday with their families,” he said. “They still had workouts. I guess we’ll find out if they did those workouts.”
Meanwhile, Los Alamos’ wrestling team will be at Albuquerque Academy Saturday for a selection of duals contests. Those will come just four days before the Hilltoppers make their first home appearance of the season taking on Academy and Rio Rancho’s junior varsity — a squad that can compete very well with most varsity teams around the state.
At the APS swimming meet, Los Alamos will see the likes of Albuquerque High, Sandia, Las Cruces and Bosque School. That meet will be at the West Mesa Aquatic Center.
In their last time out, the swim teams won crushing victories at another APS meet, that one held at Highland.
Los Alamos’ girls finished with 711 points, close to triple the total of their nearest competitor, West Mesa, while Los Alamos’ boys had 605 points, more than 300 more than West Mesa’s boys.
Corliss feels confident his team will post similar team results this weekend, but said the focus needs to be on earning individual cut times for the state meet, which is now just about 6 weeks away.
The Hilltopper wrestling team, meanwhile, has been steady throughout the first half of the season.
At Tucumcari, Brian Geyer, Lane Saunders and Jonathan Schueler all made their way to the finals in the tournament, with Geyer winning the individual title at 195 pounds, his second consecutive tournament victory.
Team points weren’t kept at the 13-team meet.
Los Alamos head coach Bob Geyer said workouts were relatively low-key during the winter break, but based on his team’s workouts in preparation for Academy, he doesn’t think his team’s lost a beat.
“This week we look really good in the room,” he said. “I’m pleased with where we’re at. We refined some techniques and this week with live wrestling the kids have utilized some of those techniques.”
Among the teams scheduled to compete at Academy are Class 5A schools Atrisco Heritage, Valley, Eldorado, as well as Los Alamos’ district competitor Bernalillo and Class 4A Grants.
Geyer said Saturday’s duals should be a good tune-up for both Wednesday’s home appearance and the following weekend’s monster Joe Vivian Invitational, where 32 teams are expected.
For Corliss and the swim team, they’re expecting much the same level of competition this week as they saw in their last APS meet, although Las Cruces has been a competitive program at the state level in recent years.
Last weekend, Los Alamos attempted a “marathon” swim at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center. The team completed 24 total miles of swimming.