Wrestling: Hilltoppers struggle at Jaguar Invite

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By Mike Cote

SANTA FE – It comes as little surprise to the Los Alamos Hilltopper wrestling team that there’s still plenty of work to do.
Fortunately, there is still time to get where it wants to be come mid-February.
Los Alamos’ wrestlers mostly took it on the chin at Friday’s Jaguar Invitational, hosted by one of the Hilltoppers’ district rivals, Capital High School. Los Alamos fell in five of its six first round contests and had just one grappler still alive in the championship bracket after round two.
Only one Hilltopper competitor, Cory Geyer, took home a medal in Friday’s double-elimination tournament. Geyer, at 145 pounds, had a solid showing at the tournament, finished second in his weight class, falling in the title bout to a former state champion in Class AAA, Troy Estrada of Las Vegas Robertson.
Beyond Geyer’s performance, however, things didn’t go as well as the Hilltoppers thought they might.
“We had trouble in the first round,” Los Alamos head coach Robert Geyer said. “We lost some matches that we think we should’ve won. We’re young, but we’ve got to start winning some of those.”
Los Alamos finished next-to-last in team standings Friday. It finished with 44 points, putting it in 12th place ahead of only St. Michael’s, which had 34 point.
Robertson, one of the premier wrestling schools in the state, posted a lopsided victory in team competition. The Cardinals scored 250.50 points, easily outdistancing Goddard’s 181.50 points.
Only two other teams, Santa Fe (176.50) and Capital (155.50), came within 100 points of Robertson’s winning total.
Besides Cory Geyer, only two other Hilltoppers in the competition made it to the medal round Friday. Jodi Cull-Host, at 103 pounds, and Brian Geyer at 160 pounds, both placed sixth in their weight classes.
Both wrestlers had to bounce back from losses in their first contests of the day to make it into the medal round.
Cull-Host, who had a bye into the second round of the 103 bracket, could get nothing going in her opener against Adrian George of Santa Fe. Cull-Host took a technical fall in the third round against George, who blanked the Hilltopper junior 15-0.
Brian Geyer, meanwhile, was caught trying to duck under the arm of Bernalillo’s James Hawks. Hawks immediately put Geyer on his back and pinned him to knock him out of title contention.
Geyer actually ended up having one of the longest roads of the day to get to the medal round, needing three straight victories in the consolation bracket before falling in the fifth-place contest against Cipriano Rodelas of  Pecos.
Rodelas and Geyer were the only two wrestlers in 160 pound competition and two of just a handful at the Jaguar Invitational that had a full set of five bouts – five is the maximum number of contests an individual can have in one day – with Rodelas going 4-1 but having the misfortune of meeting Robertson’s Daniel Martinez in the first round. Martinez would win the 160 title along with being named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament in the middleweight division.
Following his opening round loss, Geyer made light work of his next opponent, Lucas Apodaca of Capital, pinning him in :41 of the first round.
Cull-Host, meanwhile, picked up a consolation semifinal round victory before losing to Bernalillo’s Wesley White in the fifth-place bout.
The only other Hilltopper to emerge from their first contest Friday was Isaac Koh at 152 pounds. Koh grabbed an early 5-1 lead over Jared Tenorio of Bernalillo, keeping Tenorio on his back for about 20 seconds midway through period, then held on through Tenorio’s comeback attempt.
With Koh holding a 5-3 edge and working off the bottom to start the final period, Koh stood up and broke Tenorio’s grasp to move ahead 6-3. That escape point would be just enough for the first-year wrestler, who fought off two power half-nelsons by Tenorio late to try to put him on his back.
Koh would advance no further in the bracket, however.
For Cory Geyer, who finished 2-1 on the day, earning an impressive 6-0 decision over a taller and wiry wrestler, Nolan Bailey of Goddard, in the second round, it was his second top-three finish to a tournament to start off the season. Last week, he placed third in the 152-pound bracket of the Sam CdeBaca Memorial in Albuquerque.
But Friday’s early-tournament losses were disappointing for the team, particularly because it was wrestling against three-quarters of its District 2AAAA foes – Española Valley, which was also scheduled to be at the Jaguar Invitational, was a late scratch – and ended up losing most of their head-to-head contests.