MONTEREY PARK, CA. — For the second straight season, sophomore Brandon Sotomayor (Bakersfield / Centennial High School) won the individual heavyweight title at the East Los Angeles College Brawl Tournament, today.
It was one of the highlight matches of the day as it was a rematch of last year’s heavyweight state championship battle between Sotomayor and Palomar sophomore Chance Eskam. Eskam won last year’s state title against Sotomayor 3-2. Sotomayor won today 3-2 and remains undefeated this year and is the No. 1-ranked heavyweight wrestler in the state.
“I learned from the mistakes I made last year in the finals,” said Sotomayor. “I have to stay focused and continue to improve with the Regionals coming up.” Sotomayor will be the No. 1 seed in the SoCal Regionals. Eskam is not yet seeded probably because he just came into the CCCAA wrestling season.
No. 17 state-ranked Palomar upset No. 2 Cerritos, No. 5 Bakersfield, No. 9 Santa Ana colleges and No. 13 ELAC, in winning the 13-team tournament. The Brawl included four-year universities USC, Cal State Northridge and UCLA.
ELAC freshman Ahmad Shalabi won by fall (1:41) against USC sophomore Taylor Carmona in the second round of the 149-pound consolation bracket. Shalabi opened with a loss to eventual champion Andy Lowy of USC. Shalabi finished the day tied for fifth place.
“The win felt good, but more importantly I take what I learned today and move it on to our next meet,” said Shalabi. The Huskies move on to the postseason, the 2017 CCCAA Wrestling SoCal Regional at Bakersfield College on Saturday, Dec. 4 with a 10 a.m. start time.
After a first-round bye, ELAC freshman Anthony Arrellano (John Glenn HS) won a 12-1 major decision against USC senior Armaan Meshkati. Arrellano lost to eventual 197-pound champion, USC’s Andy Lowy, in the championship quarterfinals and finished tied for fifth place.
Freshman Daniel Martinez lost a tough match in the third-place quarterfinals of the 165-pound weight class to Seamus Sullivan (El Camino Real HS) of Cal State Northridge. Martinez tied for fifth place.
Sophomore Adriana Rojas and freshman Jennifer Villafana wrestled exhibition matches for the Huskies. Rojas split two matches winning the first on with a pin, 52 seconds into the match. Rojas stands 14-5 overall for the season. Villafana had one match, which she led in the third period, but lost a close bout.
Sotomayor opened defense of his heavyweight title on his home floor with a first-round bye. He won by fall (6:17) against UCLA graduate student Guillermo Ojeda (Santa Paula HS). With the crowd involved, Sotomayor won an 11-6 decision against Moorpark College sophomore Robert Knight (Newbury Park HS).
Individual Place Winners
Joshua Fuentes-Norikiyo, Santa Ana
Wolfgang Bernal, Santa Ana
Brandon Tierney, Santa Ana
Braulio Banuelos, Palomar
Leonel Perez, Santa Ana
Andy Lowy, USC
Brandon Sotomayor, East Los Angeles
Submitted by Tadzio Garcia