BAKERSFIELD, CA. — For the second straight season, All-American East Los Angeles College sophomore Brandon Sotomayor (Bakersfield / Centennial High School) advanced to the CCCAA Wrestling State Championships out of the Southern California Regional Championships.
The State Championships will be on Friday/Saturday, Dec. 8/9 at San Joaquin Delta College, located at 5151 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95207. Doors open at 9 a.m. each day.
No. 1-seed Sotomayor took his first loss of the year, 5-4, to defending state heavyweight champion and No. 2-seed Palomar sophomore Chance Eskam at the SoCal Regional.
Sotomayor defeated Eskam last week in the ELAC Brawl. Today’s match produced a similar even match until Eskam blew open a swift 5-2 lead, but not without some drama.
Eskam stopped play for an injury, but when play resumed he stopped play again to adjust his headgear after a near takedown from Sotomayor. The adjustment took several minutes. Sotomayor scored from an escape and was awarded a point for Eskam’s stalling.
“The loss was more of a wake-up call than anything else for Sotomayor,” said wrestling coach Caleb Smith who works with the ELAC team. “He was undefeated, but he will learn from this experience, which will help him at state.”
If Sotomayor and Chance meet in the heavyweight state championship match next week, it will be a rematch of last year’s final, a fitting end to Sotomayor’s community college run at ELAC, center stage in the state finals.
Sotomayor won a 4-1 decision in the semifinals against Ramiro Macias of host Bakersfield College.
Sotomayor won a quarterfinal round match with a 5-3 decision win against Robert Knight of Moorpark College. Chance won his matches by identical 5-3 scores.
ELAC freshman Ahmad Shalabi lost in the 149-pound Consolation Bracket second round match to Matt Salcedo of Mt. SAC, the eventual fourth place medalist. Shalabi controlled the match early on and led 8-6, but could not finish it and lost a major decision 16-8. Shalabi drew eventual champion Bakersfield’s Emmett Kuntz and the home Bakersfield crowd, in a first round match, but fell.
Shalabi faced insurmountable odds in wrestling his first ever-year in California Community College Wrestling with athletes that have been in the sport for some time. Shalabi met his goal of finishing his season in the post season. He leaves a champion to Husky fans and will return an experienced wrestler after hard work in the next two semesters before next season begins.
ELAC freshman 141-pounder Benjamin Angel, who was a seasoned wrestler at St. John Bosco High School, also bowed out in Consolation Bracket. Angel got early leads, but also fell short of closing out with wins. His hard work, commitment and wrestling talents will take him far next year at ELAC in what is to be ELAC’s biggest year in many seasons. More info to follow…
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
SoCal Heavyweight Medalists
1. Chance Eskam (Palomar)
2. Brandon Sotomayor (ELAC)
3. Ricky Garcia (West Hills)
4. Ramiro Macias (Bakersfield)
5. Gabriel Herrera (Mt. SAC)
6. Marco Valdivia (Rio Hondo)
Submitted by Tadzio Garcia