BY KAREN CRUZ
No.1 state-ranked East Los Angeles College heavyweight sophomore Brandon Sotomayor was the only Husky to win during The Brawl Tournament at ELAC on Nov. 18. He defeated last year’s reigning champion Chance Eskam of Palomar College.
ELAC’s wrestling team hosted the all-day tournament. Sotomayor ranked No. 2 in last year’s tournament against Eskam in the 285 weight class. Sotomayor was undefeated, but Eskam broke his record by 3-2. Eskam, who is a returning state champion from the 2016 tournament he won against Sotomayor, lost his match.
Sotomayor won an Award of Excellence (a step above mvp) at the Meathead Tourney at Cuesta College. Sotomayor, who has been competing since he was a freshman, has been training extra hard to remain on the team. In the match with Eskam, the crowd remained calm as Sotomayor walked his way to the mats and competed against Eskam. Sotomayor earned his points for the different wrestling moves he made successfully during a match, and Sotomayor’s opponent earned his points for any infractions Sotomayor committed.
To train for their wrestling match, wrestlers have to warm the body with warm-ups. According to freshman wrestler Ahmad Shalabi, warm-ups are intense during training sessions: “We do two hours in the weight room every afternoon.”
In college wrestling, there are 10 weight classes ranging from 125 lbs to 285 lbs. When a wreslter is taken down, the wrestler in control is awarded two points. If the bottom wrestler escapes, that wrestler is awarded one point. Wrestlers can compete against another wrestler who have the same weight, but it doesn’t have to be the same height. There’s three periods and the first is two minutes. If the score is tied, then it will go into overtime.
Although Sotomayor had his first loss last year, he had been training everyday Monday through Friday for two hours per session with his teammates in preparation for this tournament. He worked his way through the season to compete against his opponent. “In wrestling you need to work hard,” Sotomayor said, who is a full-time student at ELAC and has two weeks to train before regionals. Sotomayor, was congratulated by teammates, head coach Ralph Valle and assistant coach Monico Enriquez after defeating Eskam in the tournament.
“The ELAC wrestling team has been good enough to reach finals in The Brawl Tournament,” said coach Valle. The energy from the audience created more excitement. Coach Valle’s expectations for the next tournament is to “work harder than before.”
Sotomayor has two weeks left to train and work hard to win the state championship. With the guidance of his coaches and support from his wrestling teammates and family, he wants to train harder and wants to bring a trophy home from the state championship to his home East Los Angeles College. The next wrestling tournament is scheduled at Bakersfield College, where ELAC will compete at the Southern California Regional Tournament on Dec. 1.