By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
It’s been trial by fire for the Palisades High wrestling team this season but the Dolphins’ growing pains are producing results. Up against their toughest competition yet at the annual two-day Black Watch Tournament in Upland last week the Dolphins placed 15th out of more than 50 schools, despite having only nine wrestlers participate.
Second-year head coach Mike Lawlor was pleased with the effort and the results.
“We had some great performances at a super strong tournament,” he said. “Ryan Woods took sixth at 113 pounds, including a phenomenal quarterfinal win and made it back-to-back weeks placing at tough tournaments as a freshman. Eric Smith-Williams put it all together and wrestled his best tournament to date, taking third in a stacked field. He went 5-1, with his only loss to Rowland standout Alex Ramirez (ranked 4th in the state). Parsa Pourmoula also placed on back-to -back weekends, taking fifth after going 4-2 and dropping a tough 3-0 bout in the semifinals to the eventual champion at 152. Sophomore Ari Blloshmi didn’t place, but wrestled well and contributed valuable team points, advancing to the quarterfinals and losing only to the fifth- and sixth -place guys at 126.”
Woods pinned his first opponent in the first period, scored a 10-8 decision in his next match before falling to eventual winner David Saenz of Roosevelt.
Smith-Williams scored pins in the first two rounds, won a 6-4 decision in the quaterfinals and lost in the semifinals to the eventual championbut recovered for a pin and a 3-1 decision over Genaro Lopez of Indian Hills to lock up third place.
Pourmoula won his first two matches by fall and his third by default before dropping a 12-2 decision to Sebastian Tapia of Bell. He won his next match 8-6 before losing 5-0 to Isiah Vasquez from Roosevelt.
One week before at the West Coast Classic in Rosemead the Dolphins were 16th in a field of 42 schools. Woods was seventh at 113; Richie Rosen was eighth at 120; Pourmoula was eighth at 152 and Michael Medina also medaled (eighth-place at 170).
Rounding out the varsity lineup Charlie Addis (132); Kyle Santelices (138); John Berrellez (138); Erinn Jackson (160); Balbino Castro (195); and Nick Meeks (220). JVs include Asher Goldy (106); Ben Frizzell (113); Matthew Maldonado (120); Robert Rosen (126); Collin Roberts (138); Tucker Beall (145); Jack Zussman and Cole Rowland (152); Kenneth Mackey (170); Jonathan Zecena (182) and Cesar Franco (195).
Palisades will be back on the mat next Saturday, Jan. 11, for the Sam DeJohn Invitational at San Fernando High.