By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Facing tough competition has a way of bringing out your best as Palisades High freshman Ari Blloshmi found out last weekend at the Black Watch Tournament, which annually attracts the best wrestlers in California.
The two-day event held at Upland High featured a field of 64 in every weight class, with matches going on 10 mats in two gyms simultaneously.
Despite locking arms with opponents two or three years older than him, Blloshmi made it to the second day with a gutsy effort that earned him praise from Coach Mike Lawlor and gained him valuable experience. After a first-round bye he won his first match in the 120-pound weight division by technical fall (18-1) over Riverside Poly’s Adrien Castillo before losing a decision to eventual runner-up Michael Jahnig of La Quinta. Blloshmi rebounded to beat Glendora’s Ryan Greenberg 10-6 in the backdraw Thursday to ensure himself more matches on Friday.
“A lot of guys did well at the JV tournaments we went to earlier but there were a lot more people here and this is much harder,” said Blloshmi, who took up the sport under Coach Adam Hunter at Paul Revere Middle School. “This was a learning experience. It taught me more about sprawling and ducking the head. Making weight is one of the hardest parts of wrestling. You really have to be disciplined and watch what you eat.”
Accumulatung a majority of Palisades’ 63.5 points to help it finish 23rd out of 63 teams were 160-pounder Luke Hansen and heavyweight Immanuel Newell, a defensive end on the Dolphins’ football team in the fall.
Hansen, a senior, won his first two matches by fall before being matched against Boulder Creek’s Cole Sheldon, who is ranked No. 1 in the state and beat Hansen 11-3 en route to winning the tournament.
Hansen decisioned Pomona’s Damien Limon and pinned Xavi Camarena of Franklin EG. In the fifth-place match he pinned Damien’s Liam McNair in the third period to earn a spot on the podium (top 8) and a medal.
Newell, a junior, lost his first match but scored four straight pins (with a default mixed in) and followed with an 8-2 decision to make the third-place semifinals. He lost that by fall but rebounded to score an 11-5 decision against Jorge Reboseno of Montclair to secure fifth place.
Erinn Jackson posted a 1-2 record at 152, Braeden Harris went 1-2 at 170, Kyle Santelices went 0-2 at 138 and Parsa Pourmoula finished 1-2 at 132.
Palisadian Aaron Galef, the LA City Section champion at 132 pounds last year, transferred from Palisades to Birmingham over the summer and won the 145 division Friday at Black Watch.