Benicia’s Othman climbs the ladder
To be the best, you have to beat the best in high school wrestling. Benicia High grappler Basil Othman seemed to do just that this weekend.
The Panther senior took first place at the Mission/San Jose Invitational and defeated the No. 13-ranked 138-pound wrestler in California as well as the No. 1 wrestler from Oregon in the same weight class. Overall he went 5-0 at the tournament to run his record this year to 264, according to the Benicia High coaching staff.
Othman is the Times-Herald Athlete of the Week.
Although Othman started last week as the No. 17 wrestler in the state, that number will likely rise after his first-place finish. That being said, the rankings are something the Panther doesn’t concern himself with.
“Last year I was No. 25 or something close to that at the state tournament and I ended up defeating the guy that was No. 12,” Othman said. “I’d rather focus on myself rather than worry about someone else.”
During the weekend Othman said he did a good job of keeping the focus on himself.
“I wasn’t looking for a certain go-to move but rather I just tried to score points and take what was given to me,” the Benicia senior said. “I was shooting a lot of the outside and moving my
feet very well, while focusing on what I know how to do. I also tried to wrestle safe and smart.”
In the semifinals Othman took a 4-1 lead in the first period on Zach Watts from Clovis North and ended up winning 9-3.
“I definitely moved my feet well in that one and I stayed very patient with my stance,” Othman said. “I shot a lot of from the outside and that worked.”
Moving on to the finals, Othman wrestled a tough, hardfought match with the No. 1 wrestler from Oregon, Angel Sanchez and eventually won 1-0.
“I knew (Sanchez) was really good at re-attacking and taking advantage of other people’s mistakes so I just wanted to slow down in the first period,” Othman said. “I also knew as the match went on he would get tired and open up more, causing more chances to make a mistake. So I tried to stay as safe as possible until the end.”
Although Othman won the tournament to gain back some confidence, he said he’s not satisfied.
“It’s refreshing to get back
on top, but more than anything it made me hungry to do it again,” the 17-yearold said. “I got a little taste of success and now I want more at the state tournament.”
Benicia wrestling coach Jay Ramos said that Othman didn’t have a great month of January and needed to get his confidence back up. Ramos’ son, Christian, an San Francisco State graduate and former star wrestler at Benicia High, helped Othman a lot with being able to score points from getting out of bottom in moves.
“Christian worked with him a lot and basically broke him down, taught him how to win again,” Jay Ramos said. “Basil had to learn how to wrestle in tough rounds and so the live rounds they had recently really paid off for Basil.”
Basil said the next step after high school is to study and wrestle at San Francisco State next fall.
“Jason Welch (the Gators head coach) really likes Basil’s movement and how his own wrestlers seem to have a similar style,” Jay Ramos said. “Basil has a lot of energy that Jason also likes.”
• Oliver Aandahl, American
Canyon boys basketball. Aandahl had 27 points in a win over Casa Grande.
• Mia Bonaton, Benicia wrestling. Bonaton finished in second place in the 111-pound weight class at the Lady of the Vine Tournament.
• Matthew Cadavid, Bethel High soccer. Cadavid scored twice in a two-minute period in the second half of Bethel’s 3-2victory over Vallejo on Friday night. He also scored a goal in a win over St. Pat’s.
• Donya Conley, St. Pat’s girls soccer. Conley scored twice in the Bruins’ 6-0win over Hercules on Tuesday.
• Delania Hunt, Benicia girls basketball. Hunt had 19 points in a loss to Ygnacio Valley.
• Deven Johnson, Vallejo boys basketball. Johnson had 31 points in a win over Richmond.
• Tameiya Sadler, St. Pat’s girls basketball. Sadler had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a loss to St. Mary’s. She also had 17 points, 15 boards, seven steals, five assists and five blocks in win over California.
• Jalen Scott, St. Pat’s boys basketball. Scott had 18 points in an overtime win over St. Mary’s and also had 11 points in a win over Albany.