Beni­cia’s Oth­man climbs the lad­der

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - SPORTS - By Thomas Gase tgase@timesher­al­don­line.com @tga­sevth on Twit­ter

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.”

Honor­able Men­tion

• 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.

Oth­man

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