Although PaliHi’s first league match isn’t until January 10, the Dolphin wrestlers have been competing in tournaments with a new focus and a new head coach, Aldo Juliano, who was the assistant coach last year.
This fall, many hours have been spent in the weight room and on the mat, with tough practices and an emphasis on technique. The results already show that this program is moving to a new level.
Coach Juliano’s plan is to send wrestlers not only to state, but also to help his athletes become competitive for college scholarships.
Last year, Hamzah Al-Saudi was Pali’s lone qualifier for the state meet, where he won two matches, before losing in his third.
This year should see more wrestlers qualifying, according to Juliano.
At the 36th Annual Newbury Park Invitational on December 2, PaliHi finished fifth out of 28 teams from California and Nevada. The Dolphins finished 11th a year ago.
Hamzah Al-Saudi (220 pounds) and teammate Jake Carpenter (152 pounds) took first in their weight classes and Al-Saudi received an MVP award.
Other Pali wrestlers placing were Aaron Galef, who finished third; Chance Chapman, Joseph Velado and Immanuel Newell (Maho), who all placed fifth in their weight class; and Para Parmoula, who took seventh.
On December 14, Juliano told the News that the Dolphins have received an invitation to the Doc B Invitational at Clovis High School near Fresno on January 5 and 6.
“The coach invited us,” said Juliano, who noted that this tournament “is where all the best come to wrestle.”
He said that after the Newbury Park Invitational, the Clovis coach had told him he was impressed by the Dolphins. Clovis has won six state team championships.
Over this past weekend at the Rosemead Tournament, the Dolphins took 8th place out of 42 teams. “We had a pretty decent couple of days,” Juliano said, noting that Al-Saudi took first place in his weight class; Carpenter was third and Chapman and Velado placed fourth.
Juliano had 35 athletes out this season, three of whom are women wrestlers. He has four captains: seniors Carpenter, Al-Saudi, Chapman and Velado.