Sound Beach's Brandon Escobar eliminated in wrestling
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Sound Beach native Brandon Escobar, wrestling for Honduras in the Olympics, was eliminated in his first match Friday.
The 21-year-old lost to Armenia's Mihran Jaburyan, 12-3, in the qualifying round of the men's 121-pound freestyle. The former Long Island high school star was the first -- and only -- wrestler to represent Honduras.
Escobar was born on Long Island to Honduran immigrants and moved to Honduras as a toddler, but eventually settled with his mother and stepfather in Sound Beach. He went on to win two Suffolk championships while at Rocky Point High School.
Last year, upon realizing his chances of making the U.S. Olympic team were slim, Escobar chose to try out for the Honduran national team. "I was thinking, 'If I don't get to represent the United States, I can represent Honduras,' " he told Newsday in an interview in June.
Because the Honduran team didn't have any wrestlers in his weight class, they readily accepted him, Escobar said. He spent the last year traveling with the Honduran national team. He earned the Olympic berth by reaching the semifinals of the Pan American Games in Orlando, Fla.
Jaburyan beat Escobar, 6-3, in the first period and 6-0 in the second to win by a technical fall, advancing to the round of 16. Jaburyan went on to lose to Japan's Shinichi Yumoto in the semifinals Friday. Russia's Dzhamal Otarsultanov eventually won the gold medal in the event.