West Bloomfield High’s Bashi looking for state title

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 21, 2019

 West Bloomfield High’s Austin Bashi locks in a hold against his opponent Feb. 9 at a Division 1 individual district. Bashi has qualified for the state final March 1-2 at Ford Field at 112 pounds.

West Bloomfield High’s Austin Bashi locks in a hold against his opponent Feb. 9 at a Division 1 individual district. Bashi has qualified for the state final March 1-2 at Ford Field at 112 pounds.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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WEST BLOOMFIELD –– Ever since Austin Bashi began wrestling at West Bloomfield High his sophomore year, winning a state title has been on his mind.

Now in his senior year, Bashi is looking to make that dream become a reality. Wrestling in the 103-pound weight class a season ago, Bashi was able to finish fourth at the Division 1 state tournament.

This season, Bashi will be competing at 112 pounds. He finished second in the regional and has a 39-3 record entering the state finals March 1-2 at Ford Field in Detroit.

“Since the end of the year last year, our goal is to get me a state championship, so all this hard work, preparation, all these practices will get me a state title,” Bashi said.

To claim a state title, grapplers must win four consecutive matches. The No. 1 seed in the tournament is Macomb Dakota’s Brendan Ferretti.

At the regional, Ferretti won by decision over Bashi. Last season, Ferretti defeated Bashi in the third-place match at the state meet. The two are on opposite sides of the bracket heading into this year’s finals.

Bashi hasn’t forgotten those two losses, and he’s using that as motivation. He considers Ferretti a little bit of a rival and would love nothing more than to defeat him in his final high school match for a state title.

“We’re all in for the state title. It’s all or nothing. If we don’t grab it, it will be a very disappointing moment, but that’s why I’m trying to get it for me and my team,” Bashi said.

One thing that has helped Bashi along the way has been his background in mixed martial arts. He said that background has played a huge role in his progression as a wrestler.

Bashi hasn’t decided what he’s going to do after his wrestling career is over, but he would like to continue mixed martial arts. He said that he would like to eventually become a UFC champion.

“I started MMA when I was 8 years old, so transitioning that to wrestling just did nothing but help me,” Bashi said.

West Bloomfield coach Greg Alessi believes that his senior has what it takes to win a state title. He called Bashi’s progression over the course of his three years “phenomenal.”

For Alessi, being able to see Bashi win a state title would be special for him and the program. West Bloomfield’s last state champion was Denny Rapal back in 1989 at 103 pounds. Since then, the Lakers have had two wrestlers finish runner-up (Chris Kinaya at 135 in 2005 and Zoran Lazar at 189 in 2006).

“We think (Bashi) can win it. That’s what we’re training for. That’s what we’re shooting for,” Alessi said. “Things got to go right. You got to have a little bit of luck along the way. You got to wrestle really good. You can’t have a bad match at the state tournament. … I think he’s pretty focused, and he’s pretty committed to it.”

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