Pinning It Down

Palisades’ Immanuel Newell (top) takes down George Pozak of Ramona in his first match at 287 pounds Saturday in San Fernando.
Photos by Steve Galluzzo

Pali High Wrestler Immanuel Newell Wins Heavyweight Division at Sam DeJohn Invitational in San Fernando

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Immanuel Newell had to wait nearly three hours before taking the mat for his first match last Saturday in the annual Sam DeJohn Invitational at San Fernando High.

The Palisades High junior must have been in a hurry to get home because he needed barely over six minutes of wrestling to score four first-round pins on his way to capturing the heavyweight division title.

Immanuel Newell (facing) grapples with Ramona’s George Pozak on his way to a pin in the first period.

In the fall, Newell terrorized opposing quarterbacks from his defensive end position, accumulating 58 tackles while becoming one of three Dolphins to earn All-Western League first team defensive honors. Since switching to his “other” sport, he has turned heads with his most recent performance, along with a fifth-place finish in December at the  prestigious BlackWatch Tournament, where he went 7-2 with four pins.

On Saturday, Newell got three counts on his first two opponents—George Pozek of Ramona and Gavin Quiroz of Alemany—both in 1:59.

In the semifinals, Newell needed only 24 seconds to dispatch Steven Carvajal of Pioneer and in the finals he pinned Nathan Ramos of Norwalk in 1:37, using an overpowering move he has been practicing.

Newell showed promise as a freshman when he went 3-1 to tie for third place in the 220-pound division at the Arroyo Classic, then took fourth at 222 at the City Section Championships. He moved up to 285 as a sophomore, tying for fifth at the Newbury Park Invitational, but didn’t wrestle at City finals.   

He began this season with renewed vigor and, despite missing early training because of football, has added several moves to his repertoire. Newell considers wrestling more tiring than football, where you get a chance to breathe in between plays. On the mat, there is no time to rest.

Luke Hansen (top) turns Marcus Zimmerman of Grant in the first period of their first-round match at 162 pounds.

Luke Hansen reached the final at 162 pounds, pinning both Marcus Zimmerman of Grant and Sam Weaver of Chaminade in the first period and pinning Devin Perries of South Pasadena in 5:42 in the semifinals before dropping a 6-2 decision to Arroyo’s Steven Castellon in the championship match.

Parsa Pourmoula battled his way through the backdraw to tie for fifth at 134 pounds. He lost to  Isaac Barragan of Santa Fe by fall in his first match, but scored gutsy 4-2 and 6-0 decisions in the loser’s bracket to end up 4-1. Pali High’s three medalists helped the Dolphins take eighth place out of 52 teams with a total of 85 points—one behind seventh place Sylmar and half a point better than ninth place Eagle Rock. Host San Fernando won with 220 points.

Parsa Pourmoula (left) takes down Isaac Barragan from Santa Fe in his first match at 134 pounds Saturday morning.

Richie Rosen went 1-2 at 108 pounds, losing to San Fernando’s Jorge Soriano by fall, scoring a 10-3 decision over John Bwrede of Carson and losing a major decision to Isaac Fernandez of California. In his first match at 115, fellow freshman Ben Frizzell pinned Ricky Vasquez of Norwalk before dropping his next two matches and Ari Blloshmi, another ninth-grader who took up the sport under Coach Adam Hunter at Paul Revere Middle School, went 2-2 at 122 pounds.

Eric Smith-Williams was 0-2 at 140, Tucker Beall went 1-2 at 147 and Braeden Harris (172) and Kenneth Mackey (184) were 0-2.   

Representing the Dolphins’ B team was Kyle Santelices, who finished with a 1-2 record at 134.