PaliHi Wrestlers Place Third in City, Al-Saudi Advances to State

By Sue Pascoe

The City Section wrestling finals were held at the Roybal Learning Center on Feb. 17-18, and Palisades High School finished third with 190 points. San Fernando won with 236 points and Birmingham took second with 216.

At the regionals, held a week earlier at PaliHi, 14 Dolphin wrestlers qualified for the finals—one in each weight class.

The Dolphins had hoped to finish higher at city, but as assistant coach Aldo Juliano said, things didn’t fall into place. “Guys we had pinned twice during the season we lost to. It was a bad day to have a bad day.”

Hamzah Al-Saudi (right) qualified for the state meet. Photo: Bart Bartholomew
Hamzah Al-Saudi (right) qualified for the state meet.
Photo: Bart Bartholomew

Pali’s Hamazah Al-Saudi pinned all four opponents as he captured the title in the 197-pound class. The junior will advance to the State meet in Bakersfield on March 3-4. Only the winner in each weight class advances. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 4 p.m., wrestling was over for everyone but Al-Saudi, but his teammates were practicing on the mats and others were working out with weights. Head coach Steve Cifonelli smiled and shook his head. “I told them to go home at 3,” he said. “Everyone is excited about coming back next year.”

He had four freshmen wrestling at sectionals: Maximillan Palees (162 lbs.) fin- ished third, Lucas Gagne (108 lbs.) and Immanual Newell (220 lbs.) each took fourth and Tommy Kalili (132 lbs.) did not place.

In the 115-pound bracket, Ryan Couche took sixth; Aaron Galef (122 lbs.) was injured and unable to compete; and in the 128-lb. weight class, Jonathan Ouaro battled to fifth place.

Jake Carpenter (140 lbs.) won three matches in a row before falling to Birming- ham’s Shawn Rojas. Carpenter then won his next two matches, pinning San Pedro’s Ray Rodriquez to take third.

At 147, Chance Chapman defeated his first two opponents before losing and going to the consolation bracket. He ended up with a fourth-place finish against San Fernando’s Donovan Parada.

Marcelo Maya, who went to state last year, beat his first two opponents in the 154-weight class, but lost to the eventual champion, San Fernando’s Trevor Gill. Maya took fifth in the 20-man bracket.

Joseph Velado (172 lbs.) was second. He had three straight wins before losing in the championship match to El Camino Real’s Kevin Castillo. Luke Hansen represented Pali in the 184-weight class, but did not place.

In the heavyweight class, Carlos Velado won his first match and lost his second, which bumped him to the lower bracket. Overall, he had four wins and a fifth-place finish.

The sole member of the girls wrestling team, senior Kaila Osorio, took third by pinning her opponent. Her overall record was 3-1 in the heavyweight division.

San Fernando also won the girls championship with 306 points.

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