CLOSER LOOK: Canyon Springs’ Im. Barber

Take a closer look at Moreno Valley Canyon Springs’ 170-pound wrestler Immanuel Barber and you’ll see a competitor with a surprising ability to communicate about his typically dominating performances.

The reigning Freestyle state champion and a two-time All-American in the discipline, Barber was unstoppable in earning his first Riverside County championship on Jan. 7, blasting through his division with three pins in five matches.

He left Arlington High School that night with his third tournament title of the season (he also won the Rialto Carter & Brickyard tournaments) and a 25-2 record.

I caught up with Barber following his 7-0 victory over Riverside La Sierra’s Robert Crider in the finals.

“This is just one of my many goals,” Barber said.

What can you take from tonight into the rest of the season?

“I just want to apply the domination I had in my finals match to all my matches. That’s what I want to reach for in every match.”

Is the game more mental for you now?

“I guess you could say ‘mental’ because I have the tools, you just gotta get it right in your head first.”

How are you, physically?

“I’m healthy! No injuries.”

What advantages did you have having wrestling Crider so many times?

“I beat him three times before. I beat him at league. I beat him at CIF and I beat him at Masters. I sort of already know what he’s does. Typically, he tries to throw me but I guess tonight he didn’t try that, and I just capitalized on his bad shots towards my ankles. Backhand on the tricep. Got him, got around, scored. Got four off of that, and I tilted him. I think I could’ve beat him by more but you know… a win’s a win. 7-0, that’s good.”

You’re undefeated this year?

“No. I have two losses.”

Two losses? What happened? Were you sleepin’?

“I lost to Joey Davis, returning state champ, ranked No. 2 in the nation, and Zach Nevills, three-time state placer and ranked third in the nation.”

What are your goals this season?

“First in CIF. First in Master’s. First at state.”

POST SCRIPT:

I caught up with Barber following the Battle for the Belt Temecula Valley Invistational on Saturday, Jan. 14, and he wasn’t playing the part of the champion. Not even.

Barber finished sixth at 170 pounds, and actually lost to Crider, 10-9, in the consolation semifinals.

What happened today?

“I lost to Zach Nevills, 4-2,” Barber said. “It was a really close match, made some mistakes, and then in the consolation semifinals I lost to Robbie Crider from La Sierra by one point, 10-9.”

You beat him last week. What was the difference this week?

“I guess I just under-estimated him. It’s OK.”

Basically, it serves as motivation?

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

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