By Andrew Ayala
Former East Los Angeles College student and wrestler Joshua Newman died in a car accident on August 5. He was 25.
His former wrestling coach, Ralph Valle said that “Joshua was a quiet leader who never complained and was naturally talented.”
Newman had been recognized and mentioned in multiple articles over the years as a great talented wrestler.
He wrestled and attended ELAC during the ’11-’12 and to the ’12-’13 seasons until he tore his ACL and never fully recovered.
Newman’s entry into the team wasn’t a typical one, Coach Valle said.
“Every now and then I will go to a kid’s house, but he was different because he lived in Long Beach. I spoke to his mother and recruited him. He came from a program at Long Beach Wilson. The kid was very gifted and very smart. He could figure things out quickly. He was pointed out to me by the Long Beach Poly coach. It took him about a year to learn everything properly but for the most part he was all natural talent,” Coach Valle said.
Newman’s former teammate of two years and current assistant coach to Valle, Hugo Perez said, “Joshua was very quiet and humble. We had strong guys on the team but he was very strong. He won a lot and was humble about it. I needed that motivation to do well. He never missed a day and always trained hard.”
Some of his biggest accolades as a wrestler included being the team MVP for ’13.
“He didn’t feel the need to say a lot. His wrestling, attitude, and work ethic spoke for him. He was a shut up and work type of guy,” Coach Perez said.
Newman took fourth place at the 2012 California Community College Wrestling Championships and was ranked the No.3 wrestler in the state until his injury.
He had done so well he even wrestled the No.1 ranked wrestler in the state at one point of his career.
“He would have gone to wrestle at University but his injury got in the way,” Valle said.
During his career at ELAC, he was recognized All-American, which is when a player is recognized as being the best in their sport.
“He was the guy who loved to fight but wasn’t mean. I just had to talk to him not yell at him like some of the other kids and even after I chewed him out he would say I’ll get them next time,” Valle said.
“Josh was always focused. We were the same age but I still looked up to him. He was one of those guys who made everything look easy. He showed up every day and put the work in. He would do a lot when others didn’t want to do it,” Perez said.
“I hope he is remembered as somebody who motivated others to be better, and not just in wrestling. He pushed others and inspired the rest of the team and me. He made me want to do my best in school, work, and just in general. I needed that at that time in my life. Aside from a parent, a teacher, or a coach, I needed a friend that really motivated me.”
A few weeks before the passing of Newman, Perez and Valle both mentioned a day when their former team all met up and practiced one last time at ELAC.
The session was unplanned but went as smooth as when they used to wrestle.
“I still keep in touch with those guys on a constant basis. Josh’s death was very heartbreaking and shocking. It’s never good when you lose a friend. As a matter of fact, we lost more than a friend. We lost a brother.” said Perez.