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Gio Martinez of Hoover wrestling ready to test his strength at CIF

Hoover's 220-pound wrestler is looking to continue a wildly successful two-week run through CIF Individuals.

February 08, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Senior 220-pounder Gio Martinez has won his last four matches, all by pinfalls, and it's led him to a Rio Hondo League individual title in the second year of Hoover's wrestling program.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Senior 220-pounder Gio Martinez has won… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

There's no secret to the success of Gio Martinez. Ask anyone who's wrestled with him or just seen him on the mat for Hoover High.

“His strength,” Tornadoes sophomore Joshua Lee said of the reason for Martinez’ success. “He’s like crazy strong.”

Lee has been Martinez’s training partner for most of the year. He estimates he’s won about 20% of the more than 100 matches he’s had with Martinez.

“I was close to beating him the other day until he just benched me off of him,” said Lee, who wrestles at 195 pounds. “Yeah, he’s really strong.”

That strength has lifted Martinez to a wildly successful past two weeks. The senior 220-pounder has won his last four matches, all by pinfalls, and it’s led him to a Rio Hondo League individual title in the second year of the Tornadoes program and first in the league.

“I struggled learning technique, so during matches I depend on strength,” said Martinez, who also anchored the Tornadoes offensive line at center during football season. “I'm probably like one of the strongest guys in the league. I work out more than I practice, so that's what helps me in wrestling.”

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With the league championship in hand, Martinez is set to compete in the two-day CIF Southern Section Southern Division Individual Tournament, which begins Feb. 15 at Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley.

While Martinez is Hoover’s only league champion, fellow Tornadoes Arthur Ghukasyan (145) and Sebastian Ghauliance (160) will join Martinez as top-three finishers in their league’s weight classes.

“I am proud of Gio because he’s accomplished so much throughout this year,” said Lee, who took fourth in his weight class at league. “Even though it was a beginning year and we weren’t ready for wrestling, to see him get up to league finals and get first place; I’m really proud of him. I’m proud to call him my friend and excited see him do well in CIF.”

For the first half of the Rio Hondo League season, Martinez’ strength wasn’t on full display. He entered the wrestling season at 230 pounds, fresh out of football.

It was a bit of a struggle for Martinez, as his opponents were often a lot bigger than him with heavyweights being allowed to weigh up to 285 pounds.

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