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Hoover High's Arthur Ghukasyan merits fourth at Masters

Wrestling: Tornadoes' 160-pound senior finishes two-day run with 4-2 mark and earns trip to state finals.

March 01, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

ONTARIO — While satisfaction proved elusive for Hoover High senior Arthur Ghukasyan at Saturday afternoon’s second day of the CIF Southern Section Masters Wrestling Meet at Citizens Business Bank Arena, the Tornadoes grappler was far from disappointing.

Ghukasyan finished 1-2 on Saturday, but completed a 4-2 run through the tournament in a 160-pound division that featured the No. 1 and 3 wrestlers in state.

Overall, Ghukasyan took fourth place and, just as importantly, earned a berth to next weekend’s season-ending CIF State Championships held at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena.

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“My goal coming here was to win this and advance to state and I only did one,” Ghukasyan said. “I like that I’m going to state, but I just think it was experience that hurt me. I know judo, that’s my sport, I’ve only been doing wrestling for a couple of years and sometimes that hurts me.”

Ghukasyan’s third and final match of the day came in the third-place bout against state third-ranked Aaron Negrette of Santa Ana Calvary Chapel.

Ghukasyan (21-3) and Negrette were scoreless for nearly the entire first period until Negrette landed a quick takedown with 15 seconds left in the first.

Negrette’s two-point advantage doubled five seconds into the second round when the Inland Division champion delivered another takedown to go up, 4-0.

Unfortunately for the 36th-ranked Ghukasyan, two near takedowns in the period were thwarted as Negrette was able to wiggle himself out of bounds.

Eventually Negrette led, 8-2, in the third round before Ghukasyan delivered his third and final escape of the bout to cement the 8-3 score.

“I’m very happy with the result here this weekend,” Hoover Coach Dave Beard said. “Obviously, Arthur didn’t wrestle his best today, but how can you not be happy going to state?

“Remember, Arthur has only been wrestling for the last three years, these guys have been doing it since they’ve been 5. So, it’s a different world and a great, great experience.”

Ghukasyan opened his day with a tremendous challenge in facing Northview High senior Bryan Salinas, the top-ranked wrestler in state, according to thecaliforniawrestler.com, and was defeated in a 13-3 major decision.

Ghukasyan hung tough with Salinas and trailed the senior, 4-2, after one round with his points coming on escapes.

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