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Hoover wrestling's Arthur Ghukasyan looks for one final big weekend at state

Wrestling: Senior is hoping to medal at 160 pounds at Bakersfield Rabobank Arena.

March 06, 2014|By Andrew Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • File Photo: Hoover High School's Arthur Ghukasyan flips and eventually pins La Cañada's Chris Harb in the 145-pound weight class in a non-league wrestling match at Hoover High School in Glendale on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
File Photo: Hoover High School's Arthur Ghukasyan… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

For the first time in quite a while, Hoover High's Arthur Ghukasyan took a break from wrestling this week.

Unfortunately for the 160-pounder, the circumstances were nothing like a vacation, but instead resembled a fight, as the senior was dealing with a bout of the flu in the days leading up to the season-ending CIF State Wrestling Championships at Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena.

"I actually feel pretty good and I'm getting better," Ghukasyan said of his progress Wednesday evening. "I had the flu this whole week and it slowed me down, but I feel OK now.

"If there's a good thing about the flu, it forces me to stop and now all my muscles are in place and I'm not sore anymore. I'm ready for state."

Of the 72 area wrestlers who began the season with aspirations of advancing to state, only Ghukasyan achieved the ultimate goal.

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"For him to get this far is a testament to his work," Hoover Coach Dave Beard said. "We would love to medal, but we're definitely not looking past the first day. We're not overlooking anyone."

For Ghukasyan, his push through the postseason, which began with a Rio Hondo League championship on Feb. 1, has also seen his rising prominence and ranking.

"Arthur just didn't wrestle enough this season to get the recognition he deserved," Beard said. "But I knew that he was capable of really doing well, it was just a matter of getting him out there."

Ghukasyan was unranked throughout the season and even after his league title.

Yet, the judo-trained Ghukasyan went 3-1 through the CIF Southern Section Eastern Division championships at Perris Citrus Hill High from Feb. 22-23 and took second place.

That run moved Ghukasyan to No. 36 in state. After a 4-2 spurt that resulted in a fourth-place effort at last weekend's CIF-SS Masters Meet in Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, Ghukasyan (21-3) is now ranked No. 20.

Ghukasyan begins his quest at 9 a.m. Friday with a bout versus Exeter High junior Tyler Coker, the ninth-place qualifier from the Central Section.

Coker, ranked 38th in state, is champion of the Redwood Invitational at 170 pounds and also wrestled at that weight when he took silver at the nearby South Pasadena Holiday Invitational on Dec. 27.

"We've called up [South Pasadena Coach] Al Shuton to get some info and we're confident," Beard said of Ghukasyan's impending bout with Coker.

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