Youthful Hoover wrestling topped by San Marino

SAN MARINO – Pins from seniors Allen Melikyan and Azad Markosian highlighted what was an otherwise rough outing for the visiting Hoover High wrestling squad in the team’s Rio Hondo League opener Thursday afternoon.

League stalwart San Marino won seven of the match’s first eight bouts en route to a 54-18 victory.

The loss dropped a young Hoover squad to 1-1 and 0-1 in league, while San Marino improved to 1-1 in league.

The circumstances may have been different for the Tornadoes had they faced the Titans only a week earlier as San Marino was missing five wrestlers in a league-opening 48-30 defeat at La Cañada on Jan. 4.

Almost at full strength, a talented and experienced Titans’ group was too much.

“This is a whole different team from one week to the next,” Hoover coach Dave Beard said. “They got a bunch of kids back today and it is what it is.

“I like how my guys get out there and compete and then come back to practice and want to learn more. This year is a learning process for a lot of our wrestlers except Allen and Azad.”

By the time the 170-pound Melikyan hit the mat, San Marino had already clinched the contest having taken an insurmountable 48-6 lead.

The team result did not affect Melikyan, who took a 5-0 lead after one period with a takedown and near fall. Another takedown of San Marino’s Ethan Lainez preceded a pin in 3 minutes, 17 seconds.

“The beautiful thing about wrestling is while it is a team sport, you also have to focus on what you’re doing individually regardless of what’s happening,” Melikyan said. “I want to work and be satisfied with my performance.”

Last season, Melikyan went undefeated in league dual-meet action and advanced to the league individual finals, where he was upset in the 160-pound championship.

Thursday provided Melikyan a chance to serve notice to the rest of the league.

“I have a lot of respect for the guy who beat me,” Melikyan said, “but this year that won’t happen again.”

Markosian, the reigning league heavyweight champ, finished the afternoon in the heavyweight bout and made quick work of San Marino’s Gary Schwarz. After picking up a takedown and 2-0 lead, Markosian secured a fall in 1:46.

“I don’t always get a chance to wrestle, but when I do, I expect to go out and win,” Markosian said. “We have a bunch of freshmen on this team and I have to set an example.”

Hoover’s only other victory was credited to 132-pounder Angel Celio, who was awarded a forfeit.

While San Marino forfeited one weight, the Tornadoes surrendered three.

One of the Titans’ wrestlers making his league debut Thursday was freshman Luka Wick.

The younger brother of former state champions Zander and Evan Wick delivered a pin in 1:35 at 145 pounds. The fall was one of four for the Titans.

San Marino raced to a 24-0 advantage and eventually led, 36-6, at the match midway point before eventually winning 10 of 14 bouts with a rare bye at 195 pounds.

andrew.campa@latimes.com

Twitter @campadresports

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