With defeat fresh in his mind, Hoover High senior wrestler Arthur Ghukasyan wasn’t in any mood to talk about history Saturday evening.
The Tornadoes 160-pounder suffered a difficult loss to Victor Valley senior Michael Lopez in the title bout of the CIF Southern Section Eastern Division Individual Championships at Perris Citrus Hill High.
While Lopez is now able to carry the honor of being a divisional champion, a merit that Ghukasyan craved, the Hoover wrestler earned himself another valuable distinction as Ghukasyan became his school’s first qualifier to the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, which begins Friday at Citizen Bank Arena in Ontario.
“Honestly, I don’t feel good at all and I’m not happy,” Ghukasyan said. “All my matches leading up to the finals, I did well. But in the final, I messed up.”
Ghukasyan trailed, 9-7, with under a minute remaining in the third round and tossed the top-seeded Lopez, attempting to secure either a pin, takedown or near-fall.
Yet, just as Ghukasyan was about to turn Lopez’s hips onto the mat, the Desert Sky League champion worked his move.
Lopez executed a reversal and flipped Ghukasyan to the mat before notching a pin in 5:28, which handed Ghukasyan (17-1) his first defeat this season.
“I was about to beat him,” Ghukasyan said. “I was two seconds away from pinning him and he flipped me.”
The third-seeded Ghukasyan earned his way into the finals with an upset victory against second-seeded Mark Aceval of San Juan Hills. He secured a 5-2 decision in the semifinals, which was Ghukasyan’s first bout Saturday.
Leading up to Saturday’s bouts, Ghukasyan went 2-0 on Friday after receiving an opening-round bye.
Ghukasyan’s first victory came via a 10-0 decision over Nathan Sears of Lancaster in the second round, which preceded a pin of Tahquitz’s Fernando Blanco in 3:54 in the quarterfinals.
“Even though this program has been around three years, this is really its second year of competitive wrestling,” Hoover first-year Coach Dave Beard said. “I’m really impressed with our progress and it’s another great step to have a Masters qualifier in Arthur.”
Hoover brought a contingent of nine wrestlers, but only Ghukasyan advanced past the first day. Gkukasyan’s silver-medal effort also tied Hoover for 26th with 34 points in the divisional standings.