GLENDALE — Every match wrestled ended in a pin at Hoover High when the Tornadoes hosted Monrovia High in a Rio Hondo League dual meet Thursday.
Hoover Coach Mark Bitetti, who saw all but two of his wrestlers pinned in a 60-18 loss, had two explanations for the prevalence of the pinfall.
“It’s a result of inexperience and lack of fight is a part of it,” Bitetti said. “Inexperience is part of it, but you’ve got to fight to get off your back. They did stupid things to get on their back and when they did they couldn’t get out of it.”
The Tornadoes (1-3 in league) knew they couldn’t give the Wildcats too many six-point victories, as they forfeited two matches due to illness, but still saw the visitors notch pins in the first four matches. It gave Monrovia a 38-0 lead after Hoover vacated the 113- and 120-pound matches and committed two illegal hand holds.
“There were four or five pins where guys shouldn’t have gotten pinned but they did,” Bitetti said. “I am real disappointed about that. Monrovia did a good job, give them credit. Their guys came ready to fight, our guys didn’t.”
While Bitetti wasn’t pleased with the overall team effort, he was impressed with the performances from his 145-pounder Arthur Ghukasyan and Gio Martinez, who dropped about 10 pounds from the prior week to wrestle at 220.
The duo provided Hoover’s only wins with both grapplers pinning their opponents just about a minute into the match.
It was Ghukasyan who stopped the bleeding for Hoover when he hip tossed Monrovia’s Isaac Mungia 57 seconds into the match and held on for a pin about three ticks later to put his team on the board, 38-6.
“My mind set was to go close to him, grab him, throw him down, pin him and that’s exactly what happened,” Ghukasyan said.
Martinez took down Monrovia’s Logan Zamora in similar fashion, as he notched a quick hip toss and worked it to a pin with 58 seconds left in the first period.
“I like to finish the match quickly,” Martinez said. “I like to go in with a move I plan on doing.”
The Wildcats (2-2) took back control of the match when Monrovia 152-pounder Chris Morales pinned Hoover’s Davit Nersisyan with 45 seconds to go in the match. Nersisyan was leading, 5-3, in the third when he went for a takedown and was caught when Morales quickly sprawled and worked him to his back for the fall.
Derringer Silva, a 160-pounder, locked up the Wildcats win when he pinned Hoover’s Michael Sosa 1:28 into the match after a big takedown to give Monrovia an insurmountable 42-point lead, 48-6, with five matches to go.
With one league meet left and league individual finals approaching, Bitetti said Ghukasyan has a good shot at winning the 145-pound title.
“The only thing that’s going to stop Arthur is Arthur, as far as his attitude and how bad he wants it,” Bitetti said. “It’s going to come down to that because he’s very talented. If he wants it, he can get it — it’s there for the taking.”
Martinez said he feels more comfortable back at 220 — where he wrestled last year. He feels he has more strength than most opponents and is comfortable knowing he won’t be squaring off with someone a lot heavier than him.
When it came to league finals, the senior wasn’t one for predictions.
“I don’t like thinking ahead,” he said. “I like being humble, but I’m going to give it a shot and see how far I go.”