GLENDALE — Three years ago, the Hoover High wrestling program resembled Brentwood, the Tornadoes’ opponent in Wednesday’s nonleague match.
The Tornadoes were young and inexperienced on the mat and learned techniques through grueling matches, some losses, and hours of practice.
Three years later, the Tornadoes have become an experienced squad that has taken advantage of teams like Brentwood, which recently restarted its wrestling program and featured athletes competing in their first-ever match Wednesday.
Hoover used six wins via pin, three forfeits and an impressive performance by Davis Pogosian in the first match to notch a 58-6 victory at home and improve to 2-0 on the season. The only points the Tornadoes allowed was when they forfeited a match in the 126-pound division.
“We’re getting better,” said Tornadoes Coach Dave Beard, who is in his first year at the helm after taking over for Mark Bitetti. “We’re getting there. It’s about getting the mat time and getting better.
“We’re going in the right direction. We’re wrestling against similar teams and beating them pretty convincingly.”
Pogosian had a pretty convincing win at the outset.
Wrestling in the 132-pound division, the junior, in his second year in the program, controlled the pace of the match against Austin Jones en route to notching a 13-2 major decision.
“I was pretty confident,” Pogosian said. “I felt like I trained harder than [Jones]. You train hard, you win hard.”
Pogosian then stood behind the team bench and watched his teammates’ dominance.
Narek Zamanyan, a sophomore competing in his second match at Hoover, took advantage of his judo training from Armenia and pinned Marko Tripani at the 1:29 mark of the second period.
“We’re excited to have a program, but we have a lot of things to work on,” Brentwood Coach Jonathan Patton said. “It is all of my players’ first year.”
Sophomore twin brothers Jessie and Geraldy Martinez — the younger siblings of 2013 Hoover graduate Gio Martinez, who captured a Rio Hondo League title last year — took their turn against Brentwood following Pogosian’s win.
Jessie Martinez’s speed and strength were too much for Jake Mindel, as Martinez pinned his foe in the third period of the 152-weight class.
Geraldy Martinez noticed his brother’s pin and finished his opponent with 21 seconds remaining in the second period, despite admitting to feeling tired.
“I got tired quick, but I didn’t want to get embarrassed at home,” said Geraldy Martinez, who competed in the 160-pound division.
Jessie Martinez took his first step toward accomplishing what his older brother did.
“It’s inspiring what he did,” Jessie said.
Hoover’s most experienced wrestlers, David Nersisyan (170 pounds), Sebastian Ghouliance (182) and Joshua Lee (220), ended the afternoon with pins in the first round, with Ghouliance notching the quickest victory just 1:14 into the match.
“I was ready to go,” said Ghouliance, who fell to San Marino’s Adam Padilla, 7-6, in overtime of their 145-pound league championship bout last year. “Ever since we got the new coaching staff, we’ve been working hard.
“I want to win as a team and I want to make it to state this year.”