Foreign wrestler making a name

Antonio Mendez

Robert Mullen, Reporters

Bakersfield College plays host to many foreign students for a variety of reasons. Arkadiy Petrosyan, a 20-year-old business major and wrestler, is one such student.
Born in Turkmenistan of Armenian descent, Arko, as he is known to his friends, has been in this country for a little over a year.
In that time, he has already made a name for himself by earning a California state championship in Greco-Roman wrestling competing for a club, and while at BC, earning Academic All-America honors.
Petrosyan was a national champion of Greco-Roman wrestling in Turkmenistan for three years, a junior national champion for three years, and a senior national champion for three years, and wrestling was a large part of why he came to the United States, and BC in particular.
“I’d heard that [Bakersfield] had a good school, and I heard about coach Kalivas and that he was a good coach,” said Petrosyan. Petrosyan had traveled abroad before for wrestling, visiting Iran, Turkey, Russia, and Uzbekistan.
Even though he has been wrestling since he was 6, Petrosyan notes that the type of wrestling at BC has been difficult for him to ajdust. “What I’ve been wrestling is Greco-Roman style, and what they do here is folkstyle [freestyle]. It’s been pretty difficult, with Greco it’s upper body, but with folkstyle you can do whatever you want.”
Currently, Petrosyan sits in the 197-weight division, and has thus far placed fourth in his weight class at the Oct. 5 tournament at Santa Ana.
Petroysan is not just athletically gifted, but has a sharp mind as well. Though he didn’t speak any English when he arrived, he quickly learned, and now speaks with barely a hint of an accent.
“I just had [to learn], nobody here speaks any Russian,” he said.
He does speak Russian, but also knows how to speak Armenian and Turkmen fluently.
Aside from being an athlete and student, Petroysan says he’s enjoying his time in America, and Bakersfield, but is taking advantage of the educational system.
“It’s a great place to get your degree, to stay focused on school, and if you’re an athlete, it’s a great place to grow,” he said.