Step onto the mat with Newsday's high school writers as they cover Long Island wrestling.
Arujau, Dutton best bets to bring home titles
In the "On the Mat" segment that aired yesterday on MSG Varsity's High School Sportsdesk, our own Andy Slawson called Stephen Dutton of Rocky Point and Syosset's Nick Arujau "locks" to win the state tournament. Both are top seeds this weekend — Arujau at 125 pounds, Dutton at 140.
Nobody is immune from an upset (see Wantagh's Paul Liguori, who won the state as a freshman and a sophomore but was upset in the first round as a junior and senior the past two seasons and placed third each year). But Arujau is the closest thing to a sure bet in this year's tournament.
The Syosset senior has won 119 straight matches (interestingly, three behind Liguori's Nassau record of 122 consecutive wins) and is a two-time defending state champ. He's 34-0 with 27 pins and five technical falls this season and hasn't lost since the 2007 state final when he was a freshman. His career record is 182-7.
Arujau has two defending state runner-ups in his bracket in Fox Lane's Steven Rodrigues (who lost to St. Anthony's Grant Greene in the 112-pound final) and Mahopac's Justis Flamio (who lost to Steven Keith of Shoreham-Wading River in the 119-pound final), but expect Arujau to still come out on top.
As for Dutton (Long Island wrestling's all-time wins leader with 223), he reached the final as a freshman but was upset in the first round as a sophomore. He won last season and appears poised to become a two-time state champ, having won 98 straight matches. Dutton, who is 223-13 in his career, is 45-0 this season with 33 pins and 10 technical falls.
The Rocky Point senior (pictured above) has just one defending All State wrestler in his bracket, Jim Kloc of Iroquois, who placed fifth at 135. Kloc is the No. 2 seed and wouldn't face Dutton until the final. So expect Dutton to bring home another title.
Finally, for everyone who'll be joining us in Albany this weekend, have a safe trip. The forecast is iffy at best, so the drive could take a bit longer than usual.
Not sure what the contingency plan is in the case of a postponement, but pushing the event to Sunday seems unlikely because Siena is set to play host to Marist at the Times Union Center at 4 p.m. that day.
We'll keep you posted on that and more all weekend long, right here on the blog.