Step onto the mat with Newsday's high school writers as they cover Long Island wrestling.
Syosset's Arujau 11 shy of Nassau consecutive wins mark
Here's a story from today's paper about Syosset's Nick Arujau:
Two-time defending state champion Nick Arujau of Syosset has won 111 straight matches, which is 11 behind Paul Liguori, who graduated from Wantagh last year, for the longest winning streak in Nassau history. With only the Nassau qualifiers, county and state tournaments remaining on the schedule, surpassing Liguori's mark is a crapshoot.
But the 125-pound senior, who'll wrestle at American next year, is after a loftier goal: to become the fifth Long Island wrestler to win three state titles.
"As long as I win states, I'm not going to cry about the record," said Arujau, who is 26-0 with 20 pins, five technical falls and one decision on the season. "But it would be nice to say I had the record."
Arujau, who hasn't lost since the 2007 state final, would have racked up more wins had he not missed time with a concussion earlier this season. But Syosset coach Mike Murtha believes the time off refocused his star wrestler.
Said Murtha: "He really took ownership of what his responsibilities are."
Because his matches generally end quickly (his last five wins were pins, three in the first period), Arujau said some of his best training comes during practices, when he works out with Syosset assistant Mike Daly (a former All-State wrestler at MacArthur), and defending state champ Grant Greene of St. Anthony's, who's been a close friend since the seventh grade. He even battled swelling in his right knee that flared up from taking too many shots.
"Wrestling a better wrestler helps you," Arujau said. "You don't get any better wrestling a kid for 30 seconds and pinning him. But sometimes my coach is like 'it's up to you to get a pin,' so I can't play around with them. I guess that's the point of wrestling, to pin the guy."
In the first round of the Nassau Dual-Meet Tournament Saturday, Arujau went up three weight classes to 140 and still pinned his opponent, Division's Eric Brouillet, in one minute.
With the individual tournaments on the horizon, the point is now to get his hand raised and move on to the next round. Something Arujau has become extremely proficient at.
"It's all about winning states," he said. "A streak is a good bonus, but it's not what I think about."
(*There's plenty of other wrestling news in today's paper, including Massapequa's win over MacArthur to take the Class A Nassau Duals title, Wantagh's victory over Plainedge to win Class B, the secret to Glenn's success, and much, much more.