Cornell wrestler Vito Arujau, right, wrestles Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young,...

Cornell wrestler Vito Arujau, right, wrestles Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young, left, in the 133 lbs. finals match during the NCAA Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Tulsa, Okla. Credit: AP/Sue Ogrocki

For Syosset's Vito Arujau, the third time was the charm.

Cornell's Arujau, the defending national champion at 133 pounds, defeated nemesis Ryan Crookham of Lehigh, 12-3, to the advance to the finals of the 94th NCAA Division I wrestling championships at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday night.

Arujau will face top seed and undefeated Daxton Fix of Oklahoma State in the 133-pound final on Saturday night.

Second-seeded Crookham had defeated Arujau twice earlier this season. Arujau handed Crookham his first loss of the season in 22 matches.

Arujau, the No. 6 seed. Improved to 19-2 on the season. He scored a takedown just 25 seconds into the match to take a 3-0 lead. Arujau extended the lead to 6-1 after one period with a late takedown. He used four takedowns against Crookham to dominate the match. Arujau had one takedown in each of the second and third periods

15 wrestlers from Long Island have previously won national titles.

A win by Arujau in the finals on Saturday night would make him just the third wrestler from Long Island to win two NCAA Division I titles. Carl Adams (Brentwood) won titles for Iowa State at 158 pounds in 1971 and 1972. Kerry McCoy (Longwood) won titles at 275 pounds for Penn State in 1994 and 1997.

Arujau did not wear a leg brace on his left leg, which he had worn in his three other matches in the tournament.

Second-seeded Jacori Teemer (Long Beach) of Arizona State dominated Daniel Cardenas (30-7) of Stanford, 12-2, to advance to Saturday night’s 157-pound final.

Teemer (28-3) trailed 1-0 in the second period, but used a double leg take down and a four-point near-fall to take a 7-1 lead. Teemer cruised from there to his fourth victory of the tournament. He will face top seed and undefeated Levi Haines (25-0) of Penn State in the final.


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