ALBANY — Perfection has a long list of demands: unwavering focus on the mat, diligence in the practice room, and, obviously, top-tier talent. But each wrestler on Long Island that owns an immaculate record has added their unique twist to the recipe.
For 285-pound senior Edwin Rubio of Glenn, the first ingredient was running.
Long before he improved to 40-0 by defeating Lindenhurst’s Jon Solorzano, 6-0, in a quarterfinal at the 54th state Division I wrestling championship at the Times Union Center in Albany on Friday, Rubio ran. A lot.
“As a heavyweight, I’m always trying to be in the best shape possible,” he said. “So I take running seriously. It’s given me an advantage.
“During the summer, I was going out for beach runs around three times a week. Running a couple of miles. Always pushing.”
Rubio has equipped himself with the stamina to endure any physical challenge he might experience on the mat. After his takedown with 40 seconds left that gave him a 5-0 lead, Rubio turned to his coach, T.J. Brocking, who whispered, “Beautiful.”
“To be that offensive against a kid to who’s hard to score against, I was very happy with the effort,” Brocking said. “Probably the best he’s performed this year.”
Perfection requires using whatever is at your disposal for motivation. For Rubio, that’s included his 2-1 loss to Nolan Terrance (Massena) in last year’s state final at 285.
“That hurt bad,” said Rubio, who will face Joe Humphrey (Middletown) in a semifinal Saturday. “But it just gave me a boost of motivation. It’s made me mentally tougher.”
Long Beach’s Jacori Teemer (47-0), Eastport-South Manor’s Adam Busiello (46-0) and Huntington’s John Arceri (43-0) also maintained perfection and advanced to the semifinals. Rocky Point’s Anthony Cirillo knocked off previously undefeated Justin Vines (40-1) of Wantagh with a win by default in 4:47 at 113.
For Anthony Sparacio (33-0) of North Babylon, remaining perfect has been the product of steadily improving his game, a daily challenge he poses to himself.
“Everyday it’s something,” he said, “Running, lifting, wrestling, or whatever. Everyday I try to do something to get better.”
In each of the previous two seasons, the 120-pound senior placed fourth in the state.
“Ever since last season when I took fourth again, I wasn’t happy with myself,” he said. “What happened last year when I lost in the quarters . . . I’ve had that in the back of my mind this entire time.”
Sparacio defeated Noah Carpenter of Elmira, 9-2, and Anthony Argentieri of Kenmore West, 3-2, to advance to the semis.
“I just wanted to come back and end my senior year on my own terms,” Sparacio said, “with a state title.”
For Vito Arujau — an 132-pound junior from Syosset who is 45-0 this year and owns a 134-match winning streak, the longest in Nassau history — perfection boils down to a simple philosophy: “Blood, sweat and tears,” he said.
Arujau, a two-time state champ, used tech falls of Gates Chili’s Derek St. James (16-0, 4:00) and Averill Park’s Max Tempel (19-3, 2:38) to secure his spot in the semifinal round.
“You have to practice, and you have to practice right,” Arujau said. “By that I mean giving it all you got every time you’re in the room.
“There’s no off days when you’re getting ready for this type of competition. There’s no comparison to this level. These are the top kids in the state. You have to put in all the hours if you want to make a run, and especially if you want to be perfect.”