Despite the forecast of a cold windy day, Syosset junior Vito Arujau wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but Albany on Friday.
Then again, the two-time state wrestling champ will be indoors at the Times-Union Center, trying for title No. 3 in trip No. 4.
“I feel very comfortable up at states now that it’s my fourth time going up,” said Arujau, who will be competing for the 132-pound Division I title after winning at 113 in 2014 and 132 last year.
“When I get there I like to going into the arena and getting that feeling. I treat it just like any other prestigious tournament. My work ethic is the same as it always has been and I’m training at high intensity and working on the basics.”
Along with his luggage, Arujau will bring a 136-match winning streak that began at the start of the 2014 season, following his loss in the 2013 title match to Hilton’s Yianni Diakomihalis at 99 pounds. He’ll also carry a career record of 175-1 and the desire to cement his name next to the best wrestlers in Long Island history.
The same could be said for the small army of Long Island wrestlers that will trek to the capital region. Twenty-seven of the 60 Division I wild-card entries for wrestlers who did not win a county title are from Long Island.
Long Island sends six former state Division I champions looking to return to the top of the podium.
If top-seeded Arujau reaches the final Saturday night, he could be looking across at second-seeded Peter Pappas of Plainview JFK. Pappas has been to consecutive state finals and enters the tournament with a 39-2 record — with one loss at the hands of Arujau in the Nassau final.
Nassau’s other reigning champ is Long Beach sophomore Jacori Teemer, the No. 1 seed at 126 pounds. Teemer burst onto the scene as an eighth grader and has won consecutive 106-pound state titles.
Huntington’s John Arceri — one of only 10 wrestlers to win four Suffolk Division I titles — won a state crown last year at 113 and is seeded second at 126.
Top-seeded Adam Busiello is looking to repeat his 2015 performance at 106 pounds. The Eastport-South Manor freshman had three technical falls and an 11-1 win over Benny Baker of Newark Valley to claim the crown at 99 last year.
Chris Mauriello of Hauppauge won the state title in 2014 at 132 as a sophomore but finished sixth last year after bumping up four weight classes. He is seeded second at 152.
Suffolk’s final defending state champ, Christian Araneo of Ward Melville, had a dominant season and comes in at 38-0 at 195 pounds.
“I’m definitely calmer and focused this year,” Araneo said. “Last year everything was new and I didn’t know what to expect. I’m ready to get back out there and compete.”
In addition other two other runners-up will be looking to avenge overtime losses last season. Jake Silverstein of Hauppauge, seeded second at 120, and Glenn’s Edwin Rubio, the top seed at 285, are both looking to take that last step.
“I can’t wait, I’m hungry for the title,” Rubio said. “I’ve been battling some injuries this year but I’m going up to Albany with a whole different mentality this year.”
North Babylon’s Anthony Sparacio, who has placed fourth twice, is the top seed at 120 pounds. Sparacio lost a 2-1 in overtime to his friend Tommy Cox of Deer Park in last year’s consolation final. Cox is the top seed at 126 this year.
The list of Suffolk favorites doesn’t end there, as Dylan Ryder of Half Hollow Hills West and Whitman’s Terron Robinson enter as top seeds at 99 and 220 respectively. Both sport a record of 40-1.
Division’s Ricky Stamm is 41-0 and is the top seed at 160 pounds. He finished fifth last year and is looking to become Division’s first state champion since 1985.