ALBANY — The flurry ended with junior Vito Arujau on top — which is never a surprise. The Syosset technician put on a clinic Saturday night for a packed house at the state Division I wrestling championships in the Times Union Center.
Arujau scored four first-period takedowns and built an 8-3 lead on his way to a 19-6 win over Fred Eckles of Lake Shore to capture the 132-pound state championship. It was the third state crown for Arujau, who finished the season with a 47-0 record, extended his winning streak to 136.
Arujau’s only high school loss came in the state finals when he was in the eighth grade. He lost in an overtime rideout criteria, 3-2, at 99 pounds, to four-time state champion Yianni Diakomihallis of Hilton.
“He wants to be a Division I national champion in college and an Olympian,” Syosset coach Mike Murtha said. “He’s ranked number two in the country at 132 pounds. We’re seeing in Vito one of Long Island’s all-time greatest talents on the mat.”
Arujau’s career record is an astounding 178-1. His maturity and leadership qualities have helped teammates in the Syosset practice room.
“I come to wrestle in the finals and he started to stall and it was frustrating in the end,” said Arujau, who is committed to wrestle for Cornell. “He was good enough to get to the state finals. My goals go beyond high school. I want to wrestle in the Olympics.”
“He continues to impress me more with his defense than with his offense,” Murtha said. “He counters so well. If a wrestler gets in on his legs, he makes them pay. He shoots and scores, they shoot and he still scores. He’s amazing. His mat sense is off the charts. He’s a student of wrestling and understands mat strategy where at a young age he recognizes weaknesses and adapts his game plan to exploit those weaknesses and win a match.”
Eastport-South Manor freshman Adam Busiello won his second state title with a workmanlike 6-1 victory over Trey Wardlaw of East Ramapo at 106 pounds. Busiello scored an early takedown and dominated the match but suffered a vicious bloody nose that kept the outcome in doubt.
“He was struggling with his breathing in the third period because we had trouble stopping the bleeding and we used some unique methods to wrap his nostrils with tape,” Eastport-South Manor coach Nick Garone said. “He was the superior wrestler but he could have ran out of blood time.”
Busiello battled through the injury with his nostrils stuffed with gauze and his head wrapped in a bandage.
“It was hard to breathe and my head starting hurting a little bit because the wrap was tight,” said Busiello, who finished 48-0 this season and has a 146-7 career record. “I tried to open up on the kid and he didn’t want to wrestle. He was content with trying to lose close. So we’ll take the title this way.”
Deer Park senior Tom Cox opened a 4-0 lead and went on to a 5-3 win over Kelan McKenna of New Hartford to capture the 113-pound class. Cox, who is headed to North Carolina State to wrestle, scored three back points in the second period to help him win his first state title. Cox improved to 44-1 this season and has a career record of 163-24.
Suffolk, which won the team title with 248 points, had three straight wrestlers win state titles. After Busiello and Cox took home crowns, North Babylon senior Anthony Sparacio took a 3-1 decision over John Devine of Columbia at 120 pounds. Sparacio used a first-period takedown to set up the win and give North Babylon its first state wrestling champion in school history.
Sparacio, who took fourth the past two years at the state tournament, was overwhelmed by the win. He embraced his father Anthony, who is also the Bulldogs’ coach, in the corner after his hand was raised. His career record is 179-42 and he holds the record for wins in North Babylon.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said Sparacio, who finished 35-0 this season. “It was the last chance to make a dream come true. This is the best day of my life. Everyone thought there was a curse on North Babylon wrestling because we had great guys and they never won a title. But not anymore.”