Vito Arujau is relentless in his pursuit of history. The Syosset sophomore won his second state championship Saturday night with an 11-6 win over East Islip's Jesse Dellavecchia before a crowd of more than 5,500 at Times Union Center.
It was Arujau's third appearance in the state wrestling final, his only career loss coming in the state championship when he was in eighth grade. With Saturday night's win, he improved his career record to 136-1.
"He's a student of the sport, studies every opponent and knows what he's doing,'' Syosset coach Mike Murtha said. "This is a special kid who is a true leader and an inspiration to everyone in our school. You'd never know he's a state champion when he's walking around school. He's that unassuming kid who wears glasses and remains humble.''
Murtha dubbed Arujau the Clark Kent of Long Island wrestling.
"He's a great student, super intelligent,'' Murtha said. "But when he steps on the mat, he becomes Superman.''
Arujau wrestled a controlled match against the slick Dellavecchia, building a comfortable lead by the third period.
"He's a quality wrestler and my coaches told me to be more strategic than aggressive in this one,'' Arujau said of Dellavecchia. "I'd rather go after people aggressively but it worked out well.''
Plainview JFK sophomore Peter Pappas got into the 120-pound championship bout with a 1-0 win over Vin Vespa of Monroe-Woodbury. Pappas, who was upset in the Nassau final, won three straight bouts for a rematch with Hilton sophomore Yianni Diakomihalas in the final.
Diakomihalas, who beat Pappas in last year's 106-pound final, won his third straight state crown, pinning Pappas in 5:53.
"It was an opportunity to go out and be aggressive against a guy that I feel is the best prep wrestler in the country,'' Pappas said. "I held nothing back and I have no regrets.''
Pappas will have two more years and as many opportunities to return and win a state crown. The two-time state runner-up finished this season with a 40-4 record.
Freshman Jacori Teemer of Long Beach edged Jake Silverstein of Hauppauge, 4-3, in the ultimate ride out to capture the 106-pound class. Teemer became the first Long Island wrestler to win a state title in eighth and ninth grades in the 40 years since middle school participants were allowed to participate.
Teemer (44-2) shook off a right elbow injury suffered earlier in the tournament to score an escape to tie the score at 2 and move into overtime. Both wrestlers scored escapes in overtime to force the ultimate ride-out period, where Teemer was awarded the win on a stalling violation with 14 seconds left.
Teemer's second state title was the 100th of his three-year career. "I felt a little pressure this time,'' Teemer said. "The coaches tell me to keep it simple and have fun.''
"He's a special kid that believes in himself,'' Long Beach coach Ray Adams said. "He had a tough time with his weight this season because he continued to grow. But he's a phenomenal athlete that could continue to do great things if he continues to work hard.''