Arujau named InterMat High School Wrestler of the Year

Vitali Arujau (Photo/Josh Conklin)

The 2016-17 scholastic wrestling season has come to an end. We've gone through the postseason national tournaments, state tournament series across the country, regular season, and the spring/summer/fall offseason. At this time, we reflect upon what has happened over the past "cycle" and recognize the top wrestler in each high school weight class as well as the Wrestler of the Year with First Team All-American recognition by InterMat.

Wrestler of the Year: Vitali Arujau (Syosset, N.Y.), 138 pounds

After delaying his collegiate matriculation one year for freestyle training, this four-time state champion will be headed to Cornell, where he is projected to compete at 141 pounds. In five years of high school wrestling, Arujau went 216-1, the lone loss coming via a 3-2 defeat in the tiebreakers against Yianni Diakomihalis during their eighth grade seasons. The approximately 170 bouts subsequent to that state finals defeat went without a loss for Arujau. His resume in the 2016-17 wrestling year includes a UWW Cadet National freestyle title at 58 kilograms, Cadet World silver medal in that same weight class, Super 32 Challenge title at 132 pounds, and an undefeated state championship season at 138.

Previous career accomplishments for Arujau include a third-place finish at the Super 32 Challenge in 2015 (victory over Daton Fix in the third-place match), NHSCA Sophomore Nationals title in the spring of 2015, FloNationals runner-up finish in 2014, UWW Cadet National freestyle runner-up finish in 2015 (to Diakomihalis), and a Cadet National freestyle title in 2015.

Previous Wrestler of the Year winners

2016: Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.)
2015: Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.)
2014: Chance Marsteller (Kennard-Dale, Pa.)
2013: Kyle Snyder (Good Counsel, Md.)
2012: Jason Tsirtsis (Crown Point, Ind.)
2011: Morgan McIntosh (Calvary Chapel, Calif.)

Other top-ranked wrestlers

106: Malik Heinselman (Castle View, Colo.)

During the 2016-17 wrestling period, Heinselman earned a second consecutive state title, this time going an undefeated 44-0, while also making the Cadet World team in freestyle for a second straight year (this time at 46 kilograms, after qualifying at 42 kilos in 2015). In addition, he earned a third straight freestyle title in Fargo, this time at the Junior level after winning the previous two summers as a Cadet. Heinselman has a career mark of 122-7, including over 80 straight wins, and has verbally committed to Ohio State.

113: Aaron Cashman (Shakopee, Minn.)

The junior won his first state title after placing second and fourth the previous two seasons. Cashman qualified for the Cadet World Team in freestyle at 50 kilograms last spring, while also earning in-season tournament victories at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament (second consecutive) and Rumble on the Red. His lone loss in a 39-1 campaign came up at 126 pounds, off a 120 weigh-in, against now two-time state runner-up Cael Carlson. Cashman has a three-year record of 121-7.

120: Patrick Glory (Delabrton, N.J.)

The three-time state finalist earned an initial first state title in stellar fashion, as he went an undefeated 43-0 as a junior. It included tournament titles at the Beast of the East (second straight year) and Escape the Rock. Glory has a career mark of 118-7, and was also a Super 32 Challenge champion this past fall after finishing second in 2015.

126: Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional, Pa.)

The three-time state champion and University of Iowa signee ended his career with a 144-1 record, losing only his last match 6-5 on a last second takedown in the state final against Austin DeSanto (Exeter Township), despite competing with a torn ACL. Lee was a Junior world champion in freestyle at 50 kilograms for the second straight summer in 2016, and also won a Cadet world title in 2014. He finishes his high school career also as a three-time Walsh Ironman and Powerade champion.

132: Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla.)

The Oklahoma State signee is now a four-time state champion after going undefeated with a 47-0 record during his senior season, which included titles at the Kansas City Stampede and Geary Invitational. Fix finished his career with a record of 168-0, becoming just the fifth wrestler in the Sooner State to be undefeated for their scholastic career. He also picked up a UWW Junior world bronze medal in freestyle over the summer to go with the Cadet world bronze he earned the previous summer.

145: Jarod Verkleeren (Hempfield Area, Pa.)

The 2015 Cadet world gold medalist earned an elusive high school state title during a senior season in which he went 25-1, including a Powerade finals victory over second-ranked Frankie Gissendanner. Verkleeren also was champion at the Super 32 Challenge in October with a finals victory over third-ranked Josiah Rider. Also on the resume for this uncommitted senior is a Junior National freestyle runner-up finish this past summer.

152: Cameron Coy (Penn Trafford, Pa.)

The University of Virginia signee ends his career as a four-time state finalist and three-time champion with a career mark of 148-11. This includes 75 consecutive wins to end his career since a loss in the state championship match his sophomore season. Most notable wins for Coy this season came over top five in the nation Stephan Glasgow in the Powerade final, an in-season dual meet victory over Verkleeren, and then beating second-ranked Quentin Hovis in the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic.

160: Brady Berge (Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.)

The Penn State signee won a fourth state title in six seasons of high school wrestling during which he won approximately 280 bouts while losing just four that were contested (one in seventh grade, three in eighth grade); that is to say not counting the injury default down to sixth that occurred during the state semifinal his junior season. A 2015 Cadet World team member in freestyle, Berge is a five-time champion of the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and three-time champion of the Cheesehead, in addition to winning the Super 32 Challenge this past fall.

170: Michael Labriola (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.)

The Nebraska signee was a four-time state placer with a career record of 158-17, including an 86-3 mark during his last two seasons, in which he won a pair of state titles. Labriola was champion at the Walsh Ironman and Beast of the East during a senior season in which he went 44-0. Prior to the season, he beat third-ranked Travis Wittlake at the Who's Number One event, while after the season he beat second-ranked Kaleb Romero at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic.

182: Louie DePrez (Hilton, N.Y.)

The Binghamton signee is a three-time state champion, and was undefeated during his last two seasons of high school winning an Eastern States Classic title each year. DePrez is also a two-time finalist at the Super 32 Challenge, winning that title this fall with a victory over third-ranked Nino Bonaccorsi. In the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic, he defeated second-ranked Travis Stefanik. DePrez is also a two-time FloNationals placer.

195: Jacob Warner (Washington, Ill.)

The Iowa signee was undefeated during his senior season on the way to a third state title and fourth state finals appearance. Warner was a Cadet World bronze medalist in freestyle during the past off-season, and was champion at the Walsh Ironman during the season. In addition to the UWW Cadet National title in freestyle last spring, he also won the Greco-Roman event. Also on the resume for Warner is a Cadet National double title in 2015 along with UWW Cadet National freestyle All-American finishes in 2014 and 2015.

220: Chase Singletary (Blair Academy, N.J.)

The Ohio State signee now has a pair of National Prep titles to go with the Florida state championships earned in seventh and eighth grade. Singletary was also a runner-up at National Preps as a sophomore, third in Florida as a freshman, and runner-up in Florida in sixth grade. He had an undefeated senior season, which included titles at the Walsh Ironman, Beast of the East, and Geary Invitational.

285: Gable Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn.)

After his junior season, he has four state championship match appearances as junior high wrestlers can compete in varsity competition in Minnesota. Steveson's last loss came in the state final at 195 pounds during the eighth grade season, and subsequent to that, he has won 131 straight matches without defeat the last three seasons. All but three of his 42 wins during this past season were pins or forfeits, two others were pins, while his only match against a nationally ranked opponent came in a 16-3 major decision over Kayne Hutchison. Steveson, a verbal commit to Minnesota, is now a two-time Cadet World freestyle champion at 100 kilograms.


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