About Vito

Learn about Vito’s childhood, family history, and wrestling  journey 

Vitali Arujau, frequently known as Vito, is an American freestyle and Folkstyle wrestler who competes at 57kg (125 lbs). He was born in Gomel, Belarus and moved to the United States with his family at the age of two. Vito’s family is filled to the brim with accomplished athletes, which is one of his strongest motivations.
His mother, Zhanna Arujava, and his father, Vougar Oroudjov, were both remarkable athletes who competed for former USSR, as well as other countries including Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Zhanna was on the USSR national team for solo’s kayaking but stopped competing after the birth of Naryman (Nick), Vito’s oldest brother. Vougar was a very accomplished wrestler, finishing his career with two senior level world gold medals as well as a bronze in the 1992 Olympics. Vougar’s resume also includes triumphs such as being European Games champion, Yurigan champion, and a national team member veteran.
Nick was a 3x state champ wrestler in New York as well as a Cornell University alumnus who competed on varsity in three seasons for the Big Red. Vito’s youngest brother, George, is currently in high school with two appearances in the NY state tournament, with a best finish of second place.
Vito started wrestling at the age of ten, sided by his father who has been his coach ever since. Ironically, Vito did not immediately fall in love with the sport when his father introduced it to him; in fact, Vito’s father often bribed him into going to practice. Vito’s connection to wrestling began after three years of extensive training, when he started seeing results. His trajectory skyrocketed as he took second at the NY state tournament as an 8th grader, losing to current teammate Yianni Diakomihalis in the finals in triple overtime.
Vito seemed to have taken the loss personally, as he went on to go undefeated throughout his entire high school wrestling career. He made the Cadet world team, won silver at the Cadet World Championships, and won first place in various national level tournaments including Super 32, Fargo, and Virginia Beach.
Vito is currently wrestling at Cornell University. After finishing high school, he proceeded to take a grey shirt for his first year. His redshirt freshman year, Vito started at 133 lbs and then dropped down to 125 lbs. He finished his season placing 4th at the NCAA tournament, going 31-4 with 19 bonus point wins. Following the tournament, Vito decided to pause his collegiate career to take an Olympic redshirt and train for the upcoming 2020 Olympics.
During the time away from Folkstyle, Vito claimed fourth place at the U.S. Open, made the Junior World Team, took second place at the Junior Worlds in Estonia, and finally qualified for the Olympic trials through his placement of third at the 2019 Senior Nationals.
Unfortunately, as Vito prepared for his chance to represent the country, the COVID outbreak postponed the trials. During this time of uncertainty, Vito overcame the bad news by training hours a day with his father in the backyard of his parents’ house. Through these trying times, Vito maintained a positive outlook while waiting impatiently for his time. Amongst the pandemic, Vito saw an opportunity to compete in the wrestling cards that were being put together by FloWrestling as well as others.
In these cards, Vito faced multiple challenging opponents including Zach Saunders, Jake Mueller, Darion Cruz, and Nahshon Garret. These cards were a great tool in helping Vito prepare for his run at the Olympic Team Trials (OTT).
Both the 2020 NCAA was tournament and Vito’s 2020 season at Cornell University was cancelled due to the pandemic, which forced him to take another redshirt year in 2021. This led to the uninterrupted training of freestyle only, which Vito claims to be a major contributor to his performance he would have at the upcoming OTT in 2021. After a full year of waiting, the Olympic Team Trials finally arrived, and Vito was faced with Nathan Tomasello, a 4x all American and national champ, in his first round. After a barn burner of a match, Vito came out victorious.

Vito’s next opponent was Daton Fix, the previous senior level world team member. He pulled an early 6-0 lead, but the match began to even out. Vito was able to hold off Fix’s final flurry of attacks to win the semifinal bout at a score of 6-5.

The final qualifier was a best of three between Vito and Thomas Gilman, a front runner for the world team spot in recent years. After a heart-breaking defeat, Vito walked away taking second place at the Olympic Team Trials. Thomas Gilman would then go on to take Bronze at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Vito is currently training for the 2021 World Team trials and is preparing for his return to the Folkstyle wrestling season, aiming for the national title that he is missing. Vito will return to Cornell University in the fall of 2021 as a sophomore and will have 3 years of eligibility remaining.