Big Red's Perrelli and Pickett Capture Canada Cup Titles; Grey Takes Third in Return to Competition

Before wrestling a single match in a Cornell singlet, Duke Pickett captured an international tournament title on Saturday when he won the 74 kg/163 pound class at the Canada Cup in Ontario.

The Virginia native defeated Daniel Oliver of the Saskatoon Wrestling Club in the freestyle finals.

“Duke did a great job,” said Big Red assistant coach Mike Grey. “He just imposed his will on everyone. He hand fought hard and he’s such a grinder who wears guys out.  His opponents didn’t want to hang with him.”

Pickett spent the last year working with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club after graduating from Woodberry Forest School.  Grey said his progress has been clear.

“He has absolutely improved in every area,” the coach said. “He’s matured a lot in his wrestling but also in his demeanor.  He’s always been a really hard worker, but now he’s working with more of a purpose, improving on specific areas. All his work is obviously showing with him winning an international tournament like this.”

Pickett, who Grey said will compete at 174 pounds next season as a freshman, wasn’t the only Cornell wrestler on top of the podium.

2012 Big Red graduate Frank Perrelli won the 55 kg weight, going undefeated in round robin action.

“[Perrelli] wrestled really well,” Grey said. “His leg attacks were completely on point.   He’s been training really hard at the Olympic Training Center and it has really paid off.  He seems like he’s getting better and more comfortable every time he goes out there.”

Grey believes that the ability to concentrate solely on freestyle is contributing significantly to Perrelli’s progress.

“Not having the transition between styles is huge,” Grey said. “Every year he made a lot of progress in freestyle after the college season and then transitioning back to folkstyle hurt a little bit.  Now he’s completely focused and he’ll continue to make the gains that will put him in a position to make the World Team.”

Grey has watched Perrelli’s wrestling for a long time, as the two were high school teammates and have trained together for years.  Some of their recent work together contributed to Grey’s return to the mat over the weekend.

The Cornell assistant hadn’t been in a competitive freestyle bout in over two years.  In fact, he hadn’t been in any competitive match since the NCAA tournament in March of 2011.  But, he laced up his shoes in Canada on Saturday.

“It was kind of a spur of the moment thing,” Grey said. “I was going to the tournament anyway to coach and I figured maybe I would wrestle too while I was there.   It was a lot of fun.  I was training a lot of the guys for the University Nationals and I wrestle with Frankie [Perrelli] a good amount, so I thought I had significant enough training to go out there.”

Apparently, he did.  The New Jersey native went 4-1, taking third place at 60 kg/132 pounds, losing only to Cuba’s Olympic team member.

“When you’re coaching, you take a step back and see things a little better,” he said. “I thought I wrestled pretty well.  I didn’t feel any pressure at all, I just enjoyed myself.”

In fact, there was only one part of the experience he didn’t enjoy too much.

“It wasn’t much fun to make weight again, but it actually wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “There was a 2 kg allowance, so I had somewhat of a cut, but not too bad.”

It’s something he just may do again.

“I’m focused on coaching, so I don’t know when I’ll wrestle next,” Grey said.  “I definitely won’t be training full time, but I like winging it.  I like spur of the moment decisions.  One of these days, I might enter another tournament just for the fun of it.”

Men’s Results

55 kg/121.25 lbs: Frank Perrelli (USA, Finger Lakes WC) over Aso Palani (Canada) *Round robin

60 kg/132 lbs: Alejandro Valdez (Cuba) over Yowly Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba)

Third: Mike Grey (USA, Finger Lakes WC)

66 kg/145.5 lbs: Haislan Garcia (Canada) over Kevin Iwasa-Madge (Guelph WC)

74 kg/163 lbs: Duke Pickett (USA, Finger Lakes WC) over Daniel Oliver (Saskatoon WC)

84 kg/185 lbs: Humberto Martinez (Cuba) over Yuriesky Torres Queralta (Cuba)

96 kg/211.5 lbs: Jake Varner (USA) over Manjot Sandhu (Canada)

120 kg/265.5 lbs: Les Sigman (USA) over Tony Nelson (USA)

Beat the Streets Gala and Benefit Returns to NYC on June 7

Courtesy of

New York, May 8, 2012 – “Beat The Streets,” the New York City-based not-for-profit organization that has brought wrestling to thousands of middle and high school students in New York City, along with USA Wrestling and the New York City Department of Education, today announced that for the second straight year, an international freestyle wrestling match featuring some of the world’s greatest Olympic-class wrestlers, will be held in Duffy Square in New York’s Times Square on Thursday, June 7.

The United States freestyle team will face one of the top wrestling nations in the world as the featured competition for the 2012 Beat the Streets Gala and Benefit, which will be held following the dual meet at Roseland Ballroom. Included in the Gala is the Beat the Streets Reception and Awards Ceremony.

The athletes competing for the United States team are the men’s freestyle champions at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, who will represent our nation in the London Games in August. The details on the international team are being finalized and will be announced shortly.

The event is free to the public, and will also be streamed live on by USA Wrestling and be shown on the single largest face LED screen in Times Square.

“We are extremely excited to bring wrestling to Times Square again. Last year was amazing and this year is only going to be better. Providing Team USA a true send-off for the London Games is a dream scenario. I can’t imagine a better way to honor them and raise awareness for USA Wrestling, Beat the Streets, and our great sport,” said Mike Novogratz, Beat The Streets Chairman of the Board.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our sport during the Olympic year. It also provides our athletes a wonderful chance to display their skills in one of the most unique and inspiring settings in the world. We truly appreciate the efforts of Beat the Streets and everyone involved in this great event to help move our sport forward,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director.

This is the third straight year in which a major Olympic-style competition has been featured as part of the Beat the Streets Gala.

In 2011, the United States defeated World champion Russia, 5-2, in a dual meet held in Times Square. It marked the return of Olympic champion Henry Cejudo to competition, and featured victories by Jordan Burroughs and Jake Varner, who went on to win medals at the 2011 World Championships. It was the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square, and thousands of fans packed the area to see history in the making.

In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. Competition was in all three Olympic styles and featured numerous U.S. World Team members and national champions.

Once again this year, a card of exhibition matches will be held in Duffy Square, featuring Beat the Streets athletes from middle schools as well as from the Public School Athletic League.

A complete schedule of events will be announced shortly.

The Mission of the Beat the Streets Wrestling Program is to expand and develop wrestling in the New York City Metropolitan area from the youth through the Olympic level. Our dream is to provide opportunities for boys and girls in the activity of wrestling, building lifelong skills. If you share this mission and would like to volunteer to help, please contact