Grapple at the Garden Recap: Cornell Tops Illinois and Maryland; Hofstra Wins a Pair of Duals and Much More

Cornell and Hofstra both went 2-0 at the second annual Grapple at the Garden in New York City on Sunday, with one dual coming to down to the wire for each squad.

Lane, Photo by BV

In the spotlight meet of the day, the #6 Big Red took on #7 Illinois.  While more than 10 ranked wrestlers took the mat in the dual, it came down to the only bout not featuring at least one nationally-ranked grappler — heavyweight.  Entering the 285 pound contest, the score was deadlocked at 15.  And after two periods, Stryker Lane and Chris Lopez were tied at 2, with riding time at over a minute and a half for the Illini competitor.  Lane rode out the third to send it to overtime, where in the second set of tiebreakers, the Cornell senior got the early escape during his turn on bottom and then hung tough on top to earn the victory and an 18-15 triumph for the Big Red.

Both teams won five matches, with only one bonus point contest – a pin for Gabe Dean at 184 pounds over Nikko Reyes.  In that pivotal bout, Dean trailed 4-2 entering the third, but quickly escaped and kept pushing the pace.  He notched a takedown with less than 30 seconds to go and then turned Reyes for back points and the fall with just five seconds remaining.

Cornell dropped into a 6-0 hole early, with #1 Jesse Delgado topping #2 Nahshon Garrett 6-2 and Zane Richards winning the battle of super freshmen at 133 over Mark Grey.  Cornell rebounded by taking three decisions in a row, by Mike Nevinger (141), Chris Villlaonga (149) and Brian Realbuto (157) to go ahead 9-6.  The first two got out to early leads and controlled their matches, while Realbuto came from behind with a dominant third stanza to win 8-3 over #15 Zach Brunson.

The Illini pulled ahead 12-9 with wins at 165 (Jackson Morse) and 174 (Tony Dallago) before the previously mentioned Gabe Dean pin made it 15-12 Cornell.  The win by Mario Gonzalez at 197 over Jace Bennett set up the 15-15 tie and Lane’s heroics.

The first dual of the day had a lot less drama, as the Big Red captured a 31-9 victory over Maryland. Nahshon Garrett got the Big Red off to a strong start with a fall and Mark Grey followed up with a decision in which he controlled the bout throughout.  At 141, Mike Nevinger‘s season debut was spoiled by Shyheim Brown, who used solid mat wrestling to get the Terps on the board with a decision.  However, the Big Red responded with four consecutive victories, beginning with Chris Villalonga‘s 5-0 win at 149.  It was then bonus point time as Brian Realbuto majored Danny Orem at 157, Dylan Palacio held a commanding lead at 165 before his opponent injury defaulted and Duke Pickett came out on top by double digits at 174.

Then, at 184, freshman Gabe Dean faced #2 Jimmy Sheptock.  In a hard fought bout, the Maryland All-American picked up a 5-3 decision.  Jace Bennett collected Cornell’s seventh win of the morning with a technical fall at 197 before #7 Spencer Myers edged Stryker Lane at heavyweight, 2-1.

 

Hofstra Takes Two

New York teams Hofstra and Army squared off in Round 1 on Sunday in a dual that came down to the final match.  It was Pride freshman Mike Hughes picking up a 6-4 win at 285 over the Army’s starting 197-pounder Bryce Barnes to make the final score 23-16.

Franco, Photo by BV

The Pride began well, capturing the first four contests via decisions by Jamie Franco at 125 and Cody Ruggirello at 149 as well as bonus victories by Jamel Hudson and Luke Vaith at 133 and 141, respectively.  Hudson majored Logan Everett 11-3, while Vaith pinned Tyler Rauenzahn.

Army got things rolling after that, taking four of the last six.  Paul Hancock avenged a loss at the last weekend’s New York State Intercollegiates when he majored Nick Terdick at 157. Alex Smith (174) and Austin Wilding (197) grabbed decisions for Army, with Ryan Tompkins adding valuable points with a fall at 184.  That set up the big finish at heavyweight.

Hofstra’s next dual didn’t come down to the wire.  In fact, the Pride nabbed eight victories, including falls by Jamie Franco (125) and Jamel Hudson (133) to give the squad an immediate 12-0 advantage.  Also winning by bonus were Luke Vaith (141), Frank Affronti (174) and Zeal McGrew (197) while Cody Ruggirello (149), Joe Booth (165) and Dwight Howes (184) also were victorious.

 

And More New York Action . . .

After the close dual with Hofstra, Army had another tight clash with Princeton in the afternoon, with the Tigers winning 21-15. The Black Knights picked up three decisions – by Tyler Rauenzahn (141), Coleman Gracey (165) and Ryan Tompkins (184).  In addition, Hunter Wood got the fall at 125 over 2013 NYS champion Trey Aslanian of Edgemont.

In a NCWA showcase, two local teams, Stony Brook and Westchester took the mat at 10 a.m. After Westchester’s Charles Gonzalez earned a 14-6 major at 125, Stony Brook won the next eight contests, including three falls (by Michael LaNasa at 141, Michael Shimer at 149 and Jon Campenelli at 197).  Matt Frey and Kris Martin both picked up majors, at 165 and 184, respectively, while Jonathan Crespo (133), Joe Jackson (157) and Scott Dunkirk (174) also got their hand raised. Obum Anayiche of Westchester brought a positive ending for his squad with a fall at heavyweight.

NYU at the NYS Intercollegiates, Photo by BV

Additional nearby squads, NYU and Stevens Tech competed in the second session in a Division III meeting.  All-American Brandon Jones won by major at 141 for NYU, while Patrick Sheehan also got his hand raised at 184, however the New Jersey team grabbed a 25-7 decision.

Seeing action in freestyle matches were a number of New Yorkers, including former Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli and Long Island native Jenna Burkert. In addition, assistant coaches Hudson Taylor of Columbia and Enock Francois of Army both won their bouts, with Francois blanking Austin Trotman 7-0 at 185 pounds and Taylor besting Rustam Ghsiev, 10-2 at 220.  Former Buffalo star Kyle Cerminara also came out on top, beating Ryan Martinez in a 285-pound bout.

The box scores for the Grapple at the Garden college matches involving New York teams are below (courtesy of Track Wrestling):

Cornell defeated Illinois 18-15
125 – Jesse Delgado (Illinois) over Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) Dec 6-2
133 – Zane Richards (Illinois) over Mark Grey (Cornell) Dec 4-2
141 – Michael Nevinger (Cornell) over Steven Rodrigues (Illinois) Dec 7-2
149 – Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over John Fahy (Illinois) Dec 8-3
157 – Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Zach Brunson (Illinois) Dec 8-3
165 – Jackson Morse (Illinois) over Dylan Palacio (Cornell) Dec 8-4
174 – Tony Dallago (Illinois) over George Pickett (Cornell) Dec 9-4
184 – Gabriel Dean (Cornell) over Nico Reyes (Illinois) Fall 6:55
197 – Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) over Jace Bennett (Cornell) Dec 7-1
285 – Stryker Lane (Cornell) over Chris Lopez (Illinois) TB-2 4-3

Cornell defeated Maryland 31-9
125 – Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) over Paul O`Neill (Maryland) Fall 3:00
133 – Mark Grey (Cornell) over Tyler Goodwin (Maryland) Dec 4-1
141 – Shyhiem Brown (Maryland) over Michael Nevinger (Cornell) Dec 5-0
149 – Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over Derrick Evanovich (Maryland) Dec 5-0
157 – Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Danny Orem (Maryland) Maj 16-5
165 – Dylan Palacio (Cornell) over Tyler Manion (Maryland) Inj 3:23
174 – George Pickett (Cornell) over Anthony Gardner (Maryland) Maj 12-2
184 – Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) over Gabriel Dean (Cornell) Dec 5-3
197 – Jace Bennett (Cornell) over Chris Jastrzebski (Maryland) TF 19-1
285 – Spencer Myers (Maryland) over Stryker Lane (Cornell) Dec 2-0

Hofstra defeated Army 23-16
125 – Jamie Franco (Hofstra) over Hunter Wood (Army) Dec 3-1
133 – Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) over Logan Everett (Army) Maj 11-3
141 – Luke Vaith (Hofstra) over Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) Fall 5:15
149 – Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) over Mark Marchetti (Army) Dec 4-0
157 – Paul Hancock (Army) over Nick Terdick (Hofstra) Maj 15-6
165 – Joseph Booth (Hofstra) over Coleman Gracey (Army) Maj 14-4
174 – Alex Smith (Army) over Frank Affronti (Hofstra) Dec 3-1
184 – Ryan Tompkins (Army) over Victor Pozsonyi (Hofstra) Fall 0:50
197 – Austin Wilding (Army) over David Heitman (Hofstra) Dec 8-4
285 – Michael Hughes (Hofstra) over Bryce Barnes (Army) Dec 6-4

Hofstra defeated Boston Univ. 35-6
125 – Jamie Franco (Hofstra) over Chris McGinley (Boston Univ.) Fall 3:20
133 – Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) over Dane Harlowe (Boston Univ.) Fall 1:27
141 – Luke Vaith (Hofstra) over Tyler Scotton (Boston Univ.) Maj 8-0
149 – Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) over Nick Tourville (Boston Univ.) Dec 7-0
157 – Nestor Taffur (Boston Univ.) over Nick Terdick (Hofstra) Dec 4-2
165 – Joseph Booth (Hofstra) over Mitchell Wightman (Boston Univ.) Dec 4-1
174 – Frank Affronti (Hofstra) over Andrew Maksimovic (Boston Univ.) Maj 9-0
184 – Dwight Howes (Hofstra) over Aaron Conrad (Boston Univ.) Dec 5-2
197 – Zeal McGrew (Hofstra) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
285 – Kevin Innis (Boston Univ.) over Michael Hughes (Hofstra) Dec 3-1

Princeton defeated Army 21-15
125 – Hunter Wood (Army) over John Aslanian (Princeton) Fall 4:28
133 – Jordan Laster (Princeton) over Logan Everett (Army) Dec 5-2
141 – Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) over Christopher Perez (Princeton) Dec 8-4
149 – Kevin Moylan (Princeton) over Mark Marchetti (Army) Dec 7-4
157 – Mathew Gancayco (Princeton) over Paul Hancock (Army) Dec 5-3
165 – Coleman Gracey (Army) over Judson Ziegler (Princeton) Dec 4-1
174 – Brett Harner (Princeton) over Alex Smith (Army) Fall 2:52
184 – Ryan Tompkins (Army) over Scott Gibbons (Princeton) Dec 9-3
197 – Daniel Santoro (Princeton) over Bryce Barnes (Army) Dec 6-4
285 – Cole Lampman (Princeton) over Stephen Snyder (Army) Dec 3-2

Stevens Institute of Technology defeated New York Univ. 25-7
125 – Rob Murray (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Wayne Yuan (New York Univ.) Dec 3-0
133 – Ryan Wilson (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Corbin Lee (New York Univ.) Dec 3-2
141 – Brandon Jones (New York Univ.) over Rick Perrine (Stevens Institute of Technology) Maj 17-6
149 – Mike Polizzi (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Darryl Albonico (New York Univ.) Maj 13-2
157 – Jake Odell (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Matt DiGiovanni (New York Univ.) Dec 4-0
165 – Conner Bass (Stevens Institute of Technology) over John Messinger (New York Univ.) Dec 8-6
174 – Ryan Dormann (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Brian Anderson (New York Univ.) Dec 3-0
184 – Patrick Sheehan (New York Univ.) over Tristan Hollenbaugh (Stevens Institute of Technology) Dec 4-0
197 – Alex Moreno (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Daniel Brereton (New York Univ.) Dec 7-1
285 – Chris Florek (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Anthony Chu (New York Univ.) Dec 3-2

Stony Brook defeated Westchester CC 35-10
125 – Charles Gonzalez (Westchester CC) over Austin Hecher (Stony Brook) Maj 14-6
133 – Jonathan Crespo (Stony Brook) over Frank Lazo (Westchester CC) Dec 8-6
141 – Michael LaNasa (Stony Brook) over Kevin Jiminez (Westchester CC) Fall 1:12
149 – Michael Shimer (Stony Brook) over Mike Figueroa (Westchester CC) Fall 6:58
157 – Joe Jackson (Stony Brook) over David Rivera (Westchester CC) Dec 6-0
165 – Matt Frey (Stony Brook) over Ibrahin Simreen (Westchester CC) Maj 15-2
174 – Scott Dunkirk (Stony Brook) over Ray Ramos (Westchester CC) SV-1 8-6
184 – Kris Martin (Stony Brook) over James Danko (Westchester CC) Maj 13-4
197 – Jon Campenelli (Stony Brook) over Adolphe Lubin (Westchester CC) Fall 2:07
285 – Obum Anayiche (Westchester CC) over Lautaro Epstein (Stony Brook) Fall 1:32

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Grapple at the Garden Preview: What to Watch for as New York Teams Take the Mat in NYC

Three of New York’s Division I teams will compete at the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals on Saturday.  (The preview is here). The other three – Cornell, Hofstra and Army – will be in action in another part of the state as they travel to New York City for the second annual Grapple at the Garden.  The Empire State will also be well represented with Stony Brook, Westchester CC, NYU and middle school and high school grapplers taking the mat.  For some things to watch, read on.

 

#6 Cornell (vs. Maryland and #7 Illinois)

Bennett, Photo by BV

In the upperweights, there could be be two matches with ranked wrestlers on both sides.  At 184, Big Red freshman Gabe Dean will clash with All-American Jimmy Sheptock, while Jace Bennett is set to take on former Brockport High School star Christian Boley at 197.  Dean has gotten off to a strong start to his college career, including four pins and a technical fall last weekend and a #12 spot in the polls.  Sheptock, ranked third nationally, is undefeated this year.  Meanwhile, Boley and Bennett, both NCAA qualifiers in 2013, both sit in the top 15 nationally.

Six of the other matches will feature one ranked wrestler.  (Five times the Cornell wrestler is in the polls). Those include Nahshon Garrett (#2 at 125), Mark Grey (#10 at 133), Chris Villalonga (#14 at 149) and Brian Realbuto (#12 at 157).  In addition, #4 Mike Nevinger could make his return to the lineup at 141, where he would face a quality opponent in Shyheim Brown, a freshman who is off to an unbeaten start.  On the flip side, at heavyweight, the Terps bring #7 Spencer Myers to the table against unranked Stryker Lane.

In the premier dual of the Grapple at the Garden event, #6 Cornell will take on #7 Illinois.  If the meet starts at 125, the spotlight bout will take place right away, with #2 Nahshon Garrett of the Big Red battling defending national champion and #1 Jesse Delgado.  Garrett has lost to four opponents during his career – and he has come back to beat each one of them – except Delgado.  The two only met once, in the NCAA semifinals in Des Moines in 2013.  We’ll see if Garrett can continue his streak of avenging defeats when he gets his second shot at the Illini junior.

Grey, Photo by BV

That may be the most high profile bout, but there will be plenty of other intriguing ones.  At 133, two excellent freshmen, #10 Mark Grey and #11 Zane Richards, will square off in a rematch of the 60 kg Junior World Team Trials title bout.  Grey bested Richards in two straight matches to make the World Championships, where he finished fifth.  Speaking of rematches, #14 Jace Bennett of Cornell met #7 Mario Gonzalez in the pigtail round at Nationals in 2013, with the Illinois grappler taking a decisive victory.  Gonzalez didn’t compete at the Chicago Quad in mid-November for the Illini, but if he’s back, we’ll see if Bennett can turn the tide.

At 157 and 184, fans will be treated to four highly ranked recruits from the high school class of 2012 –#12 Brian Realbuto vs. #15 Zach Brunson at the former weight and #12 Gabe Dean vs. Nikko Reyes at the latter.  And just one spot in the rankings separates the two wrestlers at 149 – Cornell’s Chris Villalonga is #14 while Caleb Ervin is #15.

When it comes down to it, Cornell has the higher ranked wrestler in five classes – 133, 141, 149, 157 and 184 – while the same can be said for Illinois at four weights – 125, 165, 174 and 197.  Neither heavyweight appears on the national lists.  It should be an entertaining dual for the fans in New York City.

 

Army vs. Hofstra

Hudson, Photo by BV

Two Empire State teams will do battle with Army taking on Hofstra at 10 a.m..  Both teams were at the New York State Intercollegiates last weekend, with the Pride putting wrestlers into the finals of the tournament at the first six weights.  Jamie Franco (125), Luke Vaith (141) and Joe Booth (165) captured titles, while Jamel Hudson (133), Cody Ruggirello (149) and Nick Terdick (157) picked up second place.  At this point, Hofstra looks like the favorite at those classes for the dual, although there were only two head-to-head matches in those weights in Ithaca. Terdick defeated Paul Hancock 12-9 and Booth topped Chandler Smith by major decision.  (Both Smith and Coleman Gracey placed at the New York States at 165 for the Black Knights). Hofstra is also likely favored at heavyweight, since Mike Hughes of the Pride bested Army’s Stephen Snyder 3-0 in the fifth place contest at 285.

Meanwhile, Army had higher finishers last weekend at two of the upper weights.  At 174, Brian Harvey grabbed third while his teammate Alex Smith was fourth.  The Hofstra duo of Frank Affronti and Victor Pozsonyi was seventh and eighth in that bracket.   At 197, Bryce Barnes was the runner up for the West Point squad, while both teams had contributors out of the lineup at 184.  (Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational champion Ryan Tompkins didn’t take the mat in Ithaca, nor did Pride starter Dwight Howes).

After the opening round, Hofstra and Army will each also square off with one other EIWA squad on Sunday.   The Pride will meet Boston while the Black Knights will see Princeton.  Let’s take a look at those contests.

Several Terriers made the podium at the Keystone Classic last Sunday and could provide some interesting challenges for the Long Island-based squad.  What are some potential matches to watch?  Chris McGinley was sixth last weekend and will provide a solid opponent for Jamie Franco at 125, while NCAA qualifier Dane Harlowe will do the same at 133 for freshman Jamel Hudson. A pair of third place finishers at the Keystone – Tyler Scotton (141) and Nestor Taffur (157) will look to test Luke Vaith and Nick Terdick after their strong performances at the New York State Intercollegiates.

It will be a battle of New York natives at 165 as Hofstra’s Joe Booth (Bayville) squares off with Mitch Wightman (Warwick).  And although he recently dropped out of the rankings, NCAA qualifier Kevin Innis of Boston will look to get back on track against Mike Hughes at heavyweight.

At the same time as that dual occurs, Army will compete against Princeton.  The Tigers are coming off a third place showing at the Navy Classic where three team members nabbed silver – Garrett Frey (125), Adam Krop (141) and Abram Ayala (197).  Those grapplers should be part of interesting contests against Hunter Wood, Mark Marchetti and Bryce Barnes, respectively.

In addition, there should be good bouts at 165 and 174, where both Army and Princeton had several wrestlers place high in last weekend’s competitions. (Judd Ziegler was fifth at 165 for Princeton, while Brett Harner finished in the same spot at 174).  We’ll also be watching the 133 match closely, as Long Island native Chris Perez will battle Army’s Logan Everett.

 

More than Division I . . .

As we discussed in this article (and this one), the event will also feature some local teams, as Stony Brook and Westchester will battle on Sunday, as will Division III squads NYU and Stevens Institute of Technology.

And the event isn’t limited to just college action.  The championship bouts of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden Middle School tournament will be part of the day, as will the finals of the Beat the Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational, featuring many of the top schools in New York City.

One match that won’t take place is the scheduled freestyle contest between Cornell’s Kyle Dake and Bubba Jenkins because Dake suffered a fractured hand last weekend while in Baku.  However, Frank Molinaro will step in and wrestle Jenkins in a meeting of former Penn State grapplers.

The full list of dual meets taking place at the college level on Sunday are:

10 a.m.

Cornell vs. Maryland

Rutgers vs. George Mason

Illinois vs. Bloomsburg

Hofstra vs. Army

Boston vs. Penn

Drexel vs. Princeton

Stony Brook vs. Westchester CC

 

Noon

Cornell vs. Illinois

Hofstra vs. Boston

Army vs. Princeton

Rutgers vs. Maryland

Bloomsburg vs. Penn

George Mason vs. Drexel

NYU vs. Stevens

 

Grapple at the Garden Update: Kyle Dake and Bubba Jenkins to Wrestle in Freestyle Main Event and More

 

– Courtesy of Madison Square Garden Sports

New York, NY, September 27, 2013 — Four-time NCAA National Champion, Kyle Dake, will face off against 2011 NCAA National Champion, Bubba Jenkins, in a much-anticipated freestyle wrestling main event on December 1 at the second annual Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com, MSG Sports announced on Friday.

Photo by BV

In a unique senior level showcase match promoted in association with X-Cel Worldwide, Dake, the former Cornell standout who became the first wrestler in NCAA history to win the national championship in four different weight classes, will square off against Jenkins, the former NCAA wrestling national champion and a current mixed martial arts fighter.

Tickets start at $20.00 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com/grapple.

“It is very exciting to once again compete on one of the greatest stages in the world, in one of the greatest cities in the world,” said Dake.  “Personally, I am also really excited to compete against Bubba Jenkins. As a two-time NCAA national finalist, all wrestling fans know he is a great competitor. This year’s Grapple at the Garden event will be groundbreaking for the sport of wrestling, and promises to inspire thousands of young athletes as they chase their dreams.”

Jenkins added, “I am super excited about taking my wrestling talents to the biggest and baddest city in the world to showcase my skills under the bright lights of the illustrious Madison Square Garden.  It is a tremendous honor to have been chosen to wrestle in the Grapple at the Garden event, and one which I take with immense pride and will never forget. As my fans and friends already know, I am a big match, big move athlete. Come December 1, while wrestling one of the greatest wrestlers our sport has ever seen, Kyle Dake, New York City sports fans will learn that about me as well. I am humbled to compete in this historic freestyle wrestling match in The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“X-Cel Worldwide is honored to be associated with the promotion of such a great event in the most famous arena in the world,” said Nick Garone President, X-Cel Worldwide.  “Kyle Dake vs. Bubba Jenkins is match-up certain to be filled with fireworks.  The Grapple at the Garden will make history with the first ever Freestyle Wrestling main event in Madison Square Garden.”

Joining Army, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cornell, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Penn, Princeton and Rutgers will be four local wrestling programs including Stevens Institute of Technology and NYU in an NCAA Division III matchup, as well as a match between the men’s club teams from Stony Brook University and Westchester Community College.  This will bring the total to an unprecedented 16 teams for the one-day dual-meet event.

In addition to the action-packed collegiate matchups, the second annual Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com, will also feature the finals of the Beat The Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational. All 16 participating high schools including Horace Mann, Monsignor Farrell, Brooklyn Tech, Poly Prep, Benjamin Cardoza, Martin Luther King, Eagle Academy, Fordham Prep, James Madison, New Utrecht, Petrides, Martin Luther, Mt. St. Michael, Wingate, Grand Street, and Curtis will compete in dual meets.

Moreover, the finals of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden middle school championship, produced in association with the Metropolitan Wrestling Association, will take place prior to the high school matches.  For all middle school wrestlers interested in registering to compete, please visit www.wrestlereg.com on or after October 1. Valid tournament registration includes two tickets to all Grapple at the Garden festivities. All competitors must have a current USA Wrestling card.

The full day of wrestling on December 1 will include two dual meet sessions with the first starting at 10:00 a.m. with Maryland vs. Cornell, Rutgers vs. George Mason, Illinois vs. Bloomsburg, Hofstra vs. Army, Boston U. vs. Penn, Drexel vs. Princeton, and Stony Brook vs. West Chester CC.  Session two will begin at 12:00 p.m. and will feature Cornell vs. Illinois, Rutgers vs. Maryland, Princeton vs. Army, Bloomsburg vs. Penn, George Mason vs. Drexel, Hofstra vs. Boston U, and NYU vs. Stevens.

Suplay.com, the world renowned wrestling gear supplier, has once again signed on as presenting partner of the Grapple at the Garden wrestling event.

Collegiate wrestling debuted at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 2012 with the inaugural Grapple at the Garden which featured 14 teams; six No. 1 ranked NCAA wrestlers; five returning National Champions and six of the top 10 teams in the country.  You can now relive the historic event through INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN.  This special 30 minute DVD is now on sale via www.XCELONLINESTORE.com for $24.95, which includes an official event program from the live event. INSIDE TRIP is your exclusive all-access, behind-the-scenes pass to this historic first-ever event. See the big names that attended the event, hear from some of the greatest past and present wrestlers of all-time, and watch the greatest sport take place at The World’s Most Famous Arena with INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN.

(Press release from MSG Sports)

From Shut Down to the Garden: Westchester Wrestling Ready to Grapple Again in 2013-14

Wrestling was back at Westchester Community College for the first time in quite a while.  And then, all of a sudden, the season came to an abrupt halt. The planned trips to national qualifying and then Nationals were no longer possible.

It began in the fall of 2012 for head coach Joe Regan and the squad, operating as a club team out of the student FSA (Faculty-Student Association) office.  Westchester performed well early on, in a tri-meet against Stony Brook and the University of New Haven and then at the Long Island Open and the New York State Intercollegiate ‘B’ event on the campus of Cornell University.

“We had basically three or four weeks to get the guys prepared for the New York tournament, so it was an accelerated process,” Regan said. “Our guys got beat, but were competitive. We had some top five placers at the Long Island Open. I was pretty satisfied with how they competed against a lot of Division I and Division III wrestlers.”

Next up was another tri-meet, this time against Mount St. Vincent and a Division III squad from Ohio.

“We didn’t have a full lineup but it was tough,” Regan said. “We got our butts kicked by the Division III team. We were winning against Mount St. Vincent before we got pinned in two straight matches and wound up losing.  It was frustrating.”

Regan and the Vikings went from being a bit frustrated about the results on the mat to a more significant frustration.

“What happened next – we basically were shut down by the institution because we were being run as a club and clubs needed a faculty sponsor,” Regan said. “It was awful, just terrible.  We were looking forward to going to NCWA [National Collegiate Wrestling Association] qualifying tournament and then the national tournament.  We saw Stony Brook do pretty well at NCWA nationals.  We beat them and I thought we had a couple of guys who could have been All-Americans.  But it was out of our control.  We weren’t allowed to continue.”

According to Regan, the group was determined to find a solution, but didn’t find success initially. In essence, the season was over for the Vikings.

“It didn’t look good for the continuing of our team as a club. There were all these roadblocks,” Regan said. “And then the athletic department called and said they would take us on.  I was flabbergasted. We were working with Adam Frank [the Director of Student Involvement] and he went to bat for us.  He thought we didn’t belong with the Spanish club and all the other clubs – we belonged in athletics.  The Athletic Director told us he didn’t have much of a budget for us, but we could be a part of the department. It was incredible.”

So, according to Regan, the team will return to action in 2013-14.  The Vikings will compete as part of the NCWA, but there’s a different long term plan.

“The next goal is to join the NJCAA [National Junior College Athletic Association] and field a great junior college program in the future,” he said.

Whatever happens next, Regan believes the team has been embraced the surrounding area.

“There’s good support behind us,” the coach said. “We’re excited this is happening for the community. Wrestling is popular in Westchester and Putnam counties and we also draw from Beat the Streets.  It’s a fantastic thing to have an opportunity for wrestlers here.  Not everybody is ready to stop wrestling after high school and only a small percentage go to Division I. With student loans going the way they are, you’ll see more and more kids going local.  Here, guys can go to open tournaments to wrestle Division I and Division III guys but in the end have their own national tournament.”

The nationals won’t be the only big event next season.  The Vikings will also have the chance to take the mat at the World’s Most Famous Arena for the Grapple at the Garden on December 1 alongside some of the country’s top teams.  [Westchester will battle Stony Brook in a dual meet].

“I don’t want to take one ounce of credit for making that happen,” Regan said. “It was all [Stony Brook head coach] Shaun [Lally].  He’s doing a fantastic job and I’m grateful that he wanted to include us as a part of that great event.  He had a good idea to promote local teams at the NCWA level at the Grapple at the Garden and obviously we’re very excited to be a part of it.”

Regan’s also excited about what the future holds.

“We have a lot of work to do,” the coach said earlier in the summer. “We need to recruit and fill some spots. But we have some very good wrestlers back too.”

Among the grapplers that Regan mentioned were David Rivera (149), Justin James (157) and Ray Ramos (174).

Regan had positive things to say about the performances of those wrestlers on the mat and about their development throughout the course of the year.  And, they were also significant in another way, according to the coach.

“Those guys were a huge part of pounding the pavement on campus, fighting for our survival,” Regan said. “They were completely essential in fighting the good fight.”

Regan also thanked Dave Colagiovanni and Dominick Oddo for their help and acknowledged all the work of Alex Yntriago, who worked with the program from the start with initial head coach Joe Boxer, originally as an assistant and heavyweight coach and now in some other capacities as well.

“Alex [Yntriago] has a history with some of the kids from the Beat the Streets program and does a really good job with his relationships in the New York City area,” Regan said. “He likes the promotion side of things and does very well for us in that regard too.”

“Promotions is something I do for a living,” Yntriago added. “I like to work on ways to get coaches and wrestlers interested. My objective is to expand the program by getting New York City hyped about it. I think this program can be a launching pad for New York City, Long Island and local kids. My efforts are also on teaching guys how to be champions in life.”

His efforts also may be spent on the mat, as Yntriago has a year of eligibility left and could compete at heavyweight this season.

So, after a dramatic year, Westchester looks forward to competing again.  Regan discussed a solid schedule, including events such as the Grapple at the Garden, meets with Yeshiva and Bergen Community College, an invitational at the University of Southern Maine and the New York State Championships at Cornell.

“We didn’t think we were having a team for a while, so to be where we are is fantastic,” Regan said. “We have a lot to look forward to here at Westchester.”

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Westchester CC is working to raise funds to continue moving the program forward. (For more information on how to help, see this link).

On Track and Arriving: Stony Brook to Grapple at the Garden

 
 
Last week, MSG Sports announced that the second annual Grapple at the Garden will take place on December 1 in New York City. A number of New York teams were mentioned in the press release, including Cornell, Hofstra and Army.

But that’s not all.  Two more squads from the Empire State will take part as Stony Brook will take the mat against Westchester Community College at the World’s Most Famous Arena.  How did the second-year NCWA program from Suffolk County get involved?

“I was there last year and I was thinking, Stony Brook should be here,” said Seawolves head coach Shaun Lally. “I saw the Division I wrestling and the high school wrestling and thought it would be great if every single level of wrestling was showcased.  I happened to call [Cornell coach] Rob Koll about something else and asked him about this year’s Grapple at the Garden. He got me in touch with the organizers and after talking to them, they were sold on the idea.”

So, Stony Brook was in the field, but needed an opponent.  The answer wasn’t too far away.

“For an event in New York City, it made sense to go local,” Lally said. “You can’t get much more local than Westchester.  Some of the guys on the team there are from the Beat the Streets program.  They’re very close to the city. Getting to the city is easy for us too – our kids can get on the train, take it to Penn Station and basically just walk upstairs to wrestle.”

Wrestling at the prestigious arena during a high profile event is something the Stony Brook squad isn’t taking lightly.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of this,” Lally said. “It gives us an instant credibility and brings attention and turns people’s heads.  There’s still that club tag associated with Stony Brook for some people because we’re not Division I. I think participating in this event is another way of showing people that we’re a legitimate program that has shown a lot of growth and progress in a short period of time.”

Courtesy of Stony Brook wrestling

Indeed, it’s only been a little over a year for Lally and Stony Brook as a NCWA program.  In season one, six wrestlers qualified for the Nationals in Texas with two, 197 pounder Michael Lloyd and 235 pounder Kyle Folk-Freund, coming within one victory of All-America status.

“For the kids to just get there was a great experience that validated all the hard work they did,” Lally said. “The team bought into the system right away.  Right before those two matches (in the Round of 12), I said to myself, ‘Win or lose, this has been a complete success.’  The matches didn’t go our way, but now we keep putting the question out there – who will be the first All-American for this program?”

Who will it be?  Lally doesn’t think it will take long to find out as he has a strong group of returners and a set of newcomers he believes will make an impact.

“We have some very good guys back and we have six incoming freshmen from all over the state who, if they buy in like the kids did last year, could walk in right away and have success. I’m excited that we’re bringing in kids from upstate, the City, Nassau and Suffolk. The future is bright.”

According to Lally, that future includes the goal of winning a conference championship in 2013-14 and some interesting opportunities, including a potential exhibition match against the backups from Hofstra and, of course, the appearance at the Garden.

“It’s huge for us to get exposure and compete in that kind of setting,” the coach said.  “We want to show people we’ve arrived as a program.”

For more on Stony Brook wrestling, see here.

College Wrestling Returns to Madison Square Garden on December 1; Cornell, Hofstra and Army in the Field

 
 
Press Release Courtesy of MSG Sports

New York, NY, June 20, 2013 — MSG Sports announced today that Army, Bloomsburg, Boston University, Cornell, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, Illinois, Maryland, Penn, Princeton and Rutgers will participate in the second annual Grapple at the Garden college wrestling event on Sunday, December 1 at The World’s Most Famous Arena.

Following the success of last year’s first-ever collegiate wrestling meet at Madison Square Garden, the second annual Grapple at the Garden has once again attracted a bevy of elite college wrestling programs. Six of the participating schools finished in the top 25 Final 2012-2013 Regular Season rankings, including Illinois at No.8; Cornell which tied at No. 9; Bloomsburg at No. 15; Penn at No. 21 along with Maryland and Rutgers, at No. 24 and 25, respectively.

“The success of last year’s first-ever college wrestling meet at Madison Square Garden proves that there is a strong appetite for college wrestling in the New York area,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. “We are thrilled to once again host several of the country’s top wrestling programs in the second-annual Grapple at the Garden where college wrestling fans will see elite NCAA competition while experiencing the fully-transformed Madison Square Garden on Sunday, December 1.”

Cornell’s Kyle Dake, who made history this year when he became the first NCAA wrestler to win four NCAA titles in four different weight classes, shined at last year’s historic event. All eyes were on arguably the all-time greatest college wrestler when he opened with a 4-0 victory over Zach Toal of Missouri and followed with a 4-1 victory over No. 3 ranked Tyler Caldwell from Oklahoma State. Dake went on to receive the Bill Farrell Outstanding Wrestler Award.

“Wrestling in such an historic venue like the Garden was super exciting and a ton of fun,” said Dake. “It was one of my favorite venues I have wrestled at, and I hope we can get a major national tournament in Madison Square Garden in the future, especially one that I can compete in again!”

Grapple at the Garden will feature several standout wrestlers including Illinois’ Jesse Delgado, who won his first-ever NCAA Championship at 125 pounds this year. Delgado defeated No. 4 seed Nico Megaludis from Penn State 7-4 in the championship match to give the Illini their first national champion in that weight class. Additionally, Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett placed third in the same weight class at the 2013 NCAA Championships.

The full day of wrestling on December 1 will consist of two separate sessions with the first starting at 10:00 a.m. with Maryland vs. Cornell, Rutgers vs. George Mason, Illinois vs. Bloomsburg, Hofstra vs. Army, Boston U. vs. Penn and Drexel vs. Princeton. Session two is set to begin at 12:00 p.m. and will feature Cornell vs. Illinois, Rutgers vs. Maryland, Princeton vs. Army, Bloomsburg vs. Penn, George Mason vs. Drexel and Hofstra vs. Boston U.

Tickets will be available at a later date. To sign up for the exclusive Pre-Sale, please visit http://www.MSGINSIDER.com.

Collegiate wrestling debuted at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 2012 with the inaugural Grapple at the Garden which featured 14 teams; 6 No. 1 ranked NCAA wrestlers; 5 returning National Champions and 6 of the top 10 teams in the country. You can now relive the historic event through INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN. This special 30 minute DVD is now on sale via http://www.XCELONLINESTORE.com for $24.95, which includes an official event program from the live event. INSIDE TRIP is your exclusive all-access, behind-the-scenes pass to this historic first-ever event. See the big names that attended the event, hear from some of the greatest past and present wrestlers of all-time, and watch the greatest sport take place at The World’s Most Famous Arena with
INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN. INSIDE TRIP: GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN was produced by X-CEL Worldwide in association with MSG Sports.

COACHES QUOTES

Army Head Coach, Joe Heskett:
“Last year the Garden hosted one of the greatest collegiate events I have ever seen outside of the NCAA Championships. Our team is excited to compete and to win at MSG. This season’s Grapple at the Garden will be another outstanding day of collegiate wrestling in the world’s greatest city.”

Bloomsburg Interim Head Coach, Danny Song:
“After falling to then #7 Missouri in last year’s inaugural event, Bloomsburg is hungry to get back to the Garden. We look forward to competing with a very high-level opponent in Illinois, and also renewing our rivalry with Penn. The Garden is among the world’s most famous venues, and has proven to be ideal for an American wrestling showcase.”

Boston University Head Coach, Carl Adams:
“The Boston University wrestling team is looking forward to the competition at the Garden. We feel very fortunate to be able to face two very tough teams in Hofstra and Penn. Competing at the Garden amongst some of the elite wrestling programs in the country will be exciting, and it provides us an opportunity to showcase what the Boston University wrestling program is all about.”

Cornell Head Coach, Rob Koll:
“It was an incredible experience for our Cornell wrestlers to compete in the world’s most iconic arena in front of our NYC fans and alumni. The fans, wrestlers and I had a chance to be a part of history and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

Drexel Head Coach, Matt Azevedo:
“Drexel University Wrestling is thrilled to be a part of the Grapple at the Garden once again this year. We have a lot of alumni that live and work in the NYC area. This will be a great opportunity for them to see our student-athletes compete in ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’ against two outstanding Universities in Princeton and George Mason.”

George Mason Head Coach, Joe Russell:
“We were able to participate in the Grapple at the Garden last year. To a man, everyone on the team spoke of the event as a highlight for their season. I am elated to have the team compete at the event again on December 1, 2013. We will come prepared to put on an exciting show for the Wrestling fans in New York City. Go Patriots.”

Hofstra Head Coach, Rob Anspach:

“Last year was a great event and we were honored that we were a part of the first Grapple at the Garden. The team was able to wrestle in front of 10,000 people which was amazing and something they will remember for the rest of their lives. We look forward to being a part of many future events at Madison Square Garden.”

University of Illinois Head Coach, Jim Heffernan:
“We are very fortunate to have the chance to participate in the Grapple at the Garden event. It will be a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes to compete at Madison Square Garden, one of the greatest sport venues in the world. The environment and level of competition will certainly play a role in preparing us for the post season, and will be great exposure for our program. It is an honor for Illinois Wrestling to be chosen to showcase our great sport in New York City at this unique event.”

University of Illinois Associate Head Coach, Mark Perry:
“This event truly is something our athletes and coaching staff will remember for many years to come. It is an honor to come into the Garden, and put on a great show for all the wrestling fans.”

Maryland Head Coach, Kerry McCoy:
“I am very excited to return to the Grapple at the Garden. Last year’s event was so awesome; everyone connected with our program could not wait to get back. This year will be another exciting event and we look forward to participating again in what is quickly becoming one of our sports premiere marquee events. Special thanks to everyone who made it possible.”

Penn Head Coach, Rob Eiter:
“This event is a great opportunity for Penn and we are excited to participate in the Grapple at the Garden. Madison Square Garden is known as ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’, and it will be an amazing experience for our team to be a part of this unique atmosphere. We have a very strong alumni base in New York City, and I know they will be excited to support Penn wrestling in a venue like MSG.”

Princeton Head Coach, Christopher Ayres:
“To be included in such a fabulous event in such a historic athletic venue is an exciting opportunity for our program and athletes. We look forward to competing against and alongside some of the best programs in the country as we showcase the greatest sport in world in the greatest city in the world!!!”

Rutgers Head Coach, Scott Goodale:
“Rutgers University is very excited to be back wrestling in the Garden! The inaugural Grapple at the Garden event was a great experience last year. Our student-athletes loved the competition, our fans enjoyed the atmosphere and the event was perfect. Wrestling at MSG!!”

Rob Koll's Cornell Update After the Grapple at the Garden

 

By Rob Koll

Happy holidays to all!  Here is my Grapple at the Apple update.

Nahshon Garrett deserves a great deal of credit for competing this weekend. Nahshon sprained his ankle on Thursday and I was informed by Chris Scarlata, our trainer, that there was virtually no way he would be capable of wrestling on Sunday. A day later he was hobbling around in a boot and on crutches. The following day he snuck into the Friedman Center at night so he could try to get used to the pain. By Sunday he was wrestling. The problem is he wasn’t able to work out, and thus he had to cut all his weight the morning of the match. He looked horrible in the Missouri match, not because of the injury, but because he had not recovered from the weight cut. By the time we wrestled Oklahoma State, he had recovered, and he looked more like himself. Nahshon is one tough customer. He is also the consummate team player. His only problem is he is chronically late for everything. Travis Lee had this same malaise so I can only assume these guys have their clocks set on West Coast time. He is going to be left at the hotel the next time he shows up late. Of course if he keeps winning I might hold the bus a couple extra minutes!

Nick Arujau finally got back into the lineup but was less than impressive. Nick was one dimensional on his feet, listless on bottom and desperate on top. His performance was particularly disappointing because he has such impressive moments in the practice room. The Southern Scuffle will give us an opportunity to see both Bricker Dixon and Nick in action at the same time. The tournament results will serve as a barometer for choosing our starter at this weight class.

Mike Nevinger did not have one of his finer performances against Missouri but bounced back against Oklahoma State. I am going to give Cornell Engineering finals the benefit of this defeat. Although this was not an ideal time for our guys to be competing, coming directly off finals, I believe it might have affected Mike the most. He did not have a great week of training and it showed. I am confident we will see a vastly improved Nevinger in Chattanooga.

Chris Villalonga went 1-1 on the day winning an overtime victory over #15 Drake Houdashelt of Missouri but was defeated by #1 Jordan Oliver of OSU.  Chris frustrates his coaches when he wrestles from the tie. He is not an overpowering wrestler so when he gets tied up, he is much less effective. It seems to be a sort of safety blanket for him. He is very tough on top so he doesn’t need to score a lot on his feet but he has to score more if he hopes to get to the NCAA podium.

Jesse Shanaman returned to the lineup after a five week layoff caused by an injury. Jesse defeated a very tough Missouri opponent. Unfortunately he pulled his hamstring in the first match. We knew he hurt his hamstring but he assured us it was nothing. When he could barely defend himself against OSU we knew the injury was more than “nothing”. Although I respect Jesse for his toughness, and desire to compete, he needs to do a better job of allowing us to protect him from himself. If we let him he would bring a sleeping bag into the Friedman Training Center. He is a tireless worker but we need to make sure he is healthy in March.

Kyle Dake was named the Outstanding Wrestler for the day going 2-0 with victories over two nationally ranked opponents.

Marshall Peppelman and Duke Pickett both wrestled hard, but neither was able to come up with a victory. I am interested to see both of these wrestlers compete at the Southern Scuffle if for no other reason than to see who takes control of this weight class.

Steve Bosak returned to the mats after a two month hiatus. Steve is not at his best but still came away with victories against two nationally ranked opponents. Steve will quickly work himself back into shape and should be close to 100% for the Southern Scuffle.

Sixteen of Jace Bennett‘s nineteen matches have ended by either fall or major decision. Although this is impressive, five of these matches have ended in a negative fashion. Jace has shown great potential but giving up pins is unacceptable. Jace is great on top but gets far too reckless with his legs. Billy George and Jace will be battling in Tennessee to see who will represent the Big Red going forward.

Stryker Lane faced the 2nd and 3rd ranked wrestlers and although he wrestled hard he was unable to pull off a victory. Stryker has made significant improvements from last year and is a consistent performer for the Big Red.  He is currently ranked #1 in the EIWA at 285.

Up Next: The Southern Scuffle @ Chattanooga, TN, 1/1- 1/2

All the best, Rob