Grapple at the Garden to Feature Top Teams and Athletes on Big Stage in New York City | T2C Online

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Grapple at the Garden to Feature Top Teams and Athletes on Big Stage in New York City

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Three-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake of Cornell defeats Stephen Monk of North Dakota State at 2012 Las Vegas Invitational. Dake is one of four NCAA champions in the field at the Grapple at the Garden.

The focus of the wrestling community is squarely on the next big event during the college wrestling season, the inaugural Grapple at the Garden in Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday, December 16.

This should be a showcase event in what has already been a very exciting season on the college level.

A field of 14 Div. I wrestling programs will be on display, spread across eight mats on the floor of one of the most famous sports arenas in the world. There will be two rounds of dual meet competitions held as part of the event, giving fans a great opportunity to see the highest level of college action. Two of the mats will feature high school wrestling from New York City from the PSAL Holiday Tournament.

Included in the college field are eight teams which are in the current Top 25 of the NWCA Coaches Poll: No. 2 Oklahoma State; No. 4 Ohio State; No. 5 Iowa; No. 7 Missouri; No. 8 Cornell; No. 9 Nebraska; No. 17 Maryland; No. 25 Bloomsburg.

The field will also feature some teams from the regional area, including Hofstra from nearby Long Island and Rutgers from New Jersey.

As of this week, there are more than 65 nationally ranked wrestlers who are expected to compete for their teams in the tournament. Every weight class has a number of ranked individuals, and there are numerous expected matchups that will feature two ranked wrestlers going head-to-head.

Fans are excited that they will see four past NCAA champions out on the mats during the Grapple at the Garden.

A three-time NCAA champion, senior Kyle Dake of Cornell will be featured at 165 pounds. He became the first wrestler to ever win three NCAA titles in three different weight classes when he captured the 157-pound title last year. Dake has moved up to another weight this year, looking to make it an amazing four NCAA titles in four different weight classes.

If Dake is successful, he will join Pat Smith of Oklahoma State and Cael Sanderson of Iowa State as the only four-time Div. I national champions.

Two-time NCAA champion and senior Matt McDonough of Iowa will be competing at 125 pounds. McDonough won NCAA titles as a freshman in 2010 and a junior in 2012, and was NCAA runner-up in 2011 as a sophomore. He can join a select group of four-time NCAA finalists and three-time champions if he reaches his goals again this season.

Logan Stieber of Ohio State, a 2012 NCAA champion as a freshman, returns for his sophomore year at the same weight class, 133 pounds. Stieber was a runner-up at last year’s Olympic Team Trials event, losing in the finals series to eventual Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott. Stieber is also a past Junior World silver medalist.

2011 NCAA champion Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State is a senior and is now competing at 149 pounds. Oliver was second to Stieber in the 2012 NCAA finals, and was also fourth in the NCAA as a freshman in 2010. A past Junior World bronze medalist, Oliver is seeking to become a four-time All-American and two-time champion.

All four of the past NCAA champions hold No. 1 individual national rankings in at least one of the major college rankings.

Two other No. 1 ranked individual wrestlers are also on display, Derek St. John of Iowa at 157 pounds and Chris Perry of Oklahoma State at 174 pounds. St. John was NCAA runner-up last year for the Hawkeyes, and was fourth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Perry placed third at the NCAA Championships last year.

Perry comes from a very strong wrestling family. His older brother Mark Perry was a two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American for Iowa. His father Mark Perry was a two-time All-American for Oklahoma State. He is the nephew of Oklahoma State head coach John Smith, a two-time NCAA champion, two-time Olympic champion and four-time World champion. Another uncle, Pat Smith, won four NCAA titles for Oklahoma State, and his uncle Lee Roy, an NCAA champion and three-time All-American for Oklahoma State, is now Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

As with every major wrestling event on the schedule, fans get excited about the matchups which will take place. This event has a wealth of great battles to offer.

On the team side, there will be four dual meets where both teams are in the Top 25 national rankings:
No. 2 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 Cornell
No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 17 Maryland
No. 9 Nebraska vs. No. 17 Maryland
No. 17 Missouri vs. No. 25 Bloomsburg

The Oklahoma State vs. Cornell showdown is the showcase dual meet of them all. Oklahoma State has won 34 NCAA Div. I team titles in wrestling, the most of any sports team in any sport in all of NCAA athletics. Cornell has not yet won an NCAA Div. I team title, but was second in the 2011 NCAA Championships and has placed in the top four the last three seasons. Oklahoma State has won both of the two previous dual meets against Cornell in the schools’ history.

The Oklahoma State/Cornell dual also features one of the most widely anticipated individual showdowns of the early season, as No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell battles No. 3 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State. Dake is moving up to this weight class and Caldwell is among the stars he may have to beat to win a fourth NCAA title. In 2011, Caldwell was an NCAA runner-up competing for Oklahoma, after placing fifth at the 2010 NCAA meet. Caldwell took last season off as an Olympic redshirt, and when he returned to NCAA action, he transferred to Oklahoma State.

Another featured match will happen at 125 pounds in the Missouri/Cornell dual, when No. 4 Alan Waters of Missouri battles No. 11 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell. This is a rematch of the finals of the 2012 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, won by Waters, 6-4.

A match of high interest on a local level is between No. 6 James Green of Nebraska and No. 16 Scott Winston of Rutgers. Both are New Jersey natives and were prep stars in the Garden State. Green was a state champion for Willingboro High School. Winston won three state titles for Jackson Memorial High School.

Below, we list all of the ranked wrestlers who could see action in Madison Square Garden, as well as the potential matchups based upon the dual meet schedule between two athletes with national rankings.

Organizers are looking for a big crowd for this event, and are encouraging wrestling athletes, coaches and fans from all across the Northeast to make their way to the Big Apple for this unique event.

This will be an easy event for fans from the Tri-State area to attend, as trains come into Manhattan from Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and other parts of New York. Madison Square Garden sits right on top of one of the busiest train stations in the nation, New York’s Penn Station, making this convenient for everybody with access to public transportation.

The goal is to help college wrestling become a regular attraction at Madison Square Garden in the future.

To purchase tickets, visit:

http://www.thegarden.com/grapple

GRAPPLE AT THE GARDEN
At Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y., Dec. 16

Participating teams and expected individual athletes
NWCA team rankings as of December 4

Ranked Div. I programs
No. 2 Oklahoma State; No. 4 Ohio State; No. 5 Iowa; No. 7 Missouri; No. 8 Cornell; No. 9 Nebraska; No. 17 Maryland; No. 25 Bloomsburg

Other Div. I programs
Bucknell, Chattanooga, Drexel, Hofstra, George Mason, Rutgers.

125 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Matt McDonough (Iowa) – No. 1 AWN; No. 1 Intermat
Alan Waters (Missouri) – No. 4 AWN; No. 4 Intermat
Nick Soto (Chattanooga) – No. 10 AWN; No. 10 Intermat
Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) – No. 11 AWN; No. 11 Intermat
Shane Gentry (Maryland) – No. 12 AWN; No. 14 Intermat
Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) – No. 17 AWN; No. 15 Intermat
Steve Bonano (Hofstra) – No. 18 AWN; No. 20 Intermat

Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs.Steve Bonano (Hofstra)
Alan Waters (Missouri) vs. Nahshon Garrett (Cornell)
Shane Gentry (Maryland) vs. Nikko Triggas (Ohio State)
Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) vs. Steve Bonano (Hofstra)

133 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) – No.1 AWN; No. 1 Intermat
Tony Ramos (Iowa) – No. 2 AWN; No. 3 Intermat
Nathan McCormick (Missouri) – No. 6 AWN; No. 7 Intermat
Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State) – No. 8 AWN; No. 8 Intermat
Geoff Alexander (Maryland) – No. 13 AWN; No. 14 Intermat
Nick Arujau (Cornell) – No. 17 AWN; No. 9 Intermat
Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) – No. 19 AWN

Logan Stieber (Ohio State) vs. Geoff Alexander (Maryland)
Nathan McCormick (Missouri) vs. Nick Arujau (Cornell)
Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State) vs. Nick Arujau (Cornell)
Nathan McCormick (Missouri) vs. Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg)

141 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) – No. 2 AWN; No. 2 Intermat
Mike Nevinger (Cornell) – No. 7 AWN; No. 10 Intermat
Mark Ballweg (Iowa) – No. 12 AWN; No. 11 Intermat
Luke Vaith (Hofstra) – No. 16 AWN; No. 13 Intermat
Trevor Melde (Rutgers) – No. 17 Intermat
Julian Feikert (Oklahoma State) – No. 20 Intermat

Luke Vaith (Hofstra) vs. Mark Ballweg (Iowa)
Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) vs. Luke Vaith (Hofstra)
Mike Nevinger (Cornell) vs. Julian Feikert (Oklahoma State)

149 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) – No. 2 AWN; No. 1 Intermat
Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska) – No. 7 AWN; No. 10 Intermat
Cam Tessari (Ohio State ) – No. 11 AWN; No. 11 Intermat
Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) – No. 16 AWN; No. 17 Intermat
Chris Villalonga (Cornell) – No. 18 AWN; No. 20 Intermat
Josh Roosa (Bloomsburg) – No. 20 AWN
Justin Accordino (Hofstra) – No. 6 Intermat

Justin Accordino (Hofstra) vs. Cam Tessari (Ohio State )
Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) vs. Josh Roosa (Bloomsburg)
Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) vs. Chris Villalonga (Cornell)
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) vs. Chris Villalonga (Cornell)

157 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Derek St John (Iowa) – No. 1 AWN; No. 1 Intermat
James Green (Nebraska) – No. 6 AWN; No. 8 Intermat
Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg) – No. 7 AWN; No. 7 Intermat
Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) – No. 14 AWN; No. 9 InterMat
Josh Demas (Ohio State) – No. 15 AWN
Scott Winston (Rutgers) – No. 16 AWN; No. 11 InterMat

James Green (Nebraska) vs. Scott Winston (Rutgers)

165 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Kyle Dake (Cornell) – No. 1 AWN; No. 1 Intermat
Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State) – No. 3 AWN; No. 3 Intermat
Josh Condon (Chattanooga) – No. 14 AWN; No. 20 Intermat
Zach Toal (Missouri) – No. 16 AWN; No. 14 Intermat
Nick Moore (Iowa) – No. 18 AWN; No. 19 Intermat
Corey Lear (Bucknell) – No 20 AWN; No. 17 Intermat
Joe Booth (Drexel) – No. 11 Intermat

Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State)
Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. Zach Toal (Missouri)
Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State) vs. Josh Condon (Chattanooga)
Nick Moore (Iowa) vs. Corey Lear (Bucknell)

174 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) – No. 1 AWN; No. 1 Intermat
Nick Heflin (Ohio State) – No. 2 AWN; No. 2 Intermat
Josh Asper (Maryland) – No. 5 AWN; No. 6 Intermat
Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) – No. 6 AWN; No. 8 Intermat
Greg Zannetti (Rutgers) – No 9 AWN; No. 10 Intermat
Mike Evans (Iowa) – No. 11 AWN; No. 7 Intermat
Todd Porter (Missouri) – No. 20 AWN

Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) vs. Greg Zannetti (Rutgers)
Josh Asper (Maryland) vs. Nick Heflin (Ohio State)

184 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) – No. 5 AWN; No. 6 Intermat
Mike Larson (Missouri) – No. 6 AWN; No. 8 Intermat
Ethan Lofhouse (Iowa) – No. 8 AWN; No. 7 Intermat
Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) – No. 9 AWN; No. 10 Intermat
Dan Rinaldi (Rutgers) – No 13 AWN; No. 14 Intermat
Chris Chionuma (Oklahoma State) – No. 17 AWN; No. 13 Intermat
Steve Bosak (Cornell) – No. 2 Intermat*

Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) vs. Dan Rinaldi (Rutgers)
Mike Larson (Missouri) vs. Steve Bosak (Cornell)*
Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) vs. Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland)
Chris Chionuma (Oklahoma State) vs. Steve Bosak (Cornell)*
*Note – Bosak has not competed yet this year

197 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State) – No. 9 AWN; No. 10 Intermat
Brent Haynes (Missouri) – No. 11 AWN; No. 12 Intermat
Christian Boley (Maryland) – No 13 AWN; No. 16 Intermat
Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) – No. 14 AWN; No. 7 Intermat
Richard Perry (Bloomsburg) – No 15 AWN; No. 18 Intermat
Niko Brown (Chattanooga) – No. 19 AWN
Brandon Palik (Drexel) – No. 20 AWN

Christian Boley (Maryland) vs. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State)
Brent Haynes (Missouri) vs. Richard Perry (Bloomsburg)
Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) vs. Niko Brown (Chattanooga)

285 lbs. ranked wrestlers
and matchups between two ranked wrestlers
Dom Bradley (Missouri) – No. 3 AWN; No. 2 Intermat
Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State) – No. 4 AWN; No. 3 Intermat
Bobby Telford (Iowa) – No. 5 AWN; No. 5 Intermat
Peter Capone (Ohio State) – No. 13 AWN; No 12 Intermat.
Justin Grant (Bloomsburg) – No 20 AWN; No. 19 Intermat

Dom Bradley (Missouri) vs. Justin Grant (Bloomsburg)

10:30 AM DUAL MEET PAIRINGS
Mat 1 – PSAL Holiday Tournament (High School)
Mat 2 – Drexel vs. George Mason
Mat 3 – Rutgers vs. No. 9 Nebraska
Mat 4 – No. 5 Iowa vs. Hofstra
Mat 5 – No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 17 Maryland
Mat 6 – No. 8 Cornell vs. Missouri
Mat 7 – Oklahoma State vs. Chattanooga
Mat 8 – PSAL Holiday Tournament (High School)

12:30 PM DUAL MEET PAIRINGS
Mat 1 – PSAL Holiday Tournament (High School)
Mat 2 – No. 5 Iowa vs. Bucknell
Mat 3 – Rutgers vs. Chattanooga
Mat 4 – No. 4 Ohio State vs. Hofstra
Mat 5 – No. 9 Nebraska vs. No. 17 Maryland
Mat 6 – No. 2 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 Cornell
Mat 7 – No. 17 Missouri vs. No. 25 Bloomsburg
Mat 8 – PSAL Holiday Tournament (High School)

Tony Rotundo photo

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