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Dake, Hofstra, NYU, LIU Post Featured at Sixth Annual Grapple at the Garden

By Courtesy of Madison Square Garden Release, 10/06/17, 8:30PM EDT

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Courtesy of Madison Square Garden News Release

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Madison Square Garden officially announced today that it is set to welcome the sixth annual “Grapple at The Garden” wrestling dual meet on Sunday, December 10.  A total of nine colleges and universities, including top ranked Division I, II, and III Programs – Virginia Tech (Atlantic Coast Conference Champion, Division I), Stevens Institute of Technology (Centennial Conference Champion, Division III), New York University (University Athletic Association Champion, Division III) – will take to the mat inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Tickets, priced at $26.00, $41.00 and VIP tickets at $56.00, are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.MSG.com, all Ticketmaster locations and the Madison Square Garden box office.  For group sales call 212-465-6080.  In addition to a full slate of Division I, II, and III college wrestling, VIP tickets include Kyle Dake’s Youth Clinic beginning at 8:45 a.m. the morning of December 10th.

The annual “Grapple at The Garden”, which has become a must-see spectacle for all college wrestling fans, will once again bring together elite competition to the Big Apple. The event will feature Virginia Tech, George Mason, Wilkes University and Johns Hopkins University as well as local programs Hofstra, NYU, Princeton, LIU Post, and Stevens Institute.  

In addition to the top-level collegiate competition, the “Grapple at the Garden” will feature Sports Illustrated’s 2013 Male College Athlete of the Year, Kyle Dake, providing a youth clinic which is accessible via select price points. Dake is a 2013 graduate of Cornell University and a four-time NCAA Champion. During his tenure with the Big Red, Dake finished his career with an overall record of 137-4 and is one of four wrestlers in NCAA history to win four National Titles. Dake ended his illustrious collegiate wrestling career as the only wrestler in the history of the NCAA to win titles at four different weight classes (141, 149, 157, 165).

Coming off an outstanding year, Virginia Tech will be led by 2017 ACC wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year and two-time NCAA All-American, Jared Haught. The squad is run by defending ACC Co-Head Coach of the Year, Tony Robie, and assisted by former Olympian and NCAA Champion, Frank Molinaro. Princeton will look to continue momentum into the 2017-18 season having sent a school-record seven wrestlers to the 2017 NCAA Championships. The Tigers are coached by two-time defending Ivy League Coach of the Year, Chris Ayres. Rounding out the Division I competition will be Hofstra and George Mason. Hofstra will be led by sophomore Sage Heller. As a freshman, Heller compiled the most wins for the Pride (23). In the off-season, Heller was a member of Team USA at the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel, earning a bronze medal. George Mason will look for their leadership from their big man: red-shirt junior Heavyweight, team captain, and EWL All-Academic Team honoree, Matthew Voss, had his personal best season on paper in 2016-17 (20-12).

LIU Post, the lone Division II team, will be led by 2017 Division II All-American, Anthony Sparacio, who had a team best 23-win 2016-17 season. 

On the Division III level, Stevens Institute of Technology aims to build off their 2016-17 season highlighted by a third-straight Centennial Conference title, finishing the dual meet season 22-0, bringing home three All-Americans, and securing a second consecutive Top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships. Stevens Institute’s Troy Stanich earned the honor of d3wrestling.com Freshman of the Year after going 45-1 and finishing third at the NCAA Championships, while helping the squad capture the NCAA East Regional title. Finishing second in the NCAA East Regional was NYU. The Violets are headed by 23-year veteran and 12-time UAA Coach of the Year, Bruce Haberli. On the mat, reigning UAA Wrestling Championship’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, Raymond Jazikoff, will look to continue his dominance as he tries to add to his 101 career collegiate wins. John Hopkins enters the event hoping to avenge their loss to NYU at last year’s “Grapple at The Garden”. The Blue Jays will be led by senior Tommy Grifa who will be vying for personal back-to-back victories at the event. Lastly, out of the Middle Atlantic Freedom Conference (MAC), Wilkes University and seniorNicholas Raccanelli lead the Colonels into The Garden looking to improve on their strong 20-win 2016-17 season.

The full day of wrestling on December 10 will begin at 8:45 a.m. with Kyle Dake’s Youth Clinic, followed by NYU vs. John Hopkins at 9:30 a.m. The day continues with a high school unattached all-star dual meet exhibition contest between wrestlers from Long Island against the Northeast region at 9:00 a.m. Collegiate competition continues with Stevens vs. Wilkes at 12:00 p.m. and LIU Post vs. Wilkes at 2:45 p.m. concluding the Division II and III action on the day. Princeton vs. Virginia Tech will take place at 4:30 p.m. with Hofstra and George Mason closing out the action at 6:15 p.m.