Illinois and Cornell headline strong college field for Grapple at the Garden event

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Nov. 22, 2013, 11:41 a.m. (ET)

Illinois junior Jesse Delgado captured an NCAA title in 2013. John Sachs photo.

College wrestling fans will be treated to an abundance of top matchups as part of the outstanding wrestling card at the 2013 Grapple at the Garden.

The Grapple at the Garden event is presented by, at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 1.

The second Grapple at the Garden will showcase 16 college teams, competing in two rounds of dual meets. Included are 12 NCAA Division I teams, plus two NCAA Division III teams, and a pair of NCWA club teams from local colleges.

The full day of wrestling will include two dual meet sessions with the first starting at 10 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 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.

Cornell is ranked No. 6 nationally and Illinois is No. 7. Bloomsburg is ranked No. 21 and Maryland has been nationally ranked this season.

One of the best matchups will be at 125 pounds where returning NCAA champion Jesse Delgado of Illinois could meet All-American Nahshon Garrett of Cornell. Delgado and Garrett are ranked 1-2 nationally this season. Delgado downed Garrett 10-5 in the 2013 NCAA semifinals.

Garrett, who rebounded to place third nationally as a freshman last season, knocked off two-time NCAA runner-up Nico Megaludis of Penn State earlier this season.

Another intriguing battle could come at 133 with past USA Wrestling age-group stars Mark Grey of Cornell and Zane Richards of Illinois squaring off. Grey, ranked ninth, placed fifth at the Junior World Championships in freestyle. 

There are a number of other wrestlers in ranked in the top 10 nationally who are scheduled to compete. They include Maryland’s Jim Sheptock (No. 2 at 184), Cornell’s Mike Nevinger (No. 4 at 141), Bloomsburg’s Bryce Busler (No. 5 at 149), Hofstra’s Luke Vaith (No. 7 at 141), Illinois’ Mario Gonzalez (No. 7 at 197), Maryland’s Spencer Myers (No. 7 at 285), Bloomsburg’s Josh Veltre (No. 8 at 165), Illinois’ Tony Dallas (No. 9 at 174), Boston’s Nestor Taffur (No. 10 at 157), Cornell’s Gabe Dean (No. 10 at 184) and Maryland’s Christian Boley (No. 10 at 197).

Busler upset returning NCAA champion Kendric Maple of Oklahoma earlier this season.

There will also be a featured men’s freestyle bout in the Grapple at the Garden event between four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake against past NCAA champion Bubba Jenkins.

Dake wrestled for Cornell while Jenkins competed for Arizona State and Penn State. Dake placed second at the 2013 Senior World Team Trials. Jenkins was a Junior World champion in freestyle wrestling and now competes in mixed martial arts.

The card also includes a Senior-level dual meet between the New York Athletic Club and the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, in addition to a pair of international women’s freestyle matches.

It will also feature the finals of the Beat The Streets PSAL Thanksgiving Dual Meet Invitational, featuring 16 high schools. Moreover, the finals of the inaugural Grapple at the Garden middle school championship, produced in association with the Metropolitan Wrestling Association, will also take place. Registration is still open at

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at