USA Wrestling Plenty of stars put ...

Plenty of stars put on show at Grapple at the Garden

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Dec. 01, 2013, 7:02 p.m. (ET)

Grapple at the Garden playlist:

Top-ranked Jesse Delgado of Illinois downed No. 2 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell on Sunday in New York. USA Wrestling file photo. 

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The crowd of nearly 5,000 fans at the world’s most famous arena was treated to an amazing show.

Stars like World champion Joe Warren, World silver medalist Helen Maroulis, UFC champion Frankie Edgar, and NCAA champions Bubba Jenkins and Jesse Delgado provided much of the entertainment.

And a heavyweight from Cornell University delivered to lift his team to a dramatic win over Illinois in a battle of top-10 teams.

The second Grapple at the Garden event offered a unique and action-packed smorgasbord program of wrestling and the supportive Madison Square Garden crowd had plenty to cheer about on Sunday.

Jenkins won the main event in a battle of past NCAA champions at 163 pounds. Jenkins and former Penn State teammate Frank Molinaro were tied after regulation before Jenkins struck for the winning takedown to win 4-2 in overtime.

Jenkins, a past Junior World champion in freestyle, is now competing in mixed martial arts.

“It was a lot of fun because I got the win against a guy I don’t like that much,” Jenkins said. “I had more heart than he did. This is what I love to do and that’s what the crowd loves to see. It’s great to have a lot of MMA guys giving back to wrestling. It’s big for the sport.”

Edgar, well-known for being hugely successful in MMA, looked dominant in recording a quick fall over Phillipe Nover. Edgar and Nover compete in the lightweight division as fighters. 

“It was great – it’s been eight years since I competed in wrestling,” Edgar said. “To be able to do this again, and my kids get to watch, it’s a blessing. Wrestling in the Garden, how can you say no to this? Wrestling is in my blood and it’s the best sport in the world. This is so cool that fans get to see a full array of wrestling out here. It’s the best of both worlds.”

The charismatic, high-energy Warren, a World champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and a Bellator mixed martial arts champion, delivered perhaps the best show for the fans.

Warren went for broke from start to finish, building a huge lead before body-locking and pinning Mike Torriero in his freestyle bout. 

Warren led a group of current MMA stars with wrestling ties who took part in a dual meet in freestyle wrestling. A pumped-up Warren executed a back flip in celebration of his win Sunday.

“This was a lot of fun,” Warren said. “My first love is wrestling. We’ve got a huge Madison Square Garden full of people. This is my kind of place. Anything to help the kids and bring back wrestling, the baddest man on the planet will be there for. I was honored to be a part of this event.” 

Past World Team member Shawn Bunch, who qualified the U.S. for the Olympics in 2012 at 60 kg/132 lbs. in freestyle, earned a 2-1 win over three-time NCAA Division II champion Waylon Lowe. Bunch prevailed despite looking about 20 pounds lighter than the burly Lowe.

The Titan Mercury Wrestling Club defeated the New York Athletic Club in a dual that featured five freestyle bouts, one Greco-Roman match and one women’s freestyle match. 

Titan Mercury’s Kyle Hutter opened with a 6-2 win over Frank Perrelli in the dual’s first match at 55 kg/121 lbs. Teammate B.J. Futrell followed with a 10-5 win over Brandon Precin in a battle of past All-Americans at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Titan Mercury’s Montell Marion, a two-time NCAA runner-up, powered in on a leg attack late in the match to earn a win over a Russian opponent at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. 

New York AC wrestler Enock Francois looked strong in posting a convincing 7-0 win over Austin Trotman at 84 kg/185 lbs. World Team Trials runner-up Tyrell Fortune of Titan Mercury continued to show progress in downing Kyle Massey 8-0.

"It was definitely a great experience to compete here and it was amazing to be in this atmosphere," Fortune said. "I need to continue to improve my wrestling, work out with the right guys and be around the best coaches. I just have to keep working hard and learn as much as I can."

Titan Mercury’s Jennifer Page downed Jenna Burkert in women’s freestyle before freestyler Wynn Michalak pinned Mark Stenberg in Greco-Roman.

In the featured college dual meet, sixth-ranked Cornell and seventh-ranked Illinois were deadlocked 15-15 entering the final match at heavyweight.

The match went through two cycles of overtime before Cornell’s Stryker Lane earned a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Illinois wrestler Christopher Lopez. That gave the Big Red a dramatic 18-15 win. 

“Oh my goodness, that was so fun,” Lane said. “I could hear the crowd cheering for me. That got me pumped up and made me forget how I tired I was. I was glad I was able to get the job done at one of the best venues in the world.”

Cornell and Illinois highlighted the large field of college squads that each competed in a pair of duals on Sunday. Cornell, Princeton and Hofstra each went 2-0 in the event.

Delgado, an Illinois junior, was named Outstanding Wrestler in the college division. The top-ranked Delgado, a returning NCAA champion, topped second-ranked Nahshon Garrett of Cornell 6-2 at 125 pounds. Garrett placed third at the 2013 NCAAs as a freshman.

“I didn’t think I wrestled well at all,” Delgado said. “I wasn’t moving my feet too well and my shots weren’t crisp. I just had to gut it out. It was a tough match, but I’m going to keep getting better and it won’t be that close the next time.”

Maroulis bolted out to a quick five-point lead and then finished strong in a 12-6 win over Canada’s Jillian Gallays in women’s freestyle at 55 kg/121 lbs.

“I wrestled Jill about a year and a half ago, and caught her and pinned her,” Maroulis said. “I just tried to get my offense going this time and I was up 5-0 right away. I was trying to put the match away, but rushed a couple of shots and she came back. I came back in the second period with a counter takedown and then shot a double to finish the match. 

“It was incredible to be able to wrestle here. It was a great opportunity for us to compete in an arena like this.”

Canada’s Erica Wiebe hit a second-period headlock to take control in defeating World champion Adeline Gray 5-2 at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.


Sunday, Dec. 1, Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

Titan Mercury WC vs. New York AC dual 

Freestyle 55 kg/121 lbs.

Kyle Hutter (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Frank Perrilli (NYAC), 6-2

Freestyle 60 kg/132 lbs.

B.J. Futrell (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Brandon Precin (NYAC), 10-5

Freestyle 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Montell Marion (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Russian opponent, 5-3 

Freestyle 84 kg/185 lbs.

Enoch Francois (NYAC) dec. Austin Trotman (Titan Mercury WC), 7-0

Freestyle 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Tyrell Fortune (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Kyle Massey (NYAC), 8-0

Women’s freestyle 59 kg/130 lbs.

Jennifer Page (Titan Mercury WC) pinned Jenna Burkert (NYAC), 3:32

Greco-Roman 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Wynn Michalak (Titan Mercury WC) pinned Mark Stenberg (NYAC), 3:28

USA vs. Canada women’s freestyle matches 

55 kg/121 lbs.

Helen Maroulis (USA) dec. Jillian Gallays (Canada), 12-6

72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Erica Wiebe (Canada) dec. Adeline Gray (USA), 5-2

Team Joe Warren vs. Team Renzo Gracie dual

Freestyle 147 pounds

Drew Headlee (Team Renzo Gracie) won by tech. fall over Alex Karnitski (Team Joe Warren), 13-2 

Freestyle 145 pounds

Joe Warren (Team Joe Warren) pinned Mike Torriero (Team Renzo Gracie), 4:20

Freestyle 150 pounds

Shawn Bunch (Team Joe Warren) dec. Waylon Lowe (Team Renzo Gracie), 2-1 

Freestyle 165 pounds

Boris Novachkov (Team Joe Warren) dec. Dave Esposito (Team Renzo Gracie), 7-1 

Freestyle 175 pounds

Brennan Warde (Team Joe Warren) won by tech. fall over Timothy Ludke (Team Renzo Gracie), 10-0

Freestyle 195 pounds

Ryan Tobin (Team Joe Warren) dec. David Branch (Team Renzo Gracie), 4-0

Freestyle 220 pounds

Hudson Taylor (Team Joe Warren) dec. Rustam Ghsiev (Team Renzo Gracie), 10-2

Freestyle 285 pounds

Kyle Cerminara (Team Renzo Gracie) dec. Ryan Martinez (Team Joe Warren), 7-6

College dual results

Session 1

Cornell 31, Maryland 9

Illinois 29, Bloomsburg 18

Penn 25, Boston 9

Rutgers 29, George Mason 10

Princeton 21, Drexel 14

Stony Brook 35, Westchester 10

Hofstra 23, Army 16

Session 2

Cornell 18, Illinois 15

Princeton 23, Army 16

Maryland 19, Rutgers 18

Drexel 22, George Mason 15

Stevens Institute of Technology 25, New York University 7

Bloomsburg 21, Penn 16

Hofstra 35, Boston 6

Featured college matchup

No. 6 Cornell 18, No. 7 Illinois 15

125: #1 Jesse Delgado (I) dec. #2 Nahshon Garrett (C), 6-2
133: #11 Zane Richards (I) dec. #10 Mark Grey (C), 4-2
141: #4 Mike Nevinger (C) dec. Steven Rodrigues (I), 7-4
149: #14 Chris Villalonga (C) dec. John Fahy (I),8-3
157: #12 Brian Realbuto (C)  dec. #15 Zac Brunson (I), 8-3
165: #19 Jackson Morse (I) dec. Dylan Palacio (C), 8-4
174: #9 Tony Dallago (I) dec. Duke Pickett (C), 9-4
184: #12 Gabe Dean (C) pinned Nikko Reyes (I), 6:55
197: #7 Mario Gonzalez (I) dec. #14 Jace Bennett (C), 7-1
HWT: Stryker Lane (C) dec. Christopher Lopez (I), 4-3 2 OT