NEW YORK–Two standout women will represent Team U.S.A. at next month’s “Grapple at the Garden” Beat the Streets (BTS) benefit when 2018 World Silver Medalist Sarah Hildebrandt and 2018 Senior World Championships Bronze Medalist Mallory Velte battle top opponents from Canada as part of a stellar set of matches in the 10th annual event on May 6 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Hildebrandt will take on Dana Weicker, while Velte will square off against Linda Morais.
Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind.), who won titles at the Final X and US Open last year, is also a two-time WCWA champion for King (Tenn.) University and has twice been a member of the U.S. World Team. Her bout with Weicker will be a rematch of the 2018 World Championship 53kg semifinal bout in Budapest, won by Hildebrandt, 10-0. Weicker went on to take the bronze medal, and the Nova Scotia native also took gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.
Velte (Sacramento, Calif.), the bronze medalist at last year’s World Championships at 62kg, toppling Lais Nunes of Brazil in the third-place match. She placed third in the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials and is a two-time U.S. World Team member. Before winning three WCWA national titles at Simon Fraser Univ. in Burnaby, Canada, she was a two-time California CIF girls state champion in 2012 and 2013. She also won two University Nationals titles. Her opponent, Morais, from Ontario, represented Canada well as a bronze medalist at the 2016 World Championships and a two-time (2016, 2018) World University Championship gold medalist.
The matchups are the latest additions to a world-class lineup that includes featured bouts between 2012 Gold Medalist Jordan Burroughs and 2008 Olympian Ben Askren; a match between current NCAA champion Nick Suriano (Paramus, N.J. / Rutgers Univ.) and 2018 World bronze medalist Joe Colon (Clear Lake, Iowa / Univ. of Northern Iowa); an all-New Jersey matchup between James Green (Willingboro) and Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield); and a battle of local State Champions in Jo Jo Aragona (Pope John XXIII HS/New Jersey) vs. Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor HS/New York).
“Grapple at the Garden” supports Beat the Streets (www.btsny.org), the largest grassroots inner city wrestling program in the United States, serving as both a fundraiser for the organization and to celebrate its athletes as they compete on the biggest stage in the center of the world.
Tickets for the evening’s action are available now via TicketMaster, priced starting at $30 at https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/3B005668AA091B69. A variety of donation packages which include “Grapple in the Garden” tickets are also available at https://www.btsny.org/bts-events or by emailing email@example.com, beginning at $1000. Doors open on May 6 at 5:30 p.m., with the main event starting at 6 p.m.
For the fifth straight year, FloSports will provide live and on-demand coverage on FloWrestling.com.
Beat the Streets, Inc. will invite select members of the 2018 U.S. Men’s Freestyle World Team, which placed second in the 2018 World Championships and won seven World medals, as well as select top USA women’s wrestlers.
Beat the Streets Benefit competitions, which began in 2010, have since become a major showcase of the best of international wrestling. This unique and electrifying annual event has helped Beat the Streets raise millions of dollars to support local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.
The first Beat the Streets Benefit was held on the U.S.S. Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. Since then, the benefit has taken place at other notable New York City spots like Grand Central Station and Times Square. Team USA has faced off against teams from around the world including Japan, Cuba, Russia and Iran. Last year, the competition was hosted at the new Pier 17 in the Seaport District and included the highly anticipated Burroughs vs. Frank Chamizo match.
The 2018 U.S. World Team, which competed in Budapest, Hungary, featured 2018 World champions Kyle Dake, David Taylor and J’den Cox, 2018 World silver medalist Kyle Snyder, and 2018 World bronze medalists Joe Colon, Jordan Burroughs and Nick Gwiazdowski. Burroughs and Snyder are both multiple Olympic and World champions. Others on the USA team included 2016 World champion Logan Stieber, two-time World bronze medalist James Green and 2017 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman.
New York City’s Madison Square Garden is one of the most famous sporting and entertainment venues in the world. The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden is an impressive venue with the capacity to seat over 5,000. The theater has hosted notable wrestling events including the 1998 Goodwill Games wrestling competition and the 2017 Grapple at the Garden college wrestling event.
About Beat the Streets
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTS works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to bring the life changing sport of wrestling to over 3,000 New York City student-athletes to help them achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTS and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of grit, personal responsibility and teamwork, physical fitness and nutrition, and life-long learning. The goal of fostering strong, well-rounded student-athletes is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, life skills workshops, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.
2019 Beat the Streets “Grapple at the Garden”
May 6, 2019
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York
(Matches scheduled to date, Order TBD)
Jordan Burroughs vs Ben Askren
James Green vs. Anthony Ashnault
Jo Jo Aragona vs. Adam Busiello
Nick Suriano vs. Joe Colon
Sarah Hildebrandt vs. Diana Weicker
Mallory Velte vs. Linda Morais