USA Wrestling Beat the Streets Und...

Beat the Streets Undercard Preview: Five great matchups featuring top men and women freestylers

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Sept. 16, 2020, 6:16 p.m. (ET)

Gable Steveson competing in 2019 Final X: Rutgers. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

In spite of the current pandemic, Beat the Streets has been able to pull together a live competition card of elite wrestling matches, to be held alongside its Virtual Telethon tomorrow, Thursday September 17.

The Virtual Telethon, featuring a variety of wrestling celebrities, will be free on FloWrestling for fans to enjoy, starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. The six-match competition card, held in an undisclosed location somewhere in the New York metropolitan region, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and can be viewed by those who have a FloWrestling subscription.

This event has one purpose, besides entertaining and inspiring wrestling fans. It is serving as a fundraiser for Beat the Street’s extensive programs for youth in New York City.

Here is a short preview of these matches in the undercard, in the order that they will be held, leading into the Main Event of Yianni Diakomihalis vs. Vlad Khinchegashvili.

Bout One - Women’s Freestyle: Emily Shilson vs. Charlotte Fowler

Shilson’s Resume
Shilson became the first U.S. athlete to win a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games, when she won the title in 2018. She boasts a 2018 Cadet World gold medal and 2017 Cadet World silver medal. She has won two Pan American Cadet titles and a 2019 Pan American Junior silver medal. She also competed at the 2019 U23 World Championships. Shilson wrestles for Augsburg University, where she won the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships (NCWWC) title in 2020, as well as the 2020 WCWA national title. She placed fourth at the Senior Nationals in December 2019, which has qualified her to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A native of Minnesota, Shilson was a six-time Fargo national champion,

Fowler’s Resume
Fowler was a last minute replacement for Felicity Taylor, and brings both international and college achievements with her to the battle. She was a member of the 2018 U23 World Team, where she placed 16th at 53 kg. A star for Campbellsville University, she was a multiple WCWA All-American, including third-place finishes in both 2018 and 2020. Fowler has placed high at national events on the Senior, U23 and UWW Junior, Junior and UWW Cadet and Cadet levels going back to her high school years in Texas and through her college career.

What to Expect
Shilson has been dominant going back to her days in youth programs, then has been one of the nation’s most successful age-group athletes on the World level in recent years. She also won two college national titles in her freshman year at Augsburg. Technically, she is a freestyle wizard. Fowler made her name as a hard-nosed, aggressive competitor who never backed down from a challenge. On paper, Shilson should be favored, but Fowler has a probable size advantage. Shilson is a small 50 kg athlete, while Fowler has been a full-size 53 kg athlete. Fowler will need to keep the match close, and her defense could be the key to making this happen.

Bout Two – Men’s freestyle - Joe Colon vs. Seth Gross

Colon’s Resume
Colon won a bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary at 61 kg. He won Pan American Championships titles in 2018 and 2019. He has won international medals on the Senior level since 2015, including events held in Cuba, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Italy. He has placed high in the UWW Rankings in recent seasons. Colon was an NCAA All-American for Northern Iowa and was an NJCAA national champion for Iowa Central, hailing originally from Iowa as well.

Gross Resume
Gross won an NCAA title for South Dakota State in 2018 and was a 2017 NCAA runner-up. He transferred to Wisconsin, where he was third in the Big Ten going into the 2020 NCAA Championships, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. He started his college career at Iowa. Gross won the 2019 Bill Farrell International, which has qualified him for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. His international resume includes making the 2012 Cadet World team and the 2016 Junior World Teams. Gross won age-group freestyle titles as a high school wrestler from Minnesota.

What to expect
Both of these athletes are big for 57 kg, and most probably will only be competing at this weight for the Olympic year. Colon won his World bronze at 61 kg and Gross has wrestled in higher weight classes in both college and in freestyle. Colon easily has the most international experience, including a Senior World medal on his shelf. What makes this match interesting is the ability of both athletes to create action and to score points. Colon has been in some insanely high-scoring bouts in the past, and Gross has shown an ability to scramble and score from many positions. Don’t blink during this match, as the action could be non-stop.

Bout Three - Men’s Freestyle: Rustam Ampar (Russia) vs. Jack Mueller

Ampar’s Resume
Ampar was a 2009 Junior World silver medalist. He won the 2014 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix and placed second in 2016. Ampar was fifth in the 2014 European Championships. Among his international golds were at the tough Ukrainian Memorial International, as well as the Copa Brasil in Brazil. He has medals at Senior international events in Russia, Armenia and Turkey.

Mueller’s Resume
Mueller placed fifth in freestyle at the 2018 U23 World Championships at 57 kg. He was 2019 NCAA runner-up for Virginia. He returned for the 2020 season and placed second at the ACC Championships, before the NCAAs was cancelled due to COVID-19. He was also sixth at the 2017 NCAA Championships as a freshman. A native of Texas, Mueller won four National Prep titles, and also added Cadet and Junior National freestyle titles.

What to expect
With Ampar, who is in the United States training at this time, the event has a more international appeal. Ampar is the real deal in freestyle, and brings much more international experience to the match than Mueller, who is still growing in his freestyle development. That doesn’t mean Mueller should be overlooked in this battle. He has shown the ability to wrestle well on the big stage, when people are paying attention. Mueller knows that a win here could help propel him into an Olympic year where he has some ground to make up in a short time.

Bout Four – Women’s Freestyle: Victoria Francis vs. Alexandria Glaude

Francis’ resume
Francis is a two-time Senior World Team member, competing at the 2017 and 2019 Senior World Championships. She reached the medal rounds at 72 kg at the 2019 Worlds in Kazakhstan, finishing fifth. She wasa second in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, falling to Adeline Gray in the finals series. Francis is a two-time Pan American Championships medalist with extensive overseas experience. She won a Junior World bronze medal in 2014 while she was at Lindenwood, where she won two WCWA national titles. Francis is a native of Illinois.

Glaude’s resume
Glaude won a bronze medal at the 2018 U23 World Championships. She was also ninth in the 2017 Junior World Championships. She has been on the Senior Women’s National Team since 2018. She was a runner-up finish in the 2019 Final X, falling to eventual World champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock in the final series. Glaude won a WCWA national title for McKendree in 2019, then added an NCWWC national title (NCAA teams-only) in 2020. She hails from California, where she went to the same high school as World medalist Mallory Velte, Christian Brothers.

What to expect:
These two met in the recent past, when Francis defeated Glaude, 3-2, in the 68 kg semifinals at the Senior Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas in December 2019. That match alone is an indication of how close this battle should be again. Francis was new at 68 kg last year, spending most of her career at 75 kg or 72 kg. Glaude is comfortable at this weight class, which is where her major achievements were earned. Francis is a grinder, who has continued to add more technical skills to her repertoire. Glaude is extremely hard to score on and has a tremendous up-side as she adds more experience.

Bout Five – Men’s freestyle - Gable Steveson vs. Trent Hillger

Steveson’s Resume
Steveson is already a seasoned World-class wrestler. He won Cadet World titles in 2015 and 2016, and followed with a Junior World title in 2017. Steveson also placed eighth in the 2018 Junior World Championships. He has made the U.S. Senior Freestyle National Team the last two years, rising to the No. 2 spot in the nation by reaching Final X in 2019. Steveson was third in the 2019 NCAA Championships for Minnesota, and was a favorite to win the 2020 NCAA Championships which were cancelled due to COVID-19. He is a Minnesota native.

Hillger’s Resume
Hillger is a two-time NCAA qualifier for Wisconsin. He was fourth in the 2020 Big Ten Championships and received the No. 6 seed before the NCAA Championships were cancelled. The NCAA named Hillger as 2020 Div. I First Team All-Americans based upon his success in the 2019-20 season. Hillger has won medals at the UWW Junior level in freestyle. He hails from Michigan.

What to Expect
Steveson will be the biggest favorite among the athletes on the BTS card tomorrow. He has much more high-level freestyle experience than Hillger, and has also beaten Hillger in their previous battles in college and in the post-season circuit. The question will be how much Hillger has improved since wrestling Steveson in the past, and can he develop a strategy to stop Steveson from scoring big on him early in the bout. Heavyweight matches can be highly entertaining, and it will be interesting to see what kind of show these athletes provide for the fans.

Note: A preview of the Main Event battle will be posted on Thursday morning