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“Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com,” the first-ever college wrestling event to be held at Madison Square Garden, will feature several of the nation’s top collegiate programs as well as four NCAA champions in a field that includes 14 colleges and universities participating in two rounds of dual meet competition on Sunday, Dec. 16.
The following are the match-ups that will take place on eight different mats over a four-hour period:
Individually, there are more than 65 nationally ranked wrestlers who are expected to compete in the “Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com.” Every weight class has a number of ranked individuals, and there are numerous expected matchups that will feature two ranked wrestlers going head-to-head.
A three-time NCAA champion, senior Kyle Dake of Cornell will be featured at 165 pounds. He became the first wrestler to ever win NCAA titles in three different weight classes when he captured the 157-pound title last year. Dake has moved up to another weight class this year, looking to make it an amazing four NCAA titles in four different weight classes.
With a victory, Dake will join Pat Smith of Oklahoma State and Cael Sanderson of Iowa State as the only four-time Div. I national champions.
Two-time NCAA champion, Matt McDonough of Iowa will be competing at 125 pounds. McDonough won NCAA titles as a freshman in 2010 and as a junior in 2012, and was NCAA runner-up in 2011 as a sophomore. With a win this season, he would join a select group of four-time NCAA finalists and three-time champions..
Logan Stieber of Ohio State, a 2012 NCAA champion as a freshman, returns for his sophomore year at the same weight class, 133 pounds. Stieber was a runner-up at last year’s Olympic Team Trials event, losing in the finals to eventual Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott. Stieber is also a past Junior World silver medalist.
2011 NCAA champion Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State is a senior and is now competing at 149 pounds. Oliver was second to Stieber in the 2012 NCAA finals, and was also fourth in the NCAA as a freshman in 2010. A past Junior World bronze medalist, Oliver is seeking to become a four-time All-American and two-time champion.
All four of the past NCAA champions hold No. 1 individual national rankings in at least one of the major college rankings.
The featured team match up will be between No. 2 Oklahoma State University against No. 8 Cornell.
Oklahoma State has won 34 NCAA Div. I team titles in wrestling, the most of any sports team in any sport in all of NCAA athletics. Cornell has yet to capture an NCAA Div. I team title, but was second in the 2011 NCAA Championships and has placed in the top four the last three seasons. Oklahoma State has won both of the two previous dual meets against Cornell in the schools’ history.
The Oklahoma State/Cornell dual also features one of the most widely anticipated individual showdowns of the early season, as No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell battles No. 3 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State. Dake is moving up in weight and Caldwell is among the stars he may have to beat to win a fourth NCAA title. In 2011, Caldwell was an NCAA runner-up competing for Oklahoma, after placing fifth at the 2010 NCAA meet. Caldwell took last season off as an Olympic redshirt, and when he returned to NCAA action, he transferred to Oklahoma State.
Other featured team match ups that include teams ranked in the Top 25 include: No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 17 Maryland, No. 9 Nebraska vs. No. 17 Maryland and No. 17 Missouri vs. No. 25 Bloomsburg. “Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com” will also showcase No. 5 Iowa in matchups vs. Hofstra and Bucknell respectively.
Additionally, the “Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com” will feature special appearances by Dan Gable, Jordan Burroughs, Frankie Edgar, Bubba Jenkins, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.
Wrestling fans can purchase tickets for the inaugural “Grapple at the Garden, presented by Suplay.com” at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com/grapple. Tickets start at $20.00 for the December 16th event at The World’s Most Famous Arena, and fans can purchase tickets in the designated fan section for their respective university.