NEW YORK– The first youth matchup for the 2019 “Grapple at the Garden” Beat the Streets (BTS) benefit is set, and it’s a battle of State Champions, as Jo Jo Aragona (Pope John XXIII HS/New Jersey) will take on Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor HS/New York) as two of the top 138 lb. wrestlers in the country take to the mat on Monday, May 6, at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The bout will precede the main event that evening, featuring stars of Team USA vs. NCAA Champions. The 10th annual event, which supports BTS, the largest grassroots inner city wrestling program in the United States, serves 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.
Aragona, who has committed to attend Rutgers University next year, ranks #1 in the country, according to InterMat, He is the reigning New Jersey State Champion and three-time State medalist. He earned New Jersey Herald and NJAC Wrestler of the Year honors, and with a 158-6 record (42-0 this year) has the most wins in Sussex County, N.J. history. Aragona was also the winner of the “Who’s #1” event by FloWrestling.
Busiello claimed five straight New York State Championships (the only Suffolk County wrestler ever to accomplish the feat), and is currently rated #4 in the nation by InterMat. The Sag Harbor, N.Y., native, who will attend Arizona State in the fall, chalked up a 280-8 record including three consecutive undefeated seasons in earning five Section I championships. He also won four straight “Super 32” titles, becoming the first high school division wrestler to do so.
“It’s exciting to have two of the best wrestlers in the world as well as State Champions in Jo Jo and Adam as part of a celebration of the sport,” said Beat the Streets Executive Director Brendan Buckley. “New Jersey and Long Island are hotbeds of the sport, and fans can get a glimpse of the future as well as the present with what will be a standout lineup of the best of USA Wrestling and NCAA stars.”
The bout will be part of a festive BTS evening. Tickets 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. The competing athletes from USA Wrestling and NCAA schools will be announced at a later date.
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. 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.
About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling, the international wrestling federation. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. It has over 230,000 members across the nation, boys and girls, men and women of all ages, representing all levels of the sport. Its president is Bruce Baumgartner, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender. More information can be found at TheMat.com
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