NEW YORK– New Jersey natives James Green (Willingboro) and Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield) will square off in the first announced Team USA vs. NCAA Champions match during the 2019 “Grapple at the Garden” Beat the Streets (BTS) benefit at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 6. The bout between Green, a four-time USA World Team member who earned NCAA All-America honors four times at the University of Nebraska, and Ashnault, the Rutgers graduate senior who last month claimed the NCAA title at 149 pounds, will be part of the 10th annual event, which supports BTS, the largest grassroots inner city wrestling program in the United States. “Grapple at the Garden” 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.
Green, who capped a career at Willingboro HS as the first in school history to win a state title with a perfect 29-0 record in 2011, was also the 2017 US Open champion and two-time World medalist (silver, 2017; bronze, 2015). He was also the Big Ten champion at Nebraska in 2014.
Ashnault, the first-ever four-time state champion and undefeated wrestler in N.J. history (taking titles at 103, 112, 126, 138 lbs. at South Plainfield HS, will also graduate as Rutgers’s only fourtime NCAA All-American. The Hodge Trophy finalist completed a perfect 32-0 season, his third Big Ten championship, in March, earning a school record 132 match wins in the process.
“It is especially exciting for area wrestling fans to have two of New Jersey’s greatest ever squaring off in the Beat the Streets benefit,” said Beat the Streets Executive Director Brendan Buckley. “New Jersey continues to produce some of the nation’s top wrestlers, and interest in the sport there is at an all-time high. We’re pleased to be showcasing these two stars just across the Hudson River at the Hulu Theater at MSG.”
Additional matchups in the Team USA vs. NCAA Champions main events will be announced in the coming weeks. Those will be preceded by several youth matches, the first announced late last month, another battle of local State Champions in Jo Jo Aragona (Pope John XXIII HS/New Jersey) vs. Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor HS/New York).
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/btsevents 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.
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
Beat the Streets Wrestling™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you would like to support our mission to improve the lives and futures of New York City public school students by giving them the opportunity to wrestle, please click the donate button below: