“If I can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere/It’s up to you/New York, New York.”
Those words from the classic song “New York, New York” could also be used to describe two major amateur wrestling events with similar names – Grapple in the Apple, and Grapple at the Garden — held in New York City in 2012 that helped raise the sport’s profile in the nation’s largest city, and world’s most significant media market.
In June, Grapple in the Apple was held outdoors in the middle of Times Square. Over 20,000 people saw a USA-Russia freestyle dual meet, along with a wrestle-off for the 60kg/132 pound slot on the U.S. freestyle Olympic team in which eventual bronze medalist (and former Oklahoma State matman) Coleman Scott defeated Ohio State alum Reece Humphrey and ex-Edinboro All-American Shawn Bunch. Grapple in the Apple was a fundraiser for Beat the Streets, an organization that supports amateur wrestling opportunities in New York City.
Six months later, Grapple at the Garden brought college wrestling to Madison Square Garden for the first time in the 133-year history of the world’s most celebrated sports arena. On Dec. 16, fourteen Division I college wrestling programs took to the mats in a two-session, dual-meet format. Among the participating teams were six squads ranked among the top ten in the nation at the time: Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Cornell. Just over 9,000 fans took in this inaugural event which started on a Sunday morning.
The significance of these two major mat events in the Big Apple cannot be overstated. In addition to garnering impressive attendance figures, both Grapple events generated considerable media attention beyond amateur wrestling websites and publications, to include coverage on TV, major newspapers and magazines, and other mainstream media outlets. What’s more, the Grapple events may help pave the way to making some history. Prior to Grapple at the Garden, an organizer for that event said its success might lead to Madison Square Garden hosting future NCAA wrestling championships, a tournament traditionally held in the Midwest.
College Wrestling Examiner’s Year in Review: For the fourth straight year, College Wrestling Examiner will be taking a look at the Top Ten Stories of 2012. Now through the end of this year, we’ll be posting our choices for the ten most significant stories in the world of collegiate wrestling.
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