Russia, USA Teams Set For June 7 Times Square Wrestling Battle

USA Wrestling and Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc. has announced that a team of talented athletes from World champion Russia will face the U.S. Olympians who will represent our nation in the London Games in Duffy Square in New York’s Times Square on Thursday, June 7.

This major international freestyle wrestling match, billed as “The Grapple in the Big Apple,” will be the featured competition for the 2012 Beat the Streets Gala and Benefit, which will be held following the dual meet at Roseland Ballroom. Included in the Gala is the Beat the Streets Reception and Awards Ceremony.

This is the second straight year that Team USA has battled Russia as part of the Beat the Streets Gala in Times Square. In 2011, the United States defeated World champion Russia, 5-2, in a dual meet there. It was the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square, and thousands of fans packed the area to see history in the making.

The Russian lineup for the Beat the Streets Gala has not yet been finalized. The final roster will be provided to USA Wrestling at the conclusion of the Russian National Wrestling Championships next week.

The U.S. team for the dual meet has been determined. It will feature six of the athletes who earned spots on the men’s freestyle team for the London Games with victories at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, April 21-22.

Included on the U.S. roster are four past World medalists:

  • 2011 World champion Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg/163 lbs.
  • 2009 World silver medalist Jake Herbert at 84 kg/185 lbs.
  • 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
  • 2011 World bronze medalist Jake Varner at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Burroughs will have significant local interest, as he is a native of Sicklerville, N.J., where he was a New Jersey state champion for Winslow Township High School in 2006.

The other two athletes who will compete for Team USA in London, Sam Hazewinkel at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Jared Frayer at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., will also wrestle on the U.S. team in Times Square.

The U.S. Olympian at 60 kg/132 lbs. has not yet been determined. A Special Wrestle-off for the spot between Shawn Bunch, Reece Humphrey and Coleman Scott will be held at a date and location to be announced shortly.

Competing in the Beat the Streets dual meet at 60 kg/132 lbs. will be Logan Stieber, a 2011 NCAA champion for Ohio State who placed second behind Scott at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City.

“Anytime you wrestle the Russians, you have to be ready. They are very good, very deep and you can’t look past anyone. We are just coming off of the Freestyle World Cup, and we need our Olympians to compete again. But this is not just about preparation for the Olympic Games. It is an important match that has been on our schedule and we are looking to win,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones.

Coach Jones sees the Grapple in the Big Apple as another step forward for the athletes and the men’s freestyle national program.

“At the World Cup, the great thing is that we got to gel as a team. These guys like each other, will fight for each other and want to make the USA the best nation in the world. We came together as a team. We learned a lot about ourselves at the World Cup. We are now working in tactical and technical areas, and in our training camp next week will work on those areas of concentration,” said Jones.

The USA vs. Russia event is free to the public, and will be shown on the largest single-faced LED screen in Times Square. A television partner for the event will be announced shortly.

This is the third straight year in which a major Olympic-style competition has been featured as part of the Beat the Streets Gala.

In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. Competition was in all three Olympic styles and featured numerous U.S. World Team members and national champions.

Once again this year, a card of exhibition matches will be held in Duffy Square, featuring Beat the Streets athletes from middle schools as well as from the Public School Athletic League.

A complete schedule of events will be announced shortly.

U.S. Roster For Beat The Streets Gala
At Duffy Square in Times Square, New York, N.Y., June 7
55 kg/121 lbs. – Sam Hazewinkel, Norman, Okla. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Logan Stieber, Monroeville, Ohio (New York AC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Jared Frayer, Norman, Okla. (Gator WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Jake Herbert, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Jake Varner, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
National Freestyle Coach – Zeke Jones, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – John Smith, Stillwater, Okla.
Coach – Mark Manning, Lincoln, Neb.
Coach – Lou Rosselli, Columbus, Ohio
Coach – Bobby Douglas, Ames, Iowa
Medical and Support Staff – Daryl Miller (athletic trainer), Cyrus Poitier (massage therapist), Jenn Gibson (Nutritionist), Fred Roberto (Chiropractor)

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