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NJDan

NCAAs in NYC?

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In one sense I am note sure this is a good idea b/c NYC is hardly wrestling country. (Trivia quiz: Name the only NY state champ to come from the five boroughs? Name one of America's best Olympic wrestlers who came from NYC?)

 

On the other hand, MSG did host the World Championships in 2003. There were good crowds. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal on the event.

 

From the Wall Street Journal

"The Other Wrestling"

New York

 

For years, he was invincible. In college at Iowa State, he won and won again, trashing records in his wake. On his way to four NCAA wrestling championships, he won 101 straight matches, breaking the record for consecutive wins set by the sport's icon Dan Gable. Then he kept going, winning another 58. His final record -- 159 victories, zero defeats -- made Cael Sanderson arguably the most successful college athlete in any sport ever.

 

But when Mr. Sanderson competed internationally after his 2002 graduation, something new happened: He lost, not often, but often enough to notice. Mr. Sanderson lost twice to Cuban world champion Yoel Romero and twice more to Russians. Each loss was by a single point, but still, there were pockmarks on the Mona Lisa. Prior to the World Freestyle Championships, the most important wrestling competition other than the Olympics, Mr. Sanderson was in an unusual position: underdog.

 

But the annual Worlds were held in the U.S. this past weekend -- at New York's Madison Square Garden. And Mr. Sanderson was still the main event. Whenever he stepped on the mat at the Garden, fans turned from other matches, and observers -- even Alexander Medved -- crowded around. Mr. Medved, who won three Olympic Gold Medals for the old Soviet Union, is considered the greatest wrestler of the modern era. His assessment: "He's a very talented boy. He's very powerful and has internal guts."

 

If Mr. Sanderson, 24, who wrestles at 85 kilograms (185 pounds) is the latest thing, Kerry McCoy is U.S. wrestling's touchstone. Mr. McCoy, a heavyweight, is the longest-serving member of the U.S. team and its unofficial spokesman. In eight years, Mr. McCoy, 29, had never won a world medal, though he had come close, placing fourth at the world championships in 1998 and in 2001. Indeed, the U.S. team had only one world medalist going into the championships, 163-pounder Joe Williams. Still, having missed last year's tournament, which was held in Iran, due to a security threat, and wrestling one day after the anniversary of 9/11, the team was confident of great things.

 

The first day promised just that. The U.S. men won 13 matches. The one loss was Mr. Williams's; he fell to Hadi Habibi of Iran 3-1 in overtime. Mr. Habibi, also 24, was a reminder that other countries have their Cael Sandersons, too. He had never wrestled in international competition, but he beat a reigning world champion just to make his national team.

 

The Iranian team itself won the team title on its home turf in 2002 and in New York was backed by passionate Iranian-American fans who occupied a small corner of the Garden, but who often accounted for half the noise. As one fan, Kayhan Sarab, a restaurateur from Great Neck, Long Island, explained, the entire Caspian Sea region is wrestling mad. In Iran it's not just the national sport; it is also deeply "spiritual." Before a match, Iranians show their devotion by kissing the mat or looking skyward. They figured to be tough competition for the U.S., as would the always-formidable Russian squad.

 

After the promise of the first day for the Americans, the wheels started to come off on day two. Jamil Williams lost by a technical fall to Serguei Pedroso of Cuba. Three more defeats were punctuated by displays of poor sportsmanship. First, at 60 kilograms (132 pounds), Eric Guerrero, wrestling in a tie match against Damir Zakhartdinov of Uzbekistan, twisted his opponent's knee, injuring him. While the hold was not illegal, the Uzbek was in obvious agony.

 

John Smith, Mr. Guerrero's coach and himself a former Olympic gold medalist, screamed at the referee, "He ain't hurt! Make him wrestle!" When the Uzbek did just that, he gained two points on a disputed call to win 5-3. Mr. Guerrero refused to stop his protest, and U.S. national coach Kevin Jackson had to push him from the mat.

 

Soon after, Daniel Cormier, coming off a spectacular pin a round earlier, faced Ali Reza Heidari, a world champion from Iran at 96 kilograms (211.5 pounds). Though Mr. Cormier was behind the whole way, he blamed Mr. Heidari, a former world champion, for stalling and violently shoved him after the match. "I made a big mistake," Mr. Cormier said later.

 

The U.S. still had Mr. McCoy and Mr. Sanderson wrestling for gold in the finals. Mr. Sanderson faced a Russian, Sajid Sajidov, age 23, who had beaten Mr. Romero en route. With the match tied at one, Mr. Sanderson attacked. Though he had a firm hold on the leg, Mr. Sajidov countered and threw him. The referees paused, apparently to consider whether to award the Russian one point or two.

 

This time the American got the benefit of the doubt: The referee awarded each wrestler two points, stunning the crowd into silence, and keeping the match tied. With 15 seconds remaining, the American tried another trademark ankle pick. Mr. Sajidov countered with an ankle pick of his own, to win 4-3. It was Russia's third gold medal of the night, out of a total of seven. (Little Uzbekistan, population 26 million, won two golds, part of a clean sweep by Russia and the former Soviet Republics; Georgia won the men's team title, followed by the U.S. and Iran. Japan won the women's tournament with five gold medals.)

 

In the heavyweight final, the sculpted Mr. McCoy was tied 1-1 with the equally chiseled Artur Taymazov of Uzbekistan. But just 12 seconds into overtime, Mr. McCoy lost his footing and found himself on his back and on the wrong side of a 4-1 score. He would have to settle for the silver medal and a chance to wrestle again next year at the Olympics in Athens.

 

Mr. Sanderson will in all likelihood be in Athens, too. A takedown short this weekend, for U.S. wrestling he remains the future. Mr. Sajidov and the Russian middleweights, though, are the world-beaters right now.

 

 

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Henry Wittenberg was the Olympic champ from New York City. While New York City isn't the traditional cradle of wrestling the Beat the Streets program has done a fantastic job of raising the participation and profile of wrestling in New York. Plus all the great events that have happened over the last few years. In addition the number of wrestling fans within an easily drivable radius means we should be able to sell out the Garden. Time to make a statement in the media capital of the world.

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I think its a great idea. You got NYC and Philly - home to the two most successful BTS Programs - right nearby. What else could you ask for - cities in their grassroots stages of wrestling development with a display of the best in the nation right in their backyard. Sure, NCAAs were in Philly a few years ago, but BTS Philly wasn't nearly as developed as it is now. I think this will be great not just for the NCAA and its display of wrestling, but for the development of youth wrestling in both of these cities. It will make reaching the next level seem much more plausible for these kids. Back when I was in Philly, any time we had clinics with college kids or the likes, it really inspired us to keep pushing so we could be in the room with them one day.

 

Of course, I am a bit biased in my viewpoint of the situation. I was hoping for Philly to get one of the spots, but BTS NYC supports wrestling more than anything I have ever seen. When I wrestled at the Gala back in '12, the atmosphere was amazing. I'm sure it will all turn out well.

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Fordham Prep is in the Bronx, not New York City. Therefore, Lenzi neither lives nor went to school in NYC.

 

Therefore, I think the correct answer is zero.

 

If you are talking five boroughs, it's a three that have been mentioned---Lenzi (Bronx), Radoncic (Bronx), and Sisti (SI)

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It depends on what he was asking...Technically, I always considered all five boroughs to fall under the umbrella of NYC.

 

If we are talking all five, than there are three champs; if we are talking NYC as in Manhattan, than it's zero. I took the OP's clarification above to mean he was talking only about Manhattan.

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I'm NYC born and raised and couldn't be prouder.

 

That said . . .

 

The significance of holding the NCAA's on the East Coast is, for us, once-in-a-lifetime.

 

Like, we measure NCAA's by when they were held out East . . .

 

So, out here, Princeton, NJ in '81 and Albany, NY '02 are super-duper special.

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I'm NYC born and raised and couldn't be prouder.

 

That said . . .

 

The significance of holding the NCAA's on the East Coast is, for us, once-in-a-lifetime.

 

Like, we measure NCAA's by when they were held out East . . .

 

So, out here, Princeton, NJ in '81 and Albany, NY '02 are super-duper special.

 

In my lifetime,

 

84: Meadowlands

87: Maryland

90: Maryland

94: North Carolina

98: Cleaveland State (This is out East to me)

99: Penn St.

02: Albany

11: Philly

 

It doesn't seem all that rare to me, although some of this would depend on your actual age. It was more common prior to this. It seems to me the biggest thing that has hurt Eastern locations is the move off campus, so arenas and such aren't putting in bids. If you want them press your case to your local sports commission.

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