Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 01:02 pm est

Wrestling tightens hold on New York City area

Posted on December 10, 2013 | by Sean Billings

via facebook.com

Until recently a stigma against inner-city wrestling has plagued the sport. But organizations have been working to improve its public image.

Where once a void existed in the youth sports department of the New York City area, organizations like Beat the Streets stepped up to the challenge of providing positive opportunities for kids from a young age through high school to become involved in a sport and compete at a high level.

“For a long time you had coaches in the city who were just collecting paychecks, now there has been a shift and people are really pushing to emphasize city wrestling,” said Mike Torriero, a coach at Beat the Streets, an organization started to revive the wrestling culture in and around the New York City area.

There has even been an increase in the coverage of wrestling in the city. The organization Gotham City Wrestling looks to be the authority on all things wrestling in the city, certainly a boost to the culture of wrestling in the city.

The increased attention on wrestling in New York City has occurred on nearly all levels. The college programs in the area including Columbia University, Hoftstra University, Hunter College and NYU have all gained prominence on the national level for their competitive programs.

Most recently, the second annual Grapple at the Garden took place, a college dual meet event that hosted some of the top college programs in the country including Cornell University and Illinois University, who are each currently in the top 10 in the country.

Events such as this bring the spotlight to New York City for wrestling, and officials of Madison Square Garden have gone as far to say they are looking to host the Division I NCAA Championships in the near future. And this past May, a huge international event was held at Grand Central Station, dubbed The Rumble on the Rails, where the United States squared off against two worthy opponents from Team Russia and Team Iran.

With such high-profile events on all levels, and with organizations looking to support the sport, New York can expect to become a hub for big-time wrestling in the near future.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Dec. 10 print edition. Sean Billings is a contributing writer. Email him at sports@nyunews.com.

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