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Prudential Center To Host Inaugural College Wrestling Event

Prudential Center To Host Inaugural College Wrestling Event

(NEWARK, NJ) -- Prudential Center in Newark announced the launch of “Garden State Grapple, presented by Spartan Combat,” the venue’s inaugural college wrestling event. This dual meet event will feature two Big Ten Conference teams, Rutgers and Wisconsin, each taking on North Carolina (ACC) and Hofstra (EIWA) in separate matches on Saturday, November 27, 2021, beginning at 5:30pm.

This event will feature seven returning NCAA All-Americans, including John Poznanski, Sebastian Rivera, and Jackson Turley from Rutgers, Eric Barnett and Trent Hillger from Wisconsin, and Zach Sherman and Austin O’Connor from North Carolina. Returning NCAA Tournament qualifiers include Sammy Alvarez, Greg Bulsak, Billy Janzer, John Poznanski, Sebastian Rivera, Jackson Turley, and Michael VanBrill from Rutgers; Greg Gaxiola, Holden Heller, Ricky Stamm, Charles Small, Trey Rogers and Zachary Knighton-Ward from Hofstra;  Eric Barnett, Kyle Burwick, Andrew McNally, Chris Weiler, and Trent Hillger from Wisconsin, and Jaime Hernandez, Kizhan Clarke, and Max Shaw from North Carolina. 

“We’re extremely excited to compete in this inaugural event right in our backyard at the Prudential Center,” said Scott Goodale, Rutgers Wrestling Head Coach.“The Garden State Grapple is another example of the wrestling community’s commitment to grow the sport, and we need more events like this right here in Jersey. We cannot wait for the opportunity to wrestle in front of all our fans at The Rock. It will be an incredible atmosphere.” 

“We have worked with this organizing committee before and they run top-notch events,” said Dennis Papadatos, Hofstra Wrestling Head Coach. “To have an opportunity to stay close to home, compete in the Prudential Center, and wrestle against two top Big 10 opponents is something we are looking forward to. Our guys are excited to compete at what is shaping up to be a marquee event on the college wrestling calendar.”

“Our team is extremely grateful for the opportunity to come east and wrestle in the Garden State Grapple,” said Chris Bono, Wisconsin Wrestling Head Coach.“To be able to wrestle at Prudential Center against two great opponents is something we could not pass up. We appreciate all the hard work by the organizing committee and can’t wait to compete.”

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We are excited to compete in the Garden State Grapple,” said Coleman Scott, North Carolina Wrestling Head Coach. “We have two very quality Big Ten opponents over the weekend and we are looking forward to the task at hand.”

"Spartan Combat is extremely excited to sign on as the Presenting Partner for the inaugural Garden State Grapple event, becoming a part of something special which will continue to grow each year,” said Joe De Sena, Founder and CEO of Spartan Combat. “A platform to showcase some of the best college wrestlers in the country is not only beneficial to the fans, but the entire sport of wrestling.  A venue such as Prudential Center gives this event instant credibility and provides these student-athletes a tremendous stage to display their talents." 

“On the heels of a tremendous performance by USA Wrestling in the 2021 World Championships, it is with great excitement we announce the inaugural ‘Garden State Grapple’ - an event to celebrate humankind’s original form of recreational combat,” said Dylan Wanagiel, Vice President of Sports Properties & Special Events at Prudential Center. “Since we are a few miles from the nationally-ranked program at Rutgers, naturally our initial foray begins with special thanks to Coach Goodale for his vision to grow the sport – as well as Coach Scott, Coach Bono, Coach Papadatos, and their respective staffs for all agreeing to such challenging dual meets. We welcome Spartan Combat as our marketing partner, to help us grow this platform. We look forward to announcing additional wrestling attractions in the coming weeks.”   

Tickets for “Garden State Grapple, presented by Spartan Combat” start at $25.00, and are now available at the Prudential Center box office, and at TicketMaster.com.  

The current event schedule is below, and future updates can be viewed here.

Mat 1                                                              Mat 2                                                           Mat 3

5:30pm – Wisconsin vs. UNC                     Rutgers vs. Hofstra                                 To Be Announced

7:30pm – Wisconsin vs Hofstra                  Rutgers vs. UNC                                     To Be Announced            


Prudential Center remains committed to ensuring the safety of all fans; for information on current safety protocols, expectations, guest experience, and the Prudential Center Pledge, go to PruCenter.com/Safety.

Prudential Center is the world-class sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Opened in October 2007, the state-of-the-art arena is the home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) three-time Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall University’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball program, and more than 175 concerts, family shows and special events each year. The arena is also home to the GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center, which opened its doors to the public in October 2017. The 8,200-square-foot experience marks the first GRAMMY Museum outpost on the East Coast and features a dynamic combination of educational programming and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a spotlight on legendary GRAMMY winners from New Jersey. Ranked in the Top 8 nationally by Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today, Prudential Center is recognized as one of the premier venues in the United States and hosts over 2 million guests annually. 

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originally published: 10/15/2021

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