The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships closed out its three-day tournament Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.
“There’s nothing better than the best media market and one of the best arenas in the world for the best sport in the world,” said Maryland coach and former Penn State All-American and Olympic wrestler Kerry McCoy during the “Finals Preview Show.”
Growing up in Long Island and having competed at Madison Square Garden in both the Goodwill Games and the World Championships, McCoy said it is exciting that 330 other athletes can now say they competed on the “world’s greatest stage.”
“To be in New York, and to be at Madison Square Garden, it’s unbelievable,” McCoy said.
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More than 100,000 tickets were sold to this year’s national tournament.
“It was a big concern, bringing thousands of people from across the country into New York City, but it went off without a hitch,” McCoy said.
With the success of Penn State and teams such as N.C. State and Virginia Tech, there’s been a lot of talk about the momentum wrestling has in the Midwest expanding farther toward the east.
“The pendulum has definitely shifted toward the East Coast, obviously Penn State with what they’ve done — five out of the past six championships — you’ve got Virginia Tech hunting a trophy, N.C. State had a great dual meet season, and Cornell’s been in the hunt for a long time. But obviously Iowa, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, those programs aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “But there’s definitely a shift to the East Coast because a lot of the nation’s best high school wrestlers are on the East Coast.”
This year’s national championship tournament saw 63 qualifiers from Pennsylvania high schools.
So you really can’t really get more excited about wrestling than they do in Pennsylvania.
Former Penn State All-American Kerry McCoy
McCoy said when he moved from New York to Pennsylvania, “high school wrestling was on TV every weekend.”
“So you really can’t really get more excited about wrestling than they do in Pennsylvania,” he said.
Lauren Muthler is assistant news editor at the CDT