The fierce New Jersey rivalry between the Princeton and Rutgers wrestling programs is now going to be taken to the next level thanks to a historic event being dubbed, “Battle at the Birthplace.”
The event will take place at High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 19, via USA wrestling.
Festivities will kickoff at 11 a.m. ET, with Rutgers wrestling facing Princeton in the afternoon. Later in the evening, the Scarlet Knights football team will take the field for a clash with the Penn State Nittany Lions.
“We look forward to providing our fans, students and alumni a very special and unique double header on November 19th,” said Director of Athletics Patrick Hobbs in a statement. “Wrestling in the afternoon in front of what we hope will be a record crowd, combined with prime time Rutgers football that night. What could be better that that.”
“Being from New Jersey, I am so grateful to be a part of this event,” said Princeton head wrestling coach Chris Ayres. “This is not really about Rutgers or Princeton; this is about New Jersey wrestling and about our fans. I am excited for our fans to show that New Jersey has among the strongest, if not the strongest, wrestling following in the country. I can’t see a reason why we can’t break the record for the most fans at a wrestling event in New Jersey, and we will be prepared to put on a show. It only seems fitting that we do an event this monumental at the birthplace of college football, with the two teams that got it all started.”
Rutgers had just 17,464 in total attendance for the 2015-16 wrestling season, so they are hoping for a major boost on Nov. 19. If everything goes according to plan, they could shatter last season’s attendance with a single match.
“I’m really excited that the ‘Battle at the Birthplace’ will take place. We will always try to push the envelope and create an atmosphere that is special. This event provides not only Rutgers fans but the great fans of New Jersey an opportunity to see two programs with some talented wrestlers compete,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “For this to work, we will need the support of the whole state, the coaches on all levels, and the Rutgers and Princeton alumni to really jump on board. Both Chris Ayres and I see this is as a great opportunity to show off our programs on a national stage and that has the both of us excited.”
Rutgers finished last season as one of the top wrestling programs in the country, sending ten wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, finishing with two All-Americans.
In 2016, nine of the ten wrestlers with NCAA Championship experience return to the mat.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports