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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Two Penn State greats will represent the United States in the 2017 Beat the Streets Benefit this Wednesday in New York City, battling Team Japan at 6 p.m. Both will be representing the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club (NLWC). Current Nittany Lion standout Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) and former great David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) will compete at 65 kg and 86 kg respectively.
Retherford, a junior, helped lead the Nittany Lion wrestlers to their sixth NCAA team title in the last seven years and second straight. His athletic accomplishments this year include: Named the 2017 Hodge Award as the nation’s top collegiate wrestler; named the NCAA’s Most Dominant Wrestler; earned his second straight NCAA individual national title (149); became a three-time All-American; was the 2017 NCAA Championship Outstanding Wrestler; became a two-time Big Ten Champion; was the 2017 Big Ten Championship Outstanding Wrestler; earned his second first team All-Big Ten selection. He was third in the 2017 U.S. Open at 65 kg/143 lbs., and also third at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Taylor, a 2014 Penn State graduate, won his second career U.S. Open title this season. He was a 2013 University World bronze medalist, and boasts international gold medals in events in Spain and France. He has a perfect 3-0 record in previous Beat the Streets Benefits, with wins over Livan Lopez of Cuba in 2015, Yabrail Hasanov of Azerbaijan in 2014 and Magomed Kurbanaliev of Russia in 2013. Taylor won two NCAA titles and two Dan Hodge Trophies and was a four-time NCAA finalist for Penn State. His opponent from Japan is Takahiro Murayama. Taylor helped guide Penn State to four straight NCAA titles between 2011 and 2014.
This year’s event takes place in Times Square/Duffy Square (47th Street and 7th Avenue) beginning at 3 p.m. with the BTS Youth Exhibition Matches. The NYC PSAL Girls Dual Meet Championship follows at 4:45 p.m. with Retherford, Taylor and the rest of Team USA taking on Team Japan at 6 p.m. The annual BTS Benefit Celebration follows the event at the Marriott Marquis at 8 p.m.
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTS works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to bring the life changing sport of wrestling to over 3,000 New York City student-athletes to help them achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTS and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of grit, personal responsibility and teamwork, physical fitness and nutrition, and life-long learning. The goal of fostering strong, well-rounded student-athletes is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, life skills workshops, and summer camps. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.