Photo Credit: Geoffrey Riccio

Burroughs Keeps N.J. Roots Close As He Goes For Seventh World Championship

Being the most accomplished and among the best known American wrestlers of all time hasn't stopped Jordan Burroughs from staying near to his New Jersey roots and supporting causes that give back to the sport that he's meant so much to on the highest levels for more than 15 years.

Case in point: Saturday's Beat the Streets benefit matches at Prudential Center, which will also serve as the Final X competition to send 30 U.S. athletes to the 2023 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. It's familiar territory for the Sicklerville native, who has six shiny World gold medals to go along with his 2012 London Olympics freestyle gold.

For Burroughs, Beat the Streets is more than an event--it's home. He's competing for the 11th time in the 13 year history of the showcase, which this year adds the Pru to a litany of classic--and sometimes not so traditional--venues that includes Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Madison Square Garden, the U.S.S. Intrepid and South Street Terminal in New York City. It crosses the Hudson for the first time with sessions starting at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Burroughs couldn't be more excited to be one of its featured participants.

"Beat the Streets has been an integral part of my development as an athlete," he said in a press availability last week. "I was on the cutting edge of when this organization started so I remember being at the grassroots level of its first events and paralleling that with their growth in what they're doing in the inner city."

The Beat the Streets benefit annually raises $1,000,000 for the organization, and with Burroughs having been such an integral part of these events, his presences has been an important reason why the organization is able to do its work supporting local local youth wrestling programs which empower young people in New York City.

Saturday will also mark a homecoming of sorts for the University of Nebraska graduate, now back training in Pennsylvania with at least one more Worlds and the 2024 Olympics looming, particularly following the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2020 games.

"It's not a Beat the Streets Benefit event unless Jordan is involved," quipped Brendan Buckley, BTS executive director. "Obviously, he's somebody that with the wrestling talent and stardom and success that he's had, equally, if not more important, is the kind of role model he is.

"It's important for our kids to see a path, if they make the right decisions, what's possible for them," added Buckley.

Burroughs is particularly gratified that this year's venue, not just that it's in his home state, but that it will allow more fans of the sport to see him and the other 59 competitors that represent the best American wrestling has to offer in men's and women's freestyle and men's Greco-Roman styles.

"It's special. I think the last time I wrestled in New Jersey in a real competition was in 2008, it was my sophomore year of college," Burroughs recalled. "I wrestled Don Fisch at Rider University. So it's been almost 15 years that I've been able to wrestle in New Jersey. We've been really close, we've been in New York City at times, but we haven't been in Jersey."

Being back on the East Coast has also meant being near family for the husband and father of four.

"I got a chance to go back to the New Jersey High School state tournament, started a club in South Jersey," he added. "I'm implementing a level of influence in this area. So to be in Jersey is going to be an awesome opportunity for people to come watch me that haven't had the chance to see me compete.

"I love the fact that it's non-exclusive, whereas in the past Beat the Streets tickets have been hard to come by, places that were harder to access if you're a fan, being in a big arena is going to change the game for us."

Burroughs will take on Chance Marsteler, who lives and trains in Hoboken, in an all-Jersey matchup at 79 kg. Match one of the best of three will take place during the 2 p.m. first session, while matches two and three (if necessary) will be featured during the 6 p.m. session.

Among the other Olympic medalists competing on Saturday are David Taylor, Kyle Dake, Kyle Snyder, Sarah Hildebrandt, Adeline Gray and Thomas Gilman. Fans who can't attend in person can watch the action on FloSports.

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