Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

All photography by Jon Henrywww.JonHenryPhotography.com, IG: @whoisdamaster

The BTS 2017 Gotham City Girls Open Championship, sponsored by Cliff Keen Athletic and the PSAL, took place this past weekend at Columbia University’s Dodge Fitness Center from Saturday, April 22 through Sunday, April 23. Based on the state, national, and international accolades many of these girls have already collected, the Dodge Fitness Center was teeming with wrestling talent-- several National Champions, Pan Am competitors, World Team Champions, and All-Americans were competing! 

Nearly 400 girls came to compete, with 215 competing at the Junior level, 125 at the Cadet level, and 45 at the Kids I/Kids II.  Depending on their weight class, these youth, middle school, and high school wrestlers would have been born between 1997 and 2010 and weighed anywhere from 60 lbs to 255 lbs. This year's 385 competitors hailed from 19 different states and three countries.  

The following states participated: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Connecticut, Georgia, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Maine, Virginia, West VirginiaWashington, Ohio, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Kentucky and Massachusetts. All three countries that participated—Canada, Mexico, and the United Stated— had World Team members among their representatives. 

Cliff Keen gear, specifically made for 2017 Gotham, included t-shirts and backpacks. Gear sold steadily, being completely sold out by the end of the weekend. All Junior Finalists  were given “Finalist” singlets. The first 200 Juniors that checked in on competition day got the Cliff Keen Gotham City bag. Thank you, Cliff Keen! 

The following colleges sent representatives and coaches--Menlo College, Mckendree University, Emmanuel College, Adrian College, Life University, Bacone College, College of Mt. St. Vincent, Springfield Technical Community College, Lakehead University. The representatives did free raffles and talked to athletes mat side after matches to scout.  

Coach Jacque Davis, Head Girls Coach and organizer of this tournament, thanked everyone who participated and helped. She thanked the volunteers, the coaches, the NYC and NYS wrestling communities, Ken Bigley, FloArenaCliff Keen, PSAL, the parents, and the competitorsjust to name a few. 

Davis was immensely proud of the competitors.  She noted the ruthlessness some displayed by throwing opponents over their heads. "It's really cool to see the next generation of girls come through and be really gritty and fearless-- and even if you're not fearless, acting like you're fearless," said Davis in pure awe of this year's participants. 

She also appreciated the camaraderie girls exhibited, merely for being members of the larger women's wrestling community. Davis described how she saw girls from different states encouraging each other when they saw another one down.   

Davis concluded by "hoping to see you all again next year with a bigger international arena."