On Sunday, December 4, around 40 Beat the Streets kids took to the Long Beach Gladiator Youth Tournament. Not only did BTS student-athletes compete in this co-ed event, but they medaled in almost every weight class in which they wrestled.
“When wrestling out of the city, some of our kids can get a little phased or overwhelmed since they are usually wrestling more experienced kids that have already been wrestling for years by now,” said BTS coach Penn Gottfried.
But that was not the case at Long Beach.
“By having the success that they did, our kids showed that they aren't just going to these competitions to get some matches in, they are going to win. With their improved skill and technique, this is a very probable outcome.”
Coach Steve Santimauro of Cunningham said that it was a diverse tournament in terms of size and skill. “Everybody had a chance to get some good work in. Beat The Streets did great overall. I'm very proud of my Cunningham boys for snagging 2 gold, 2 silver and a bronze medal.”
Coaches from Eagle, M.S.129, Cunningham, Elite Academy, Harlem Jets, and RKA all came and coached their kids, showing their investment in the programs and the future of city wrestling. Many of these coaches are also teachers who work full weeks, “so to see them giving up a whole Sunday to better their kids is amazing,” said Gottfried.
“It was a fun experience that I should learn a lot from,” said Jonathan Forte, a 7th grader who is currently home-schooled but trains at Eagle Academy.
Timur Yuldashev, an 8th grader from Cunningham, shared the lesson he took away from the tournament: “Never give up!”