On Monday, January 16, BTS partnered with Edge Hoboken to host the Hoboken Youth Tournament. 60 young BTS wrestlers, between fifth and eighth grades, showed up to compete.
Francis O'fori, an eighth grader from MS 129, and Eli Emery, an eighth grader from Harlem Jets, had a barnburner match in the 2:00 PM bracket. The coaches and fans were very excited watching the intense back and forth contest. Edwin Kent, an eighth grader from Harlem Jets, also had a great match with Carlos Guzman, a seventh grader from RKA. While Guzman ended up on top, both competed intensely.
Andrew Dos Santos, Junior League Coach at Inwood Academy, summarized the tournament as running “smoothly, maybe more so than other tournaments that we've attended.” Dos Santos further added that “The new system allows for kids to wrestle their matches and head home. The parents appreciated this."
The Hoboken Edge Youth Tournament was run as an experiment under the belief that low retention rates in wrestling are largely due to the length of tournaments. The tournament tested out a new system in which a wrestler's weight wrestled until completion in two hours. The wrestlers got three matches and was finished in their allotted time. The hope in creating this kind of system was to lead to increased parent participation.
BTS’ Coach Penn Gottfried, began by saying "I would like to thank Jeff Marsh, Coach at Edge Hoboken and BTS National Coordinator, and Ray Brinzer. Their ingenuity and creativity made this idea possible.”
Gottfried continued: “The way this event ended up made me hopeful and excited for the future of not only NYC wrestling, but youth wrestling in general. The whole goal of this tournament with the different format was to create more excitement and competition in a fun and efficient way. I think this goal was definitely accomplished. The feedback from parents, coaches and kids alike was positive and happy. I'm looking forward to using this format to enhance youth wrestling everywhere."
One of the young wrestlers, Wilver Mariano Peralta, an eighth grader from M.S. 129, expressed a takeaway that proved that the experiment was successful. “I wondered how my performance would be and I saw myself improve very much,” said Peralta. Peralta went on to say, “As the matches continued I realized all the hard and tough matches prepared me for this current moment and everything that happens in practice will be used in a match.”