Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling


BTSNY boys and girls traveled to Virginia Beach and Oklahoma City, respectively, to wrestle against some of their best peers from across the nation. 

From Thursday, March 23 to Sunday, March 26, nine BTSNY student-wrestlers competed in the NHSCA Nationals at Virginia Beach.  Fierce competitors hailed from almost every state. To mellow this effect, the three-day duration of the tournament allowed participants to have fun on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. 

This year's BTSNY participants were Demitreus Henry (junior, Grant Street Campus), Jayden Cardenas (freshman, Monsignor Farrell), Jack Reusing (freshman, Monsignor Farell)Odean Gray (junior, Grand Street Campus)Abimael Luperon (junior, Grand Street Campus), Jayson Gomez (junior, Eagle Academy), Dylan Nerich (junior, W.C. Bryant), Victor Marzano (junior, Poly Prep), and Deshawn Herbert (sophomore, St. Benedicts).  

"This trip is one of my favorites because it hits all of the bases--great wrestling experience, great team bonding, and a heck of a lot of fun," began Gottfried. "On the wrestling side, I continue to see glimpses of amazing wrestling. As the glimpses become more frequent, our kids will learn to put that together for a full match." 

Odean Gray, a junior at Grand Street,  took this tournament as a motivational experience. Gray described this official end to his folkstyle season as having "exposed what I need to work on and what I need to do to get to the next level." 

"Despite the outcome of the tournament, Virginia Beach brought me closer to my friends and coaches and makes me proud to be a part of the BTS family,said Jayson Gomez, a junior at Eagle Academy.  

Coach Penn Gottfried, BTSNY Training Center coach, and the athletes had to raise all the necessary funds to make this trip possible. "They did a terrific job working hard to fund the trip and the people who donated came through," said Gottfried.  

BTSNY, Coach Gottfried, and the student-athletes would like to thank the following for their donations: MaryEllen Sweeney, Stefan Pryce, Lizie Lopez, Rodrigo Espinosa, Marco Castro, American Casting Co-Workers, Peter Maiwald, Andy Nipon, Thomas Ramos, Janilette Mangual, Tim Reusing, Zuleima Rivera, Darysabel Pantoja, Roberto Velez, Rocio ArangoGriselis Figueroa, Jim Meola, Nestor Cardenas, Dawit BerhanuConor Sweeney, Richard Langsam, Brandon Nunez, Mike Savin, Greg Scott, Ronin Barro, Ron Gottfried, Miriam Hodara, and Bette Gottfried. 

Coach Jacque Davis, BTS Head Girls Coach, accompanied seven girls to the Oklahoma City Girls Folkstyle Nationals, which took place from March 22, 2017 to March 26, 2017. This was the fourth year that BTS traveled to this event.  

BTSNY's participants this year were Maria Soto (junior, AP Randolph), Pearl Fletcher (senior, Truman High School), Chloe Cabrera (freshman, Truman High School), Katherine Tenempaguay (junior, Susan Wagner), Elizaveta Vedernikova (Edward R. Murrow High School), Nia Crosdale (junior, Truman High School), Hailey Cancelleri (junior, Curtis High School). 

Davis recounted the growth she's seen of the event itself and the girls who wrestle in it. "In a span of one year, this tournament has moved to a larger venue, it added more mats, and the total number of participants nearly doubled," Davis began. "This is incredibly exciting on a national level and also exponentially more difficult for the girls that are competing." 

Though the girls didn't place, Davis wanted to emphasize the difficulty of the matches and how impressive the performances were, nonetheless.  

Pearl Fletcher, senior at Truman High School, had a 4-2 record and lost in the round to All-American. Hailey Cancelleri, a junior from Curtis High School who had a 2-2 record, also lost in the All-American round. Fletcher had 42 girls in her 64 man bracket and Cancelleri had 31 girls in her 32 man bracket. 

Fletcher echoed Davis’ statements regarding the growth of the event “whether it's the wrestlers, the number of teams or plainly the Grit of each wrestler.” She added that she’s come to realize that “the sport is just growing at a faster pace and the brackets are only getting tougher.” 

Fletcher also saw growth in the New York wrestlers, saying “We wrestled harder than we've ever wrestled before and pushed through each loss. Team New York always sticks together as a team and bring each other up.” In terms of her own growth, Fletcher said that “This sport has really taught me mental toughness and that anything can happen at any given time--you just have to be on your toes and be ready.” 

She said that she still had fun despite not having the desired outcome, especially considering this was her last year at Oklahoma Nationals. “Though it initially hurt to be so close to placing and still come up short, I reminded myself that I’ve worked extremely hard and achieved a whole lot from where I started,” concluded Fletcher.  

Coach Davis described this event as one of the worst travel experience she's had. Davis listed everything that went wrong and really made the experience sound like a bona fide example of Muphy's Law-- flight delays, missed connections, unexpectedly being stranded in Atlanta, hotel cancellations, temporarily missing bags, collapsed tournament software, tournament delays, and the one cadet girl [Cabrera] being scheduled to miss the weigh in for her event! Truly, anything that could have gone wrong, did in fact go wrong. 

Interestingly, Coach Davis had a meeting with the girls before departing for the trip. The meeting encompassed all the details regarding the trip and potential contingency plans. "But no matter how hard we plan," said Coach Davis, "things will always go awry and ultimately, we just have to be prepared to be unprepared." 

Commendably, the girls didn't allow the experience to become an excuse for whether or not they placed. As Coach Davis said, "They exhibited maturity during travel that wasn't ideal; They showed a high level of team camaraderie that was matched by no other team; I watched each and every single girl wrestle as if it was her last match of her career."  

"No one stopped, no one quit, no one made excuses."  

Additionally, both groups had college fairs built into their time at the tournaments. The fairs included representatives from various colleges across the nation. In Oklahoma City, several colleges were represented, such as McKendreeOklahoma City College, and Adrian College, as well as organizations such as Wrestle Like a Girl.  

The wrestlers at both fairs were able to walk around the and receive pamphlets directly from the  each coach. The wrestlers were able to ask the coaches about areas of study that the colleges offered, what was unique about the school's program, and what the college and coach were looking for in student-athletes. Gottfried recounted how this experience allowed the kids to become more comfortable when talking to college coaches and generally become more informed about the different programs at twenty-plus colleges, ranging from the Northeast to Midwest, across multiple divisions.  

Davis described how coaches spoke to and even provided recruitment information to several girls after watching their performances. "Now these coaches have their eyes on New York as a place to find hardworking girls who have grit," said Davis. 

Though neither the boys or girls performed as well as they would have liked, this was still a successful weekend. The BTSNY wrestlers learned a lot from their experiences this weekend in terms of mental toughness and how they would like to improve. They had bonding experiences with their BTSNY family and looked to the future as they spoke to college coaches. 

All the NHSCA Nationals results are here.  

Beat the Streets Wrestling is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you would like to support our mission to improve the lives and futures of New York City public school students by giving them the opportunity to wrestle, please click the donate button below: