On Sunday, April 9, 50 BTSNY youth wrestlers participated in the South Plainfield Freestyle/Greco-Roman Developmental Tournament at the South Plainfield PAL Recreation Center. This co-ed tournament was a great opportunity for competitive training and development in two styles for a variety of ages, divisions, and weights. As USA Wrestling New Jersey described, "training and competitive situations will greatly improve your wrestling skills and knowledge. No matter what level of wrestling you are, no matter what your skills are, the key to success is constantly striving to learn more."
This mindset affected how the BTS student-athletes approached the tournament. "Everyone wrestled their butts off," said Penn Gottfried, BTS Junior League Director. Gottfried described how the younger middle school kids impressed him. Though none had ever wrestled in the Greco-Roman style before this tournament, the younger wrestlers embraced this weekend as a learning experience. They found ways to learn and become better wrestlers as they move forward.
Dave Olah, coach at Petrides High School in Staten Island, observed that there were a large number of wrestlers present, seeming to note the ever-growing NYC wrestling culture. "Between last week at Southampton and today at South Plainfield, it's no wonder why NYC wrestling continues its growth of success."
Jonathan Khoury, coach at Eagle Academy in the Bronx, felt that the tournament was "another brick cemented down." The tournament was a challenging learning experience. It required wrestlers to be willing to apply everything that was learned in order become better wrestlers in the future. According to Khoury, this will to improve was exhibited by all NYC athletes who participated in South Plainfield.
Considering that this was a middle school and high school tournament, the younger wrestlers also had a chance to talk and bond with the high school wrestlers during and after the tournament. These interactions are a vital aspect to building a strong wrestling culture and community.
This inclusive tournament, with learning as its central goal, was available to a wide range of youth wrestlers. This provided the opportunity for growth, either in terms of improving individual technique or strengthening bonds with a larger community.
Beat the Streets fully supports our youth wrestlers at similar future events!