45 BTSNY boys participated in the Beat the Streets College Combine, which took place on Friday, May 19 at the Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. The Combine had two wrestling sessions and two short discussion sessions. 

Coach Penn Gottfried, Junior League Director, ran this event specifically with BTS' two major goals in mind-- providing youth wrestlers with opportunities to access their academic and wrestling potential. "This Combine aims to directly push our kids towards both goals," said Gottfried. He continued to describe how he "could see the wheels start to turn as the kids were realizing the potential opportunities for their future." 

Prior to the Combine, each wrestler had filled out a form with all of their academic, athletic and contact information. With this information, each wrestler had a page in a booklet that was given to the coaches. Each page had a number on it that corresponded to the Cliff Keen T-shirts that youth were wearing. This allowed a coach to easily identify a student-athlete and find out more about him. The student-athletes also received a booklet with each colleges' profile. 
 
The first wrestling session was run by Coach Dean Zenie of Mount Saint Vincent. Zenie went through a warm-up, drill and technique focusing on his arm-drag series. This was followed by a short break where the coaches discussed their college from an academic, athletic and social standpointIn the second session of wrestlingCoach Joe Favia put the kids through a grueling 45 minutes of live situational wrestling. After this session, the coaches had a question and answer session, where the wrestlers were overflowing with meaningful and thoughtful questionsThe student-athletes then had a chance to mingle one-on-one with the coaches for a few more personalized conversations. 

Yusif Noori, a junior from RFK High School, enjoyed the College Combine and felt like he learned what it takes to be a college wrestler.  "The coaches who vocalized their experience with wrestling taught me that the sport takes a lot out of you mentally and physically, especially while juggling your academics," said Noori. Noori said that the coaches emphasized how the rewards for persevering through difficult times include the experiences gained and the people met.  

Steve Santos, Assistant Coach at Columbia University, attended the Combine and was impressed with what he saw "in our own backyard."  He observed what the BTS wrestlers are capable of and enjoyed having conversations with them, which included answering questions about Columbia and collegiate wrestling.  "There was awesome energy and a lot of passion from the wrestlers," described Santos. He excitedly added that he "might have seen some future Lions in the room!"  

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