Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

From Saturday, July 29 to Wednesday, August 2, 118 BTSNY youth wrestlers made the trip to Camp Maple Lake in Forksville, Pennsylvania for Cornell Coach Rob Koll's C Brand Competition and Technique Camp. For kids who met their 5 and 5 requirements this past year, five Life Skills Workshops and five volunteer service hours, Cornell Camp was an opportunity to be exposed to some of the best coaching in the nation while having fun. 

Assistant Cornell Coaches Damion Hahn and Mike Grey, Head Coach Rob Koll, NYRTC Greco Coach and former Olympian Ahad Javansalehi, and multiple Cornell wrestlers worked together to provide this unique experience. Youth wrestlers were able to learn new techniques and drills, as well as gain insight to how top-caliber wrestlers train and think. This included hearing Coach Hahn talk about the mental edge of wrestling.

Youth wrestlers were also exposed to perspectives they might otherwise not have learned about. For example, Coach Javansalehi spoke about his hardships during the Iran-Iraq war and how he overcame them. This led to a discussion of how thankful each and every kid should be for what they have and where they live. 
Additionally, McZiggy Richards, BTSNY alum and current Cornell wrestler, told his story. When he was 16, Richards arrived to the U.S. from St. Vincent with no money or schooling. He emphasized that perseverance got him to where he is todayHe also stressed how past mistakes, such as not taking school seriously, followed him throughout his life. Part of Richards' message was to communicate that school must also be taken seriously because what is done presently will affect the future. "Make sure you are always looking ahead," said Coach Penn Gottfried, Junior League Director. 

Sulayman Bah, incoming 7th grader at M.S. 129, felt camp was a great experience because he was he was able to see college wrestlers.  While talking about camp highlights, Bah mentioned the stories of Ziggy and Ahad, as well as being made to work "at our very best, which is good for us." He also really enjoyed the focus on conditioning, not just technique, 
Shabab Khan, incoming Hunter College freshman and wrestler, "felt great to be around and wrestling such high caliber wrestlers." He felt this experience was timely since he himself is getting ready to wrestle in college.  

The lake, pool, gaming area, and general bunk atmosphere made this a unique camp for the kids, especially considering that many had never before kayaked or fished. Gottfried noted that the first timers had a great time experiencing the outdoors. He made a special note of Vakromogo Doss who managed to catch over seven fish. 

Gottfried generally loved this camp because it demonstrated how fun wrestling can be. "Wrestling is such a hard and grueling sport, the fun of it can easily be lost in the sweat and practices," explained Gottfried. Adding other activities, such as swimming and kayaking, seemed to really add a fresh perspective for a lot of the participants! 

"Coupling wrestling with these fun activities really gave the camp a refreshing and fun atmosphere," concluded Gottfried. 

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: