Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

From Monday, July 10 to Friday, August 4, the PSAL Big Apple Games took place across all five boroughs, providing quality wrestling opportunities to boys and girls of all ages. The host sites were Benjamin Cardozo (Queens), Eagle Academy (Bronx), James Madison (Brooklyn), Tottenville (Staten Island), Petrides (Staten Island), and Seward Park (Manhattan). The coaches were Christopher Milani, Jonathan Khoury,  Steven Santimauro, John Cichon, David Olah, and Sean Coffin, respectively. Approximately 174 youth wrestlers attended at least one site every day, with approximately 20 kids per session.

From Monday through Thursday, Cardozo, Eagle, and James Madison provided two sessions a day, as well as breakfast and lunch provided by NYC School Food. Petrides and Tottenville had afternoon and evening sessions, respectively, allowing Staten Island to have two practices a day. Outside of daily evening practices, Seward Park provided weekly "Tuesday Night Duals" and "Friday Morning Matches." This provided mat time in a match setting—a valuable practice opportunity come when season competitions begin again in the school year. 

Ken Bigley, BTSNY Programming Consultant and PSAL Wrestling supervisor, was pleased that multiple sessions could be offered through all five boroughs, ensuring that summer break wouldn't put NYC youth wrestlers at a disadvantage.  Bigley was also pleased with the enthusiasm and work ethic of the participating student-athletes. "There were many student-athletes that really took advantage of the opportunity by training in their home borough during the morning and afternoon, and then heading in to Manhattan for the evening practice at Seward Park," said Bigley. 

Bigley added that the Tuesday Night Duals and Friday Morning Matches were "super," which led to some of our student-athletes getting in over twenty matches this summer. "There is no substitute for mat time, so the fact that many of our wrestlers got a full season's worth of matches really attests to the developmental opportunities afforded through the Big Apple Games," said Bigley. 

Guillermo Arango, senior at Gaynor Campus, was one of the wrestlers who took advantage of this summer opportunity. Arango described how wrestling is not just about working hard during the season, but also during the off-season "when no one is watching." Arango explained that while others are hanging out and otherwise not spending time towards wrestling, Big Apple Games participants were using the "great opportunity to work on wrestling." Arango noted that coaches had "tons of knowledge" to provide. “I truly believe hard work pays off," concluded Arango. 

Though this was Seward Park's first year as a Big Apple Games host site, Coach Sean Coffin, Head Coach of Seward Park, had glowing remarks about the summer. "This was Seward Park's first time hosting the Big Apple Games. It was a pleasure working with some of the hardest working young men and women in NYC," said Coffin.  Coffin added that "Big Apple Games was a tremendous opportunity for wrestlers to make new friends, learn more about wrestling, and grow as individuals." 

Due to popular demand during Big Apple Games, Beat the Streets is hosting summer training sessions this August. For all BTS wrestlers who want to hone their skills on the mat, Coach Bigley and Coach Gottfried will be holding practices on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5pm-7pm at Seward Park.

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: