Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

On Sunday, November 5, 50 BTSNY wrestlers headed to Princeton University to attend the NWCA All-Star Classic. This event presented an opportunity to visit an Ivy League university, learn from NCAA champions and Olympic gold-medalists, and watch elite collegiate wrestling. Additionally, BTS Boston and BTS Providence also attended the event. This allowed for a larger group of approximately 100 BTS kids to connect with each other. 

The student-athletes started the day with a campus tour led by Lenny Merkin, a BTSNY alum and current Princeton wrestler. Besides Princeton Stadium, they got to see one of oldest libraries in America and a building that was built and fought over during colonial times.  

After the tour, they participated in a clinic that was run by Olympic gold-medalists Brandon Slay, Helen Maroulis, and Kyle Snyder, as well as NCAA champion Joe Dubuque. During the clinic, the youth were split into different age groups. This allowed Dubuque, Maroulis, Slay, and Snyder to rotate every 30 minutes after teaching a skill they valued. The wrestling champions also gave advice on how to maintain mental toughness and motivation. 

After the clinic, the youth changed, had lunch, and hung out with their new BTS friends. They were soon seated for front row views of some of the finest collegiate wrestling in the country.  

“As an 8th grader, I was absolutely amazed," said Nathaly Pichardo, an 8th grader at Inwood Academy. Pichardo described how the visit opened her eyes to collegiate wrestling and the possibility of making wrestling a larger part of her life. She was also very impressed by the campus tour. "I might even attend Princeton University, but for now I’m just going work hard and keep my grades up,” said Pichardo. 

Daisy Bravo, a senior at Wingate High School, was also inspired by the wrestling, specifically the women’s wrestling. “[I got] a closer look at what women’s wrestling at the collegiate level looks like,” said Bravo.  “Today's experience was great for learning about academics and athletics,” added Bravo.  

Julius Whetstone, a senior at MLK, learned from the matches in a more technical way. "The Darian Cruz, Mark Hall, and Seth Gross matches showed me how important top/bottom is,” said Whetstone.  “The basics are what can give you the upper hand in matches, no matter who you wrestle." 

Many of the youth were happy to meet BTS wrestlers from other chapters. “It was amazing to see the diverse group that is interested in wrestling,” said Layla Dervisevic, a sophomore at Forest Hills High School.  

"The thing that I felt was really special was getting our BTS kids together to hang out and socialize with other BTS kids," said Coach Jacque Davis, Girls Development Director. Davis believes this event allowed youth to broaden their network and ultimately expand their knowledge. 

Steven Keith, BTS Providence Director, agreed. "We grew our wrestling family, both stronger and larger,” said Keith. Keith additionally believes that this kind of exposure “continues to paint the bigger picture for our kids” that wrestling can be used as a means for attending college and earning a degree. 

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: