Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

From Thursday, February 8 to Sunday, February 11, four current BTSNY girls and one recent alum went to Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA to attend a USAW Developmental Camp. The following five athletes trained at the camp: Hailey Cancelleri (senior at Curtis High School), Nia Crosdale (senior at Truman High School), Natalie Dunn (sophomore at College of Staten Island High School), Alessandra Elliott (7th grader at Tottenville), and Katrin Pokalyukhin (freshman at Stevens Tech/recent Brooklyn Tech alumna).

This camp is one of several organized as requirements for the top three girls in the country at the cadet/junior age group. These camps are opportunities for girls who represent Team USA as national team members to strengthen their skills. National team member status is determined each year at the Women’s National Championships in Texas where the champion is crowned as the U.S. World team member, the runner up is the U.S. Pan Am team member, and the third place girl becomes an alternate. After qualifying for these teams, the girls are required to attend a series of camps that are hosted across the country with Olympic coaching staff. The purpose of these camps is to get the girls training together under one roof and understanding the system that the U.S. coaches want all representatives to be competent in.

Any spots not taken by national team members are open to girls who are willing to act as training partners and want to learn from these coaches. BTS girls were luckily able to snag spots in this camp, where they got the total package experience. The cold and snow didn't keep them restricted to only mat sessions in a gym. They enjoyed workouts in the snow, as well as classes on sports psychology and nutrition. They also got a campus tour.

Jacque Davis, Girls Development Director, was happy to see the NYC girls train together with girls from across the state and country. "Some of the younger girls came out of their shells and learned to have a little bit of confidence, while others who are more experienced learned to have a little bit of flexibility," said Davis.

“In the last five years of sending our girls to these camps, I have seen one consistent thing happen-- that is the complete shift in attitude upon returning to NYC," said Davis. Davis feels that these camps have been the defining factor in the success experienced by the highest performing BTSNY girls. "Girls with a lot of potential and low confidence come back understanding that they have a lot more to offer than what they give themselves credit for, and girls with high confidence but a slight lack of focus come back having seen the work ethic and focus of the number one girl in the country at their weight and they feel rejuvenated to get back at it," detailed Davis.

Natalie Dunn was initially intimidated by the camp, the distance from home, and not knowing many of the girls. "Once we got on the mats, that feeling went away," said Dunn. She said the camp exposed her to new techniques while also help build confidence with the techniques she already knew. "I went into the camp nervous and timid and walked out confident and a better wrestler,” said Dunn.

Two assistant national team coaches for USAW, Clarissa Chun and Emma Randall, had positive things to say about BTSNY girls. Emma Randall believes that top BTS athletes like "Hailey and Nia are not just top contenders in the city or state of New York, but in the nation." Randall emphasized the importance of sharing opportunities like these with athletes who have big goals in the sport so that they "can be around their biggest competition and a multitude of training partners to be motivated by, learn from, and push one another."  

Clarissa Chun, 2x Olympian, also commented on the value brought by and, in exchange, experiences by, the BTSNY girls. “The energy and enthusiasm that the girls from Beat the Streets bring to these development camps are infectious! The opportunities that the girls are exposed to allows them grow in many aspects of life on and off the mat,” said Chun. 

We are excited to see how the girls perform this season and can't wait to see the techniques they use at this weekend's PSAL Girls State Championships.

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: