Beat the Streets Wrestling took a team of thirteen boys to the Waterway Duals on Saturday, September 10 in Oxford, PA. This team competition held at the Oxford Area High School saw the BTS team hold their own against competitors from four different states.
Wrestler Steven Isaac praised the competitive lineup of the NYC team. “We had four Fargo All-Americans in our lineup, as well as very talented wrestlers such as John-Luke (Destefano), Daniel Bogie, myself and many others representing BTS.”
Coach Penn Gottfried said that the challenges faced by the New York City kids started as soon as they stepped on the scales. “We had all of our lightweights from 106 to 126 lbs bumped up a weight class,” Gottfried said. “They not only won, showing grit and toughness in wrestling bigger guys, but they also found ways to use their technique and speed to compensate for that difference in strength.”
Gottfried pointed to Terry Adams as proof: though small for his weight class, Adams pulled off some hard-fought victories through superior positioning and scoring when it really mattered. Adams even helped the team receive a “major” decision in the last couple of seconds of a match.
In dual meets, one can receive a “regular” decision for having up to a seven-point lead over their opponent, or a “major” decision, worth more team points, for leading by eight or more points. Your typical wrestler may decide to play defensively once they have that “regular” lead, but Adams pushed himself for the sake of his team and wrestled hard to the very end.
The BTS team ultimately received a 2-2 finish, with both losses coming down to close final matches. While this represents a fairly standard outcome for BTS, Coach Gottfried noticed that the energy, excitement, and skill of his wrestlers were higher than ever. Two of Beat the Streets’ top performers, Brandon Nunez and Jon-Luke Destefano, went 4-0 at the tournament. Other wrestlers Gottfried praised included Dove Bonjean-Alpart, Steven Isaac, and Jayson Gomez.
Because everyone in attendance was a part of one team and all rode in a single van, the team had plenty of time to bond off the mat. Serjey Thomas said that the tournament gave wrestlers a good understanding of how far they’ve come by training through the summer and how much work they still have to do.
“I am very proud of our team,” Coach Gottfried said. “From a wrestling standpoint, we wrestled through positions that I have previously seen us give up on. Whether a takedown was imminent or not, we fought it until the end.”
From his standpoint as a coach, Gottfried could see the energy and general cohesion of the team was greatly improved. “We are starting to understand that we can compete with every team we step out there against. With that new mindset, I'm excited for the future of Beat The Streets.”
The takeaway for wrestlers like Isaac is that this great performance is the work of good coaches and tough wrestlers. “Putting in work day in and day out is beginning to show how it pays off,” Isaac said, “NYC wrestling made a statement this weekend.”