The same day Olympians were duking it out in Rio for the gold, New York City kids put their summer’s worth of practice to use at the Big Apple Games Tournament. The all-day tournament was held at the Novogratz Center for Athletics at Poly Prep High School in Brooklyn on Thursday, August 18 and had roughly sixty NYC youth participate.
The tournament was conducted in the dual meet style where teams face off against one another and strive to win by attaining the most points from all of their individual matches. Kids could sign up as a team, or individuals could arrive and be placed on a team with other single wrestlers.
“Honestly, it was a blast,” said BTS head girls’ coach Jacque Davis. “It was good to see this many kids turn out for a competition during the summer off-season. There were some really good matchups between some of the top competitors in the city.”
Davis’ favorite part of the tournament was seeing the kids, who were paired on teams with relative strangers, immediately begin treating one another as valued teammates. “They were cheering each other on, regardless of their ages, genders, and boroughs. I loved seeing them immediately start acting as a team.”
BTS coach Penn Gottfried also thought it was a great event. “The kids showed how they worked hard during the summer and I think the dual meet atmosphere was really exciting,” Gottfried said. “I’m looking forward to them showing it off again by taking on out-of-city kids soon.” We are taking some of our kids to the Waterway Duals in Oxford, PA in September and the Columbus Day Duals in York, PA in October.
“I liked the competition,” said Amanda Bonnano, a senior at Port Richmond. “The weight classes were changed so it was more of a challenge and it helped improve my wrestling. It was nice watching my teammate wrestle and win his match in the third period. He was really doubting himself in the beginning because he’s new to wrestling.”
Dual meet tournaments are a rarity for NYC wrestlers outside of the elite level. There were also plenty of coaches who worked at the Big Apple Games practices in attendance to cheer on the kids they have coached in recent weeks. It was great to see so many people come out to compete and support the cause of city wrestling.