The boys are back in town, and with accolades to show for their hard work. Beat the Streets helped send 22 boys to the Asics/Vaughan Cadet & Junior National Championships in Fargo, ND. An account of the success of the 31 girls who also attended was published last Friday.
In the Cadet Greco-Roman division, Dove Bonjean Alpart from Poly Prep took 5th place in the 106 lb weight class. In the Cadet Freestyle competition, Terry Adams from Monsignor Farrell placed 8th at 100 lbs, and Jayson Gomez from Eagle Academy took 7th at 285 lbs.
Lenny Merkin of Poly Prep came in 2nd in the Junior Greco-Roman 152 lbs division. He has previously received All-American honors, placing 5th in the 145 lbs Junior division at the 2015 Fargo competition.
Brandon Nunez of John Bowne received double All-American honors, placing 3rd in the Junior Greco-Roman division at 100 lbs and 5th in Junior Freestyle at 100 lbs. This was his second year receiving All-American honors, having placed 4th in Cadet Greco-Roman last year. Nunez enjoyed having the opportunity to meet people from across New York state and have fun in the process. “The competition is great,” Nunez said on the bus ride home. Comparing this year to his previous run, “I felt more accomplished because I placed higher in Greco than last year and also placed in Freestyle this year. My coaches and I put in the extra time and hard work helped me prepare for this level of competition.”
A veteran of Fargo, there wasn’t much that could surprise Nunez at this year’s competition. For other kids who want to compete at the national level, he says that they will have to work for what they want. “Nothing comes easy, and this tournament is one of the hardest for my age level. If they want to come to Fargo, they will have to earn it.” At the same time, Nunez also wants to stress that the tournament is a lot of fun and a great trip!
Other boys from New York state placed highly, as well. New Yorker Kevin Parker received double All-American honors with a 2nd in Junior Freestyle and a 6th in Junior Greco-Roman, both at 182 lbs. Other All-Americans included Greg Diakomihalis, Dylan Ryder, Adam Busiello, and Kiernan Shanahan. Jake Logan and Tyler Barnes went double All-American in their respective Cadet Freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions. Frankie Gissander and Jacori Teemer were champions in the 152 lb and 132 lb Cadet Freestyle divisions, respectively.
BTS coach Penn Gottfried was pleased to see such outstanding results during his first trip to Fargo. “It was great seeing Team New York coming together and working for a common goal,” Gottfried said. “Every section contributed...the kids had a wide array of responses, from first-timers to veterans who knew what to do and weren’t shocked and awed by the gravity of the situation. They weren’t really shell-shocked.”
One of the lessons Gottfried hopes to bring back to BTS is that city kids should see themselves as worthy of competition at the highest levels. “When we go to states or even wrestle kids from California, we have to remember that we can compete. We have to bring that competitive mindset, that we can wrestle at the top, back to Beat the Streets.”