Beat the Streets Wrestling is grateful to have the support of those who graduate from high school and still find the time to come back and share what they’ve learned with a new generation of kids. Two exemplary alumni and supporters of Beat the Streets, Josh Antoine and Deuly Espinal, show that the discipline instilled by the sport of wrestling carries over to many other facets of life.
Both Antoine and Espinal, alumni of Grand Street High School in Brooklyn, are now at Nassau Community College where they both won conference championship titles this year. They went on to compete at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and both earned All-American honors. Reaching that high level of performance was no easy task. Antoine practiced six days a week and would work out after each practice.
“I figured that if I worked hard now it would pay off at the end of the season,” Antoine said.
The air at the NJCAAs was full of excitement. Espinal says he not only had a great time competing, but also enjoyed bonding with his teammates. Antoine notes that everyone had worked all season to get there, “and it was time to make it happen or regret it.”
Antoine climbed back from a rough start to secure an eighth place finish. Espinal wrestled to the best of his ability and secured fifth place in his weight class.
Part of what brought them to this level was practicing at Beat the Streets in high school, attending our Manhattan Training Center after their school practices during the season.
“I learned a variety of techniques that I use in my style of wrestling,” Espinal said. “I also got good competition because all of the top kids in the city wrestled there as well. We all traveled and wrestled together. We were a family.”
When they’re not performing at the top of their wrestling classes, they like to give back to other kids who are involved in the sport of wrestling too. Working as camp counselors, the BTS Top of the Podium summer camp was the perfect place for them to share what they had learned.
“When I was in high school, I attended the same camp,” Antoine said. “I was able to learn from all of the different coaches throughout the city and it helped make me a better wrestler...I wanted to help make the upcoming generation a little bit better.”
“I wanted to give back to the organization which gave me so much,” Espinal added. “I really enjoy working with the kids and helping to ensure they have a great camp experience and get something valuable out of it.”
During the four-day camp, Antoine and Espinal were able to show different wrestling styles to the youths and pass on to these up-and-coming grapplers what had worked for them. “I feel like it’s my duty to help give back any way I can,” Antoine said.
When it comes to sharing lessons with the young wrestlers of the city, Espinal tells them to never give up. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he urges: “Be consistent, work hard, be confident in your ability, and have fun in the process... I don't get anything without working for it. If I can do it, so can anyone from NYC!”
Antoine is set to receive his associate’s degree in physical education this May. Espinal will be graduating with an associate’s degree in business administration and a concentration in accounting. We here at Beat the Streets are proud of everything that they have done and are confident that they will keep finding ways to give back to the kids and share the gift of wrestling with the rising generation.