On May 20, around fifty wrestlers came to The BTS Brooklyn Training Center at Poly Prep Country Day School for the first-ever Beat the Streets College Combine, an event to help connect college-bound wrestlers to schools that may help them pursue higher education. Of that number of wrestlers, about forty of them were Beat the Streets members, with the remainder being from outside of New York City.
The Combine included a Clinic put on by Iowa All-American and former United States National Team Member Ray Brinzer. Additionally, there was a practice hosted by Adam Hall, All-American and Assistant Coach at NC State, one of the best programs in the country. At the end there was a question and answer session with the college coaches and the athletes. The coaches each introduced themselves and explained a little bit about their program, but after that the discussion was led mostly by questions from the kids themselves. Following the Q&A, the athletes were given the opportunity to speak to the coaches personally and ask them anything about the college experience, ranging from what day-to-day life is like to how practices are structured.
“Overall, I think the athletes got a lot out of the event,” said Beat the Streets Coach Penn Gottfried. Gottfried also said that his favorite part of the event was the Q&A with the coaches, which emphasized the importance of academics. “While it was a wrestling event, I think that they realized the academic dedication it takes to wrestle in college. All of the coaches introduced their colleges from an academic perspective and explained that their academics are imperative to any success they want to get on the mat.”
"It was definitely beneficial for our program individually, and it provided a great intro to college wrestling for the young student athletes involved,” said Justin Ensign, a coach from University of Central Missouri. “I look forward to following the progress for all of the athletes who participated in the event."
According to Coach Jeff Marsh of Stevens Tech and the Edge School of Wrestling, events such as the Combine are part of keeping wrestling growing in the future. "The sport of wrestling is changing. It has always been an all-inclusive sport, albeit lacking a bit of refinement,” said Marsh. “Beat the Streets NYC is expanding on those opportunities exponentially. Not only giving kids the chance to learn from wrestling, but for wrestling to open doors to higher education."
Beat the Streets wants to thank Reebok for donating shirts, bags, and water bottles. Each donated shirt given to a wrestler had a number on the back – this number corresponded to the same number in a booklet that the college coaches had which also listed the wrestler’s academic, athletic, and contact information in it. This helped to make it easy to match a wrestlers’ vital information and faces. Beat the Streets will continue offering this event going forward. We hope that our student-athletes continue to take full advantage of opportunities to plan their future academic careers.