Throughout July, Beat the Streets funded trips for over 300 New York City wrestlers to summer camps across the country. These young student-athletes enjoyed learning new wrestling techniques, training and drilling methods, tips about the college application process, and making new friends in the wrestling world in locations such as Princeton, Cornell, and Penn State.
Roger Palacios, a senior at Curtis High School, attended the BTS Top of the Podium Camp at the Sullivan County Community College. “I learned valuable life skills such as nutrition and college information, and a pretty cool sweep single,” he said, reflecting the balance of wrestling and general education that takes place at a BTS TOP Camp. “The experience impacted me. I was inspired by all the coaches and learning the true dedication that is needed to be a wrestler. It was a cool experience to live at a college campus for four days.”
Gustavo Arismendi, a senior at Long Island City High School, also attended the BTS TOP Camp and greatly enjoyed the experience. “I learned how important it is to be humble towards your opponents and to have good sportsmanship,” he said. “I was surprised at how many activities they had over at the camp. There was time for wrestling sessions, and then we would have life skills classes and sometimes recreation time.” Additionally, Arismendi wanted to give a shout-out to all of the coaches at the camp, “for not only helping me to become a better wrestler, but to emphasize how important it is to have a strong will to strive in life. Thanks.” Of note is that this year’s BTS TOP Counselors was comprised of 100% BTS Alumni.
James Ryan is the coach at Port Richmond High School, and he attended the Penn State Team camp with nineteen NYC wrestlers. He recalls being impressed with the way the coaching staff interacted with the kids. “The camp experience impacted the kids in several ways,” Ryan said, “some wrestlers got as many as twelve matches in three days. That’s close to half a season against very competitive wrestlers.” It was also an opportunity for less experienced wrestlers to “get a taste” of next-level competition. “The camp also gave the kids the opportunity to be away from home and have to take care of themselves. It was a great experience for the wrestlers and for me as a coach.”
Pedro Cruz, a sophomore at New Utrecht High School, attended the Edinboro University 12-day intensive camp. “It was truly a great experience. Not only did I learn wrestling moves, but I was taught life lessons, like that all of the hard work you put in will have an outcome...I believe the camp impacted me in a very positive way, on the mat and outside.”
“The experience was pretty cool,” said Chad Williams, a senior at Midwood High School, describing his stay at the Princeton technique camp. He complimented the staff and the setting of the camp, as well. “It felt nice to be on an Ivy league campus. It gave me hope that I could actually wrestle at that level.”
“It was a fun experience - literally eat, sleep, wrestle for a couple days,” said Abid Hossain, a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School who attended the Lehigh University intensive camp. “I enjoyed wrestling the camp counselors, who were college wrestlers. There was a huge difference in skill level. They were lighter and quicker, yet way stronger. This camp has motivated me to work harder so that I can catch up to these guys. Thank you to Beat the Streets for letting me have this experience.”
The campers were of all different experience levels - Amber Black, a senior at Tottenville High School is a first year wrestler who attended the TOP Camp. “I’m trying to push myself to the best of my ability. I got to practice and I’ll stay later and work on things to be the best I can, but with the help of others. I appreciate the help everyone was giving, and also, being able to attend such a wonderful camp for free was beyond me! It was a great learning experience, and I loved it!”
Beat the Streets wants to thank all of the campers for coming out this summer to up their game and learn valuable life lessons through the sport of wrestling. We hope to see you all at the Big Apple Games practices taking place this summer, and again in the fall!