On March 2nd, Beat the Streets invaded Bay Shore High School for this year's Youth State Qualifier tournament. With 60 competitors representing BTS alone, this event brings the best competition in the Southern part of NY together to battle for a qualifying ticket to the State Championship on March 17th. Only the top 4 from each weight qualifies.
Beat the Streets had 19 wrestlers qualify for the State tournament with 8 wrestlers leading the way to victory.
Each wrestler took home top honors with first place wins in their respective weight-classes.
While most youth tournaments are for experience and fun, this tournament had a more competitive edge as a state qualifier, giving the kids a taste of what high school wrestling tournaments will be like. With the stakes raised with higher level competition, it also gave our most experienced kids a better understanding of what they need to do to prepare for the State tournament and high school.
Win or lose, the athletes that competed from Beat the Streets learned a lot from this tournament. Athlete Kingston Daniel Silva from American Wrestling Academy said, "At regionals I left it all out on the mat. I might not have qualified for states, but BTS always comes out on top. My experience at regionals was really helpful so I can improve my game."
Even the parents of the Junior League have noticed the change that wrestling has made in their children’s lives. Kingston’s mother Megan Cooney said, "My son started wrestling competitively last November with Beat the Streets and I was amazed to see how far he has come in such a short period of time placing 5th at regionals! I was very impressed with the level of technique and passion all of the BTS kids displayed at the competition. I can't say enough good things about the coaches and their dedication to see our kids succeed on and off the mat and the sense of community they foster."
The performance of the Junior League also caught the eyes of many other teams this weekend. "I have watched a lot of these young people from the different BTS programs develop throughout the year, so it was very satisfying to see them rise to the occasion on Saturday, with many of them not only beating guys with varsity experience but dominating them. I had several coaches tell me how surprised they were that our guys did not wrestle varsity matches," said Coach Tyrone Webb from MS 129 as he accompanied the team at this tough tournament.
After the tournament, Beat the Streets Junior League Head Coach Penn Gottfried commented, "I am really proud of how our kids battled this weekend. From our most experienced kids to our newer wrestlers, everyone wrestled up to their potential and then some. They left it all on the mat. I think that is a huge testament to how hard our coaches have been working this year. Every wrestler came prepared and that is due to great practices and preparation from their dedicated coaches. I'm excited to see what happens in a couple weeks at the State Tournament!"
With a big tournament oncoming in 2 weeks, the BTS Junior League is looking sharp and ready to battle for some State Titles!
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