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NYC Nabs 8 State Titles at 2019 Youth State Championships

By Sara Andresen, 03/18/19, 12:45PM EDT


This St. Patrick’s Day, NYC showed the strength of its growing youth programs at the 2019 Youth State Championships. Beat the Streets funded almost 30 wrestlers to head up to the tournament with another 15 from NYC going up on their own! The participants with BTS came from 8 different schools spanning 4 boroughs.  

The BTS boys battled through their brackets to earn their medals, resulting in a total of 5 state titles. Our champions are as follows:  

  • Arseni Kikiniou, Elite Wrestling Club (Intermediate 71 lbs)
  • Sulayman Bah, MS 129 (Schoolboy 114 lbs) 
  • Xavier Giles, Eagle Academy (Schoolboy 136 lbs)
  • Elijah Gonzaga, Harlem Jets (Schoolboy 187 lbs) 
  • Capri Martin, Harlem Jets (Schoolboy 250 lbs) 

In addition to the high performance from the boys, BTS had 3 girl State Champions.  

  • Sara Jacobs, Farrell Lions Wrestling Club (Girls Intermediate 65 lbs) 
  • Alessandra Elliott, Tottenville Wrestling Club (Schoolgirl 136 lbs) 
  • Kaddijatou Bah, MS 129 (Schoolgirl 185 lbs) 

Alessandra Elliot and Capri Martin are the first 3x youth state champions in BTS history.  

Penn Gottfried, BTS Head Coach for the Youth Program noted, "I thought that our kids battled hard. While I think we let some matches get away from us that we should have won, I thought we represented NYC well.  Most importantly, I think every kid that might have had a loss, or not won in the way that they wanted to, learned from it and came back in their next match stronger."  


Going upstate a day early to work out in the SUNY Cortland wrestling room, our youth wrestlers also got college exposure to see what the next level of wrestling could be like. The kids had a blast working out in a college wrestling room, and it really helped them shed those last couple of pounds before weigh-ins on Saturday night. 

BTS currently has approximately 5 alumni on the SUNY Courtland roster, and we thank Coach Bruhn for coming in on a Saturday to let us into the wrestling room and for talking with the kids about the importance of grades coupled with athletic ability and accomplishments. 

Additionally, while the focus on wrestling is always important for BTS, it was great seeing the kids interacting and being on their own outside of NYC.  From grocery shopping for the first time on their own, to hanging out in the hotel pool, it really brings NYC together and gives the kids a different experience that they might not have had on a normal weekend. Step by step, these trips help to develop the independent mindset of our kids to prepare them for the future.  


BTS would like to give a huge thanks to all the coaches for their dedication and hard work this whole season. It’s amazing how much time they put into developing these kids as not just wrestlers, but as good people and future adults. 

In a reflection of the weekend, Coach Anthony Mirra from the Tottenville Wrestling Club said, “This weekend was a true success! Alessandra an 8th grader from Tottenville’s youth program became 3x NYS champion. This exemplifies the direction that NYC youth wrestling is heading! This would not be accomplished without the support that BTS provides for our wrestlers! Having the opportunity to get a good workout in Cortland’s wrestling room prior to our competition fully prepared our kids to shine on the big stage! Big shout out to Coach Penn and Coach Emma for everything they do!!” 

Beat the Streets Wrestling is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you would like to support our mission to improve the lives and futures of New York City public school students by giving them the opportunity to wrestle, please click the donate button below: