The momentum that Beat the Streets wrestlers created during last week’s Spring Break Training Camp carried over into the weekend as two groups of BTSNY kids took part in a pair of additional training trips in Westchester and Nassau counties before returning to classes.
On Saturday, a total of 30 Beat the Streets members – 15 boys and 15 girls – made trips to Grant Paswall Systems (GPS) Wrestling facility in Armonk and Nassau Community College in Garden City. BTSNY coach Penn Gottfried led the boys trip to GPS while fellow coach Jacque Davis took the girls to NCC.
The benefit of these trips, like so many run by Beat the Streets, is to give the kids a chance to gain experience and knowledge from outside the familiarity of the city. Both GPS and Nassau accomplished this goal by providing the kids with new coaches to learn from, new training partners to practice with and new techniques to try out.
At GPS, founder and head coach Grant Paswall worked with the BTSNY boys on specific techniques and drills while bringing wrestlers from his facility to offer Beat the Streets a fresh set of competitors.
The Nassau trip did the same for the girls, with NCC head coach Sam Thomas, a number of his Lions wrestlers and special guest Vito Arouja – a former freestyle national champion – sharing their expertise with the BTSNY kids. Nassau also provided a personalized admissions information session and a campus tour, giving the Beat the Streets girls in attendance a complete view of an option to continue their careers in college.
In both instances, the kids were able to immediately work on applying their lessons from practice in competitive settings, as each group held tournament-style matches at the end of the day.
Penn Gottfried, Coach and BTS Junior League Director
On the importance of working outside the city:
“Whenever we get a chance to practice with other partners and other coaches – in New York City or outside the city – it enables our kids to get more excited about wrestling and see the sport from different perspectives. I'm excited to continue to develop partnerships and relationships with clubs outside of NYC to give our kids more training opportunities."
Julius Whetstone, Martin Luther King HS Senior
On facing different competition:
“Being in a room with different wrestlers who have different styles and more experience than us helps us polish things up, and I was learning every second. The live matches at the end were the best part because I felt myself getting better with each new partner. Practices like this open us up to what we're really training for."
Jacque Davis, Coach and BTS Girls Development Director
Overall thoughts on the Nassau trip:
“It was really awesome to see the girls step on the mat and get vicious with each other. They pushed and challenged one another and made sure to get each other out of their comfort zones. I loved watching them step onto the mat and rise to the occasion. I was even happier to see Coach Thomas liking the wrestling he saw and making mental notes for future recruiting possibilities.”
Natalie Dunn, College of Staten Island HS Sophomore
Overall thoughts on the Nassau trip:
“At Nassau we learned new techniques from the coaches and from some of the wrestlers on the team then had live matches, just like how it would be at a tournament. I surprised myself because I went against some of the best girls in the program and ended up winning all the matches. Overall, it was a great learning experience.”
Daija Cloud, Forrest Hills Sophomore
Benefits of the weekend:
"I think touring and practicing at Nassau was very beneficial because I got to meet different coaches and wrestlers. I also learned new moves and got a good practice in. Training at Nassau let me see that I have more potential in wrestling and that anything is possible."