Over the weekend (March 23-25), Beat the Streets, led by BTS Junior League Director Penn Gottfried and Eagle Academy coach John McGarry, took a group of 25 middle school and high school wrestlers to Virginia Beach, Va. to compete at the 29th Annual National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) Nationals tournament at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
The prestigious event, which drew over 3,500 participants from across the country, has been a national springboard for future NCAA champions and All-Americans in the past and provided the BTS contingent with a high level of competition away from the Big Apple.
A pair of BTS members from The Bronx's Eagle Academy were able to place in the top eight of their age-specific weight classes while two others came close to placing after earning three victories at the event.
Leading the way for BTS was Eagle senior Jayson Gomez, who took seventh place overall at 285 pounds. Gomez earned two falls and four decisions in bouts against wrestlers from Tennessee, North Carolina, Minnesota, Virginia, Vermont and New York.
Eagle seventh grader Cameron Mayfield followed suit in the middle school tournament as he finished in eighth place at 80 pounds. Mayfield picked up a couple of decision wins in his bracket against opponents from New York and Virginia.
Mayfield's Eagle classmate Devone Bogie fell just short of placing, scoring three decision wins before bowing out in the consolation bracket. Junior Emre Mabocoglu of Brooklyn's Midwood Academy also won three matches – all three by fall – in the high school 195-pound division. Bogie's wins came against South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama natives while Mabocoglu beat wrestlers from Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Full results from the tournament can be found HERE.
"I am so proud of every single one of our kids this weekend. They all wrestled their hearts out. This trip was a unique experience, not just for the wrestling, but for building relationships and strengthening the culture of NYC wrestling. We had 25 wrestlers from middle school and high school under one roof living, cooking and hanging out. It was truly incredible to see."
- Penn Gottfried, Coach and BTS Junior League Director
"One thing I learned from this tournament is that you have to be on your toes from the starting whistle to the end. Also, you have to prepare and do your best because everyone is working toward All-American, but not everyone gets what they want. You have to be willing to go that extra mile to achieve your goal because you never know what could happen, so don't take your foot off the pedal."
- Demitreus Henry, Grand Street Campus senior
"This was not my first time and definitely not my last time competing on the national level. I went into the weekend knowing what to expect so I went out, wrestled hard and learned how to improve myself. Every time I leave NYC, I find a new way to better myself and to teach others. I'm grateful for another opportunity to showcase my talents."
- Daniel Bogie, Eagle Academy senior
- Outside of its time competing in Virginia, the BTS team was able to connect with other wrestlers from New York and out-of-state. Coach Gottfried and the group connected with Tottenville High School coach John Cichon and 30 fellow BTS wrestlers for dinner on Friday and spent Saturday night on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk with wrestlers from Beat the Streets Providence.
- McGarry's Eagle Academy squad was well-represented among the group BTS took down to Virginia. Nearly half of the BTS group – 11 of 25 – were Eagle student-athletes. Other NYC schools represented were Grand Street (4), James Madison (3), Cardozo (2) and one each from Horace Mann, W.C. Bryant, Wingate, Midwood and Gaynor.
- Beat the Streets would like to thank the NHSCA for showing its support for the mission of BTS by providing 15 complimentary registrations to Nationals.