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  • Brandon Cain

Beat the Streets caps 2023 Junior League season with City Championship

Lena Gao and Serra Akyali each claim titles in the boys and girls standard divisions.

More than 30 New York City student-athletes became champions on the wrestling mat at the 2023 Beat the Streets Junior League City Championship on Sunday at Harry S. Truman High School in The Bronx.


Serra Akyali of Hunter College M.S. and Lena Gao of P.S. 94 highlighted the list of individual champions by winning titles in the boys and girls standard divisions. Akyali won all her matches by first-period fall, including a comeback victory to win the boys title. Gao had three falls and also completed a comeback for the boys title with an 11-8 win.


Akyali's brother, Devin Akyali of Harlem Jets Wrestling, also claimed a title in the standard boys division.


M.S. 582 scored 68 points to edge out Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (59) and Eagle Academy (52) for the novice division title.


Cornerstone Academy took the standard boys division crown with 118 points ahead of Harlem Jets Wrestling (106) and P.S. 5 Port Morris (77). Coached by BTS alumnus Jon Alicea, Cornerstone Academy nearly claimed the standard girls division, too, with 58 points, just seven points back of team champion Excellence Girls Charter School (65). M.S. 129 took third (42).


The 2023 Junior League City Championship was sponsored by Affinity by Molina Healthcare.


Individual champions - Boys

Lena Gao (P.S. 94)

Devin Akyali (Harlem Jets Wrestling)

Serra Akyali (Hunter College M.S.)

Hilton Alvarez (Cornerstone Academy)

John Moon (Harlem Jets Wrestling)

Devin Ferguson (Cornerstone Academy)

Damien Porter (Bronx Medical Science)

Vladimir Amparo (Mount Saint Michael) Quincy Jones (Eagle Academy)

Ethan Gonzaga (Harlem Jets Wrestling)

Maxx Nunez (Conselyea Prep)

Luis Tabares (P.S. 5 Port Morris)

Jacob Scott (Cornerstone Academy)


Standard Boys team scores

Cornerstone Academy (118)

Harlem Jets Wrestling (106)

P.S. 5 Port Morris (77)

Eagle Academy (65)

M.S. 129 (61)

Bronx Studio (47)

Bronx Medical Science (40)

Myra Barnes (26)

P.S. 178 (26)

Hunter College M.S. (24)

Mount Saint Michael (20)

Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (20)

Conselyea Prep (18)

P.S. 94 (16)


Individual champions - Girls

Lena Gao (P.S. 94)

Serra Akyali (Hunter College M.S.)

Taylor Abramshe (Conselyea Prep)

Kaliyah White (M.S. 129)

Jadja Bah (Bronx Medical Science) Estrella Velardo (Cornerstone Academy)

Diasia Wimberely (Cornerstone Academy)

Destiny Jacobs (Excellence Girls Charter)

Maila Duverseau (Excellence Girls Charter)

Mahogany Morgan (M.S. 129)


Standard Girls team scores

Excellence Girls Charter (65)

Cornerstone Academy (58)

M.S. 129 (42)

P.S. 5 Port Morris (39)

Hunter College M.S. (38)

Myra Barnes (33)

Rafael Hernandez (28.5)

Bronx Studio (25)

Conselyea Prep (22)

Bronx Medical Science (19)

P.S. 94 (18)

Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (13)

M.S. 582 (4)


Since being founded in 2005, Beat the Streets has pioneered a movement that now includes 150 individual wrestling programs, a youth league and the first girls high school league.


BTSNY works to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth and strengthen the NYC wrestling culture. We aim to make a lifelong impact on student-athletes through the lessons learned on the wrestling mat -- discipline, perseverance, self-reliance, humility and a strong work ethic. Discover how you can make a meaningful contribution to our work at btsny.org/donate.

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