June Wrestler of the Month – Jasintai “T” Mallqui

Throughout the past couple of years there has been a boom in girls wrestling and with the help of PAL (the Police Athletic League), Beat the Streets Philadelphia has continued that trend by committing to girls-specific programming. Ed Schneider, who has coached at PAL for over 30 years, had this to say about the future of girls wrestling, 

In the 1980s, it was extremely rare for a girl to participate in what has traditionally been a male-dominated sport. In the last 10 years, wrestling for women has expanded exponentially, with some states creating high school programs. And even within the past few years, opportunities for girls to receive college scholarships for wrestling has dramatically increased.” 

The womens’ wrestling community is growing rapidly & with amazingly talented girls emerging around the nation, all signs indicate that women’s wrestling is here to stay! One of those incredibly talented girls, Jasintai Mallqui, is this month’s BTSP featured student-athlete!
Jasintai Mallqui, or just ‘Tai’ for short, is a wrestler who trains at the Rizzo PAL Center and Camden Panthers; among other clubs. Recently, Tai won a prestigious title in freestyle competing at 39kg at the UWW U15 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Most people only dream of wrestling at such a high level, let alone finding such a high level of success. An accomplishment of that magnitude at such a young age is truly remarkable. In addition to a world championship, Jasintai has many other accomplishments. In 2018, Tai was runner-up at the Novice Women’s Freestyle Nationals and she won the title at the 2019 Women’s USA Folkstyle Nationals. Tai is a leader in every sense of the word; exemplifying hard work, helping other wrestlers around her, and acutely focused throughout practice day in and day out. We reached out to Jasintai to ask her simply what she enjoys about the sport. Her answer was short, but sweet:

“I like everything about wrestling, it’s fun and I like beating up boys. I get better at how to defend myself.” – Jasintai Mallqui

As Tai continues to grow as a person and an athlete shes leading the way for younger girls to follow in her footsteps. 
If you are interested in creating opportunities for other young wrestlers like Tai, you can visit our donate now page here.

May Wrestler of the Month – Jameel Coles

Jameel Coles took the wrestling world by storm this past spring making his first trip to PIAA state championships a memorable one. He beat undefeated state college wrestler, Cole Urbas, who was ranked fourth in the nation at that time by Flowrestling. Jameel went on to say this about his performance, “I know that if I keep a cool head, cool mind and show my opponent that no matter how long the periods are, no matter how long the match is I’m still going to push the pace to show my opponent that I’m physically and mentally strong.” Jameel showed tons of grit throughout the tournament earning a fifth place finish.

“It shows that no matter where we come from we still put in the hard work and that we can compete with anyone” – Jameel Coles

Rolling into freestyle and greco-roman wrestling with style after placing in the PIAA state wrestling championships in March, Jameel is in high hopes of making a statement in Fargo, North Dakota at the US Marine Corps Junior Nationals. After taking a couple of years off from wrestling freestyle and greco-roman, he boasted a championship in both styles at the PAWF State Freestyle and Greco-Roman Wrestling Tournament to earn a qualifying spot for Fargo. That time off did not affect Jameel as much as some would think. He wrestled with the Pennsylvania Cadet National Dual Team prior to his break from olympic style wrestling. As one can see, it does not take Jameel long to get back into the flow of things and he’s a big believer of hard work.
Jameel is exploring post-graduate opportunities, but his decision has not yet been made. We fully support any decision that he makes in the upcoming year! The staff at BTSP and the student-athlete participants wish Jameel good luck as he ventures out to North Dakota in hopes to all-american at one of the United States’ toughest high school tournaments.
Donations can be made on our Donate Now page

Organizations Alike

Beat The Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) pairs up with other great organizations, such as Revolution Foods, Child Care Resources, and the United States Marine Corps (USMC), to positively alter life’s trajectory. Through our partnership with the USMC, we are teaching kids leadership, grit, and team values with support from the marines. The camp takes place each year in March designed for students enrolled in high school. Technique is taught by various coaches and marines with conditioning to wrap things up. Staff sergeant and officer selection recruiter Johnathan Morris had this to say about the participants, “When they’re taking these kids and they’re developing for them a drive and a want to be successful. It resonates with me as a United States marine because the battles that they face on the wrestling mat are similar to the personal battles that we face at boot camp.” The battles that wrestlers face on the mat foster foundational values, such as integrity, determination, and discipline, that they can continue to build on throughout their lives.

“With the rigor of athletic development it’s a big deal for the marines to be involved with programs in the city like BTS” – Wayne Thurman, Executive Director, USMC Leadership Academy

We are thankful to have the marines partner with us to help continue our mission of positively altering life’s trajectory. Partnerships like this allow the staff here at BTSP to make such an immense impact on the surrounding athletes in Philadelphia. To show kids there is more out there in the world than what they see in their respective neighborhoods.

Eat Better, Live Better, Perform Better

Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) has always operated under the belief that our whole is greater than the sum of our parts. In that, working collectively with positive community partners to help benefit the youth of Philadelphia is the most effective method for accomplishing our mission.

A great example of this stems from the combined efforts of Beat the Streets Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Regional Training Center (PRTC), The University of Pennsylvania, & Drexel University, commonly referred to as the Philadelphia Wrestling Ecosystem. Our collective efforts to grow Philadelphia wrestling have resulted in both individual successes and collective ones. Specific to BTSP, these partnerships have allowed the organization to grow from just three youth programs in 2009, to thirty!

“Our staff, wrestlers, and alumni believe wholeheartedly in BTSP’s mission of Positively Altering Life’s Trajectory for the thousands of kids and families that BTSP serves, and we stand committed in all ways to contribute to the effort” – Roger Reina, UPenn Head Wrestling Coach

Building on this belief, we are proud to officially announce working alongside Revolution Foods and Child Care Resources (CCR) to address the needs of BTSP student athletes in a more complete way. Revolution Foods is a company who doesn’t just deliver healthy meal choices to schools and other organizations all over the country, it also educates the youth on making healthier nutritional choices. With the use of surveys and cooking demonstrations their goal is to get kids excited about eating healthy. Unfortunately throughout Philadelphia, kids often lack access to proper nutrition and knowledge about healthy eating choices. Many local super markets don’t offer necessary healthy options, and those that do are understandably expensive. There are even some areas without access to grocery stores, often referred to as “food deserts,” existing throughout Philadelphia. Recently, a Philadelphia non-profit organization called The Food Trust has been working hard to make grocery stores accessible for those residing in food deserts. The Food Trust claims that, “For more than 40 years, residents of North Philadelphia’s East Germantown neighborhood had no reasonable place to buy healthy, affordable food. The nearest grocery store was a 20-minute bus ride away.” For many residents in Philadelphia, that trip is costly to their budget and walking to and from the store with grocery bags is not much of an option. 

An article published on Generocity’s website outlines the statistic that “1 in 5 Philadelphians suffer from food insecurity.” Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. We know that as a student-athlete it is important to get the proper nutrition needed to perform at the highest level. By providing kids with healthier meal choices, they are able to power through their day with higher rates of academic and athletic success. With the help of Revolution Foods, BTSP was able to provide roughly 24,000 snacks and 16,000 nutritious meals for our student-athletes through our Mentoring Center & Belmont Charter school program.

“Revolution Foods is thrilled to be working with Beat the Streets and Child Care Resources, to bring fresh, healthy meals to their athletes. As a fellow mission driven organization, we were so inspired by the work Beat the Streets is doing in the Philadelphia Community. They challenge their athletes to improve both mentally, through their tutoring, and physically on the mat. To ensure these athletes have the proper fuel to take on these challenges, we are working with CCR to provide each athlete with a free meal and snack daily. ” – Marcy Cuneo, Revolution Food

We are certainly proud of our emerging relationship with Revolution Foods, to help us better serve our student-athletes through our Mentoring Center. Overall, we’re very grateful for the strong community partners we have had the opportunity to work alongside. As we continue to grow, we look forward to both strengthening these relationships & creating new ones as we continue Positively Alter Life’s Trajectory and serve our kids in the best way possible!

In addition to relying on powerful partnerships, BTSP also relies heavily on support from donors. If you’re interested in supporting our efforts of ‘Positively Altering Life’s Trajectory’ please visit our donation page.
If you’d like to consider contributing to our cause in other ways, please also consider giving your time as a mentor or coach!

New Director of Wrestling Dan Altomare

Dan is a familiar face to the Beat the Streets Philadelphia program. He has been involved for a number of years and taken on various roles at BTSP. In 2014 he began helping with Beat the Streets while still in college at Temple University. His first role with Beat the Streets was as a volunteer coach at PAL. Having wrestled for Council Rock South, Dan felt very impacted by the sport of wrestling and enjoys having the opportunity to give back to the sport as best he can.
After Dan graduated from Temple in 2015, and he continued to stay actively involved with Beat the Streets programs. Dan would continue to help with both mentoring and wrestling. Among his roles he has been a coach, mentor, intern, and now full-time wrestling director. Since November 2017, Dan has been serving as the Director of Wrestling in an interim capacity.

“I just enjoy working with the kids,” Dan explained when asked why he is so dedicated to the program. “I believe in the fact that wrestling teaches life lessons that are unique. I have seen it work for the kids, and I want to be a part of it.”

Dan is truly committed to our mission of Positively Altering Life’s Trajectory. We believe that he will help continue to improve and grow our wrestling programs in his new role as Director of Wrestling.

Miles Lee Makes National Finals

Last night Miles Lee, of South Philadelphia, made the national finals in the junior devision.  Miles won by technical-fall all the way into the semi-finals, beating opponents from New Jersey, Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois.  In the semi-finals Miles beat Matthew Waddell of Georgia 6-2.  Miles will wrestle Jacob Warner of Illinois for the national title at 2:30 P.M. ET.

Summer Training Makes Winter Champions by Jared Johnson

My name is Jared Johnson. I began wrestling in the 7th grade at Martin Luther King youth. Because of my continuation of training at PAL during the offseason when I was in eighth grade, I made connections with my current school, Roman Catholic High School. Every year that I wrestled in the summer I got better, and it showed when I stepped on the mat in the winter. My freshman year my season ended at districts. I am not a sophomore and was two matches away from qualifying for States because I continued to train during the offseason. Continuance is important because many sports stop when the season ends, but in wrestling you can continue to build upon your skills and techniques because the season never ends.

Philadelphia Public League Sectional and Youth Wrestling Championships

Philadelphia Public League Sectional Tournament
South Philadelphia High School
Broad Street Line – Snyder Stop
Parking Lot and Street Parking
Friday, February 17th, 3:30 PM Start
Saturday, February 18th, 9:00 AM Start
Philadelphia Youth Wrestling Championships
Beat the Streets Wrestlers Only
South Philadelphia High School
Broad Street Line – Snyder Stop
Parking Lot and Street Parking
Sunday, February 19th
Novice – 8 AM arrival, 9 AM start
Advanced – 11 AM arrival, 12 PM start

Miles to Go: Lee is Driven to Succeed

“I’m happy but not satisfied”, Miles Lee says as he reclines back in the office chair across from me. It’s been a week since his stellar Fargo performance. Wrestling against the toughest grapplers in the country, Miles battled his way to double All American honors, earning third in Greco Roman, and Sixth in Freestyle. Most wrestlers would be thrilled with their success, but Miles felt that he could have done more. “It feels ok. I didn’t achieve the goals I set for myself, but I still had a good performance, which I’m happy about.” For the past 6 months, Miles has had two goals written down in a note on his phone: win Fargo, and win states. He would look at them throughout the day for motivation. It would give him the push to trek up to Port Richmond to get in his second practice of the day at the police athletic league, or to challenge some of the toughest post collegiate wrestlers in the country at his daily practices at the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center. These wrestlers are more skilled than him, they’ve been wrestling since before he was born. He still takes his licks, but everyday he is working and improving at an incredible rate. Miles is only a second year wrestler, and his skill level is mind boggling already. It is a testament to his incredible dedication and work ethic as a student of the sport. Most people would say a second year wrestler has no shot at placing at Fargo, let alone, winning it. However, Miles isn’t like most people, and he knew after falling two matches short of All American status in 2015, that he would make the podium in 2016. Just like he knows in 2017, he will be standing at the top.  However, before Fargo rolls around again Miles has some new goals to add to his list.
“Next up is Super 32, which I want to win. Then hopefully I’ll get to go to Beast of the East. After that, I’ve got Escape the Rock, and then I’m gonna win states. After I graduate, I want to make the Junior World team, and then I want to win Fargo. After that I want to wrestle in college”. Many high school wrestlers heading into their senior season would claim to have such lofty goals without truly believing that they would achieve them. Miles believes with every fiber of his being that his goals will come to fruition. He also knows that the responsibility to achieve these goals falls squarely on his shoulders. It’s why when other wrestlers are taking breaks during the summer, he starts doing two a day practices the day after he comes home from Fargo. He believes that everyday he is not improving, he is regressing, something that he finds unacceptable.
Not medaling at last year’s Fargo was a turning point for Miles. “What really broke me was coming back from Fargo with nothing but my singlet and a gear bag. I looked around at all the PA guys riding the bus back with me that medaled, and I said I could do that. I didn’t want to feel that way every again, that I could have did something, but I didn’t”.
This year’s Fargo was another turning point for Miles. His combined Greco and Freestyle record was 11-4, and on his way to a third place Greco medal he rattled off three shut out tech falls in a row. “My mindset was totally different this year. I came here with a purpose and I knew I was gonna get a stop sign. I’m most proud of knowing that I can hang with anybody in the country. I wasn’t quite there last time I went to Fargo, but now I’m there, and I’m gonna keep working to improve.” Miles knocked off numerous state champs, and nationally ranked wrestlers, throughout the tournament and even caught the attention of Flowrestling, who ranked his run as the 4th biggest breakout of the tournament.
Miles had some help in Fargo, mostly coming from BTSP coach, Josh Dziewa who cornered him throughout the tournament “Having Josh in my corner, was an extra source of motivation for me. Late in matches I would hear him yelling, and that would keep me on my game.” Dziewa coached all the wrestlers on team PA, but made sure he was there for Miles, and was in his corner during all 15 of his matches. “I’m really appreciative for Josh, and all of the Team PA coaches that helped me. I also want to thank all the BTSP coaches and just everybody that has been there, and supported me throughout my career.”
When I asked Miles how he reached such a high level of wrestling so quickly he told me, “Stay positive, pray, train hard, listen to your coaches and parents, and stay around positive people”. Super 32 in October is the next big tournament that Miles will be competing in, and he’s thinking about dropping from 195 to 182 pounds, although that remains to be seen. “This is only the beginning; I’m going to be doing big things this year.” When Miles says he is going to do something, he does it, and I have no doubt, that he will be doing very big things.

Derick Morton

       Derick Morton didn’t know what he was going to get from wrestling when he first started as a 9th grader at Martin Luther King High School. 4 years later, after finishing up his freshmen year at East Stroudsburg University he’s better suited to answer that question.

       “Perseverance, not giving up when the going gets tough.”

       Derick is a dual major in physics and environmental studies. Two majors known for their difficult classes and large course loads. While that would be a full plate for most college students, Derick also plays rugby on the school’s club team, sings in the Triumph Gospel Chorus, is a member of the school’s multicultural club, the environmental club, and the NAACP. Balancing the plethora of academic and social commitments, wasn’t easy, and Derick admits his grades struggled when he first got on campus. However, Derick persevered, and stuck to a rigorous daily schedule, that started with class, and then his mandatory club meetings, followed by finishing his homework in the dorms. After all of that was done, he allowed himself to socialize and hang out with his friends and Rugby teammates. Derick credits the sport of wrestling for pushing him to never give up, and to work through his problems as well as Beat the Streets Philadelphia for pushing him to look at colleges and universities after high school. One piece of advice Derick would give incoming freshmen is to get enough sleep, which is absolutely vital when you have a schedule as full as his.