Many Beat the Streets Philadelphia student-athletes have been working hard and training at our various offseason wrestling facilities. On April 17th BTSP sent 40 wrestlers to the Downingtown West Freestyle Tournament. There was a large turnout at the tournament, with nearly 200 Greco participants and over 300 Freestyle participants. Although the day was long, nearly 8 hours, the BTS squad brought home a haul of medals, including the Philadelphia Atheltic League’s Matt Oniel, who won the 50 lb. Bantam Freestyle Championship.
Beat the Streets Philadelphia will be hosting our first freestyle state tournament qualifier. The qualifier will be held on May 15 at South Philadelphia High School, the same location as the 2016 Philadelphia Public School League Tournament. The athletes that have been putting in the extra time in this offseason are looking to reap the benefits of their hard work and qualify for the Pennsylvania State Freestyle Tournament which runs the following weekend, May 20-22. This tournament is particularly exciting because it is the first BTSP tournament to include wrestlers from outside the Philadelphia area.
Thursday, April 28th Beat the Streets Philadelphia held our First Annual Bowling Night at Lucky Strike Lanes in Center City. The fundraiser was a great success, hosting over 200 attendees in a night filled with fun and entertainment. Mr. Green Genes front man, Bryen O’Boyle, provided music to go along with the night’s many festivities, including bowling, ping pong, giant jenga, connect four, a 50/50 raffle, and our silent auction. A special thanks to our sponsors for making this night a huge success and helping raise money for our program and the kids.
Edwin Morales of Mariana Bracetti Academy and Miles Lee of South Philadelphia High School made history by becoming the 3rd and 4th wrestlers from the public league to advance to the PIAA AAA State Wrestling Championships.
Edwin and Miles, competing at 170lbs and 195lbs, respectively, were both 1st in the D12 PPL Sectional Championship, 1st in the D12 District Championship, and finalists in the PIAA AAA NE Regional Tournament. This finish earned them both a trip to the State Tournament in Hershey.
In his first and second matches at the regional tournament, Edwin pinned his opponents in 1:52 and 3:23, respectively. In the semis, he won via a strong decision 8-2 to reach the finals, where he lost 23-11 to a wrestler from Bethlehem Catholic.
Miles received a bye to the quarterfinals, where he won via major decision of 13-5. In his second match, he won by another major decision of 17-9. He lost in the finals to the 2015 state runner up from Stroudsburg 15-0. This was Miles first loss of the season and it was the first time someone took the first year wrestler down all year!
Both wrestlers hold impressive 2016 records going into the state tournament. Edwin now holds a record of 36-4, and Miles’ record is 26-1. These wrestlers are two of the hardest working individuals in Philadelphia, and it shows that all of the hard work has given them the opportunity to compete for a state title.
Beat the Streets Philadelphia was proud to be a part of the third annual Cougar Duals. Martin Luther King High School hosted 16 teams from 8 different districts, including some of the best wrestling in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Each team was guaranteed 4 matches on the day. Malvern Prep walked away with the championship by defeating Camden, Twin Valley, Marple Newtown, and West Chester Henderson. Rival district 12 St. Joseph’s Prep finished 3rd beating Marple Newtown in the consolation finals 41-15. Host Martin Luther King finished 8th out of 16 teams, beating Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in the first round 36-35 before being edged by Marple Newtown 41-37. MLK finished the tournament by falling to Twin Valley and Daniel Boone. Craig Duren (170 lbs) went undefeated on the day while DeAndre Maxwell (182/195 lbs) and Isaiah Webb (120 lbs) both went 3-1.
Martin Luther King wrestlers have had ups and downs all season but they continue to make significant progress on and off the mat. By hosting tournaments and events like the Cougar Duals they are continuing to build support and a fan base for wrestling in the city. Beat the Streets would like to thank coach Dom Castelli and Martin Luther King High School for hosting this event!
I have been surrounded by the sport of wrestling for my entire life. Competing from elementary school through 5 years of college clearly played a big part in developing me into the person I am today. However, now over 15yrs has passed since my last official match and I arguably find myself more absorbed into the sport than ever. I am on the board of BTSP, the board of my hometown (Chatham, NJ) wrestling club and President of the University of Pennsylvania’s Grapplers Club. As a result I feel as though I am constantly advocating all aspects of the sport of wrestling. Whether it be discipline, mental toughness, team building, self confidence or just simply highlighting the fact that wrestling is a foundational sport overall I am constantly reminded of all the sport has to offer. With that understood, it simply brought a smile to my face to watch this video and hear a tremendously successful man like Joe Moglia offer his opinion on the topic. It is WELL worth 3 minutes of your time.
You can watch the video of Joe speaking on the right hand side of this page.
Beat the Streets Philadelphia Board Member
Many Beat the Streets Philadelphia student athletes continued to train/compete out of various off-season training sites during the Spring and Summer months following the 2013-14 season, knowing that “Summer training builds winter champions.” To reward those who did, scholarships were awarded to attend overnight wrestling camp hosted by Lock Haven University. BTS-Philly sponsored 27 middle school students for Lock Haven University’s Junior High School Competition Camp from June 26th-29th, and 40 high school students for Lock Haven’s Intensive Technique Camp running June 17th-19th. Accompanying the student athletes from Philadelphia were several local coaches, mentors, and recent HS graduates to facilitate learning and supervise during free-time around campus.
Led by Head Coach and NCAA All-American, Scott Moore, Lock Haven’s coaching staff and wrestlers organized an excellent camp experience. Campers received top-notch instruction from several seasoned veterans of the sport, including NCAA All-Americans Scott Moore and Steve Fittery (LHU’s Head Assistant Coach), Central Mountain High School’s Head Coach Doug Buckwalter, and many current NCAA competitors from LHU, University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University. In addition to wrestling sessions, Coach Steve Fittery ran campers through an intense cross-fit workout. Cross-fit is an excellent form of training for any athlete and is a growing trend throughout the health/fitness world. The growing popularity is due to the way each workout is designed to improve one’s overall fitness (strength, speed, agility, endurance, etc.) while engaging all parts of the body with a wide range of motions. During the little free time they had throughout the camp, participants enjoyed spending time at the pool and hanging out with friends/coaches at the dorms on campus. Each camp was completed with a tournament on the last day.
Though camp is an integral piece of year-round training, it is also an opportunity to encounter new cultures, meet new people, have new experiences, and build on relationships between students and coaches. The fact that this all takes place on a college campus also makes camp an opportunity to build students’ interest in attending college, while providing a glimpse into that world.
Between the excellent group of coaches/wrestlers provided by Lock Haven Camps and the staff we brought along, there was a very high ratio of instructors to students. When this group of wrestlers/educators were combined with the hard-working campers and given access to the great facilities of Lock Haven University, the product was a unique environment for skills development and an overall positive experience for everyone.
Beat the Streets Philadelphia’s staff, coaches, mentors, and participants are grateful to the many generous donors who make opportunities like these a reality.
Name: Jon Guevera
School: Central Philadelphia High School
Coach: Coach Julien, Coach Lender, Coach Ricardo
Age/Grade: 16 years old/11th Grade
Number of Years Wrestling: 3
Why did you start wrestling? During my freshman year, Coach Julien spotted me in the hallway and said, “You should wrestle.” I thought, “I’m a strong guy, I can handle that.” Before that day I didn’t know wrestling was a sport.
Why do you enjoy wrestling? In wrestling, you can see directly that hard work pays off. During my freshman year I only practiced with my high school team during the season, and won just a single match. When I began practicing during the off-season and going to extra practices during the regular season, I quickly and steadily improved during my Sophmore and Junior years.
What impact has wrestling had on your life and academics? Wrestling made me a part of something that I felt good at and boosted my confidence. Wrestling also made me consider my future, and set the goal of going to college. I realized that to go to college I would have to make a stronger effort in school, and my grades have been getter better every year.
What do you want to be when you get older? I want to major in business, and manage a company’s finances.
What is your favorite college/university? University of Pennsylvania (Carnegie Mellon is a close 2nd)
Who is your favorite athlete? Kyle Dake
Beat the Streets Philadelphia has recently moved in to our new office space at 3700 Market Street Suite 300, which will be the central location for the Mentoring Center. We believe that the use of near-peer mentors will be instrumental in building strong relationships to best benefit the student-athletes being supported, so recruiting of mentors has been primarily through local universities. Therefore, having the mentoring center located in proximity to some of these universities will be a key to our success. Our new office is located in University City, only blocks away from the center of both University of Penn’s and Drexel’s campuses!
Our University City location will better facilitate our efforts through the mentoring program in many ways. As opposed to years in the past where mentoring sessions were set up by sending mentors out to the schools of our student-athletes or meeting in a neutral setting, we are now able to hold all mentoring sessions under our own roof. This allows for BTS to best support both sides of the mentor-mentee relationships, and ensure that every student-athlete is getting the most out of their time spent with their mentor. As one enters the Mentoring Center, they are immediately greeted in a lobby area, where BTS staff sets up shop. The space consists of 6 separate offices, allowing a focused setting for several sessions to be taking place simultaneously without distraction. Also included is a kitchen, so students and mentors can keep their brain and body fueled for optimal productivity. Its important that our mentoring center is an environment that both mentors and students enjoy coming to, and our new facility definitely fits the bill.
In addition, our University City location gives us the opportunity to utilize the athletic facilities of the nearby schools, augmenting the enthusiasm of the student-athletes involved in the mentoring program. The University of Pennsylvania has been gracious enough to host many of our wrestling events at their historical arena, the Palestra! Penn has also partnered with BTS-Philly to create additional training opportunities for our student-athletes, having them participate in the Philadelphia Wrestling Club (PWC). The PWC has been hosting practices for dedicated athletes across PA and NJ to supplement their current training regimens throughout the season, and will continue to hold practice as an off-season training opportunity for BTS mentoring students. As the goal of BTS-Philly is to engage students in improving their skills both on and off the mat, participation in this club run by the Coaching Staff of UPenn will be an integral piece of the overall design.
The establishment of the Mentoring Center is a critical step in Beat the Streets Philadelphia’s goal of altering the trajectory of the lives for the participants in our program and we are excited to provide this much needed support to our students.
Harold joined our program at Belmont Charter as a 7th grader with little to no idea of what the sport of wrestling involved. He was encouraged to join by Coach McCabe and quickly became one of the team leaders not only as a result of his work ethic, but more importantly due to the leadership he displayed on a daily basis as a student. Harold is a gifted student. He has maintained straight A’s academically, compiled quite a portfolio of creative writings and did exceptionally well on his state board tests and admission exams for the area private high schools.
Harold was nominated by his coach to be a participant on the BTS Philly Middle School Travel team which helped him continue his development on the mat and gave our staff the opportunity to understand what an exceptional young man he is. As with many of our student-athletes, Harold’s personal confidence and sense of self-reliance have grown tremendously over the last few years – personal traits and characteristics that we believe will serve him well in the years to come.
Although he excelled both athletically and academically, Harold’s options for high school were slightly limited for several reasons that were not entirely in his control. BTS Philly staff worked with a number of Harold’s teachers throughout the application process to Penn Charter- an elite private school in Philadelphia. As a result of his hard work both in the classroom and on the mat he was awarded a scholarship to attend and he is currently in his freshman year in school. He is excelling academically and has continued to impress all those with whom he comes in contact. BTS Philly certainly does not profess to be the sole reason that Harold is currently succeeding at Penn Charter, but we believe we have helped to positively “alter the trajectory” of his life- our primary goal as an organization.
Last winter, I went to Philadelphia for a dual meet at the University of Pennsylvania and was fortunate to meet one of our BTSP student athletes after the match was over. The young man was a junior in high school at the time. Like many of the kids in the program, he had his share of challenges growing up in a tough neighbourhood amidst some difficult circumstances. Regardless of those challenges, he was determined to bettering his own life while trying to find a pathway to a college education.
By all accounts, he was fully committed to the BTSP program. When talking about wrestling and being a member of the BTSP program, his face truly lit up with enthusiasm. He loved being part of BTSP. He loved the sport of wrestling. You could see the passion in his eyes and hear it in his voice.
We spoke for a while and I asked him a pretty simple question, “What else should we be doing to help to you?” His answer was disarming. He responded without hesitation but instead with full conviction and sincerity, “I will do whatever you tell me to do.”
When you take a moment to think about that response, it was a simple yet remarkable answer. Here is a young man who had just met me and was willing to listen to my advice and instruction unconditionally. In my mind, that degree of trust, commitment and hope underscores the tremendous responsibility that BTSP undertakes when welcoming a student-athlete into our program. Even more importantly, it highlights the tremendous opportunity that BTSP has created. Trust, commitment and hope are precious and invaluable. When combined with passion and a well devised plan of action, they are the lifeblood of accomplishments great and small and the fuel that propels progress across all types of activities.
That is exactly the opportunity that BTSP aims to create. In merging that passion, trust, commitment and hope with a constructive and positive means to channel that energy, we believe that we can help our student-athletes reach their full potential and ultimately “Alter their Life’s Trajectory”. And that is a goal truly worthy of pursuit.
Organizationally, we have a good process in place and are committed to constantly improving our approach. We are optimistic about the future of the organization and even more optimistic about the future of our student athletes.
Speaking on behalf of the entire Board of Directors of BTSP, that is why we believe in BTSP and will remain enthusiastic and steadfast in that belief.
Chairman of Beat the Streets Philadelphia