Spring Programming

Freestyle season is underway in Philadelphia! Wrestling continues with BTSP as kids all across the city will continue to compete in Olympic-style wrestling; freestyle & greco-roman.
This spring, BTSP will be sponsoring (3) training sites at Central High School, Belmont High School, & the Rizzo PAL Center.
Practice Schedules, Contact Information, and directions can be found on the The Teams Page.

March Program Highlights

NHSCA Nationals (March 22nd-24th)

After winter reared its’ ugly head (hopefully for the final time) here in Philadelphia, 14 BTSP wrestlers were more than excited to make the trip south to Virginia Beach for NHSCA Nationals. Congratulations are in order for all 14 wrestlers selected to attend; as decisions were made based on, commitment to academics, wrestling success, and recommendations from coaches:

  • Tatyana Ortiz-JR (106)
  • Jayshawn Copeland-FR (120)
  • Tyler Mangan-MS (120)
  • Aboubakare Diaby-FR (126)
  • Zamire Rice-SO (126)
  • Reynaldo Garcia (126)
  • Mike Rubino-SR (138)
  • Jarrod Johnson-JR (138)
  • Naseen Pennington-SO (145)
  • Lucien Anderson-JR(152)
  • Xavier Rivera-JR(152)
  • Angel Garcia-SR(160)
  • Daishawn Tilghman-SO (195)

From great wrestling, to late afternoons on the beach, and quality time with teammates/friends, this was a memorable weekend for sure! From a wrestling standpoint, particularly nice performances were had by Tatyana Ortiz, Angel Garcia, Naseen Pennington who each had some impressive wins throughout the weekend. While ultimately our kids fell short of the podium, the opportunity to wrestle on one of the biggest stages in the sport was an invaluable experience! Heading into freestyle season, we are all very optimistic about the wrestling that lies ahead.
Lastly, BTSP would like to thank the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) and Beat the Streets-National for playing an instrumental role in making this experience possible for our kids. Opportunities like this keep our kids motivated, focused, and open their eyes to the world of wrestling outside of Philadelphia. Final brackets can be found on FLOARENA.
USMC Leadership Academy (March 24th)
This past Saturday, nearly 100 Philadelphia-area high school wrestlers came out to South Philadelphia High School for a day of wrestling and instruction from the United States Marine Corps! Beat the Streets has worked in partnership with the Marine Corps for a couple of years now in an effort to educate our kids and help to prepare them for life beyond wrestling.
PRTC Head Coach Brandon Slay, PRTC athletes, & the Bethea brothers led the wrestling technique clinic, while the Marine Corps educated wrestlers on leadership and the career opportunities presented by the Marines.
Overall, this was an awesome experience for our kids and we look forward to continuing to partner with the USMC in the future! To learn more about the Marine Corps, and the opportunities they have available, visit their website here.
Girls Folkstyle National Championships (March 24th)

In our final recap of March programming, BTSP would send a BIG congratulations to Jasintai Malliqui (Novice-75lbs) for her 3rd place finish over the weekend as the Girls National Championships!
Jasintai (or “T” as her coaches call her) made us all especially proud after losing a tight 5-3 match to the eventual champion, Zoey Utterback, and then rattling off 4 STRAIGHT WINS to take 3rd place! It’s never easy to wrestle back at any level, but to do it in her 1st experience in the national spotlight is downright incredible. T and her family should be very proud of a great end to a fantastic season!
Final results for the Girls National Championships can be found on FLOARENA.

NE Regional Tournament Preview

Thus far, the 2017-18 season has been a year of tremendous growth for the Philadelphia Public League! A record-high 29 PPL wrestlers will make the trip this weekend to Bethlehem Liberty High School to compete in the PIAA Northeast Regional Tournament. Congratulations to all PPL qualifiers; you continue to make us proud!
Below are just a few of the most interesting storylines headed into the weekend:
106lbs–Tatiyana Ortiz (MBA)

Two years ago, Ortiz broke through barriers in the sport of wrestling by becoming the first female district qualifier in PPL history. In 2015, her qualification forced the Philadelphia Catholic League to change rules that barred Catholic school wrestlers from competing against females. Since that point, girls wrestling in the city of Philadelphia has grown tremendously; a large part of that is to her credit.
Fast-forward to this season and Ortiz is continuing to have a substantial impact on the sport. This weekend, Ortiz will become the first female wrestler to compete in the PIAA NE Regional Tournament as she is slated to face off against Matt Mayer of Bethlehem Catholic in the prelims. It will be interesting to see if the Archdiocese of Allentown follows suit with Philadelphia. A change to this ruling could be yet another step in the right direction for women’s wrestling!
126lbs–Reynaldo Garcia (MBA) & Zamire Rice (OVB)
126 is a LOADED weight class in the NE Region; with 5 guys ranked inside the top #15 by PA Power Wrestling. Within the weight class, however are two underrated wrestlers from the Public League with a lot of talent. Garcia & Rice have gone back and forth this season and given each other some great matches. This postseason, in fact, Rice’s only 2 losses have come at the hands of Garcia. It will surely be a lot of fun to see these two young guns put their aggressive styles to the test.
138lbs–Mike Rubino (NE)
At the beginning of the season, Mike won an appeal for a 5th year of eligibility with the PIAA. In his final season of high school wrestling Mike has shined with a 33-6 record. After a 3rd place finish at the District XII Tournament, it will be interesting to see if Rubino can continue to make the most of his senior season.
152lbs–Lucien Anderson (CEN)
A regional qualifier in 2017, Anderson hopes to make his first trip to Hershey this season. He has cruised to league and district titles thus far, and we are now anxiously awaiting this weekend to see if he can get over the hump.
160lbs–Angel Garcia (MBA)
Angel finished 5th in the region last year, only one win away from qualifying for the state tournament. This offseason, Garcia has worked as hard as anyone to improve his skills; highlighted by a 3rd place finish in Greco-Roman at the Fargo National Championships. While Garcia has seldom been challenged in a match this season, this weekend will truly show where he stands amongst the elite in this weight class.
195lbs–Daishawn Tilghman (OVB)
As a freshman Tilghman made the most of his 5th seed at the regional tournament and went 2-2 at regionals. After qualifying for Fargo this summer and truly dedicating himself to the sport, things feel different this season. After winning the 1st district title in Overbrook history in absolutely dominating fashion, Tilghman is primed for another deep run. A trip to Hershey is undoubtedly within reach.
220lbs–Jameel Coles (NE)
Jameel has been nothing short of spectacular this season and his record speaks for itself. With an unblemished 37-0 record, he won league and district titles with seemingly relative ease. Coles will look to continue that dominance this weekend, against a far tougher field of opponents. How high can Coles climb on the podium? Only time will tell.
Once again, congratulations to all PPL regional qualifiers and congratulations to all PCL qualifiers as well. Let’s go District XII!
To follow this weekend’s action, brackets/updates can be found here.

Philadelphia Public League Championships 2017-18

Anyone in attendance at South Philadelphia High School this past weekend for the Philadelphia Public League Championships could see it clearly; this a league that’s on the rise. This years’ championships featured 136 athletes (the highest number in almost two decades) and the crop of talent is vastly improved.
        At these championships, the greatest excitement was at the 126lb. final between Reynaldo Garcia (MBA) and James Clacks (GW). It was a nail biting 9-8 UTB victory for Garcia that won him the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. These two wrestlers absolutely put on a show and deservedly received a standing ovation from everyone in the audience.
Other notable champions included John Santiago (MBA), Daishawn Tilghman (OVB), Michael Rubino (NE), and Sami Kakar (NE); each of whom improved from their 3rd place finishes in 2017 to 1st place finished this year. Wrestling is a tough sport; you get out what you put in. These four wrestlers put in the work necessary get better this season and it will be fun to watch them this coming weekend!
The league not only celebrates athletic excellence, but outstanding service as well. Prior to the parade of champions, public league chairman Barry Strube took some time to recognize a few outstanding individuals. Larry Arata (GW) was awarded Coach of the Year title for making his athletes better wrestlers and better people. Christopher Mullins (FKD) received the Bud Lindholm award for his service and dedication to improving wrestling in Philadelphia.
And finally, an emotional Stephen Lebron (PLB) accepted the Larry Imgrund Award. A senior at 145lbs, Stephen is an extremely deserving recipient of this recognition. On the mat, Stephen is likely to graduate at the most decorated wrestler in Palumbo history. He is a 4x sectional place winner and 3x district place winner (2x finalist). His coaches tell us he is a clear leader to his teammates and someone underclassmen can look to for guidance. Off the mat, he is even more impressive. Stephen’s cross-country coach reached out last week to tell us about how Stephen helped a teammate with severe autism complete a cross-country course and compete in an event this past fall. His coach tells us that without Stephens’ help, the student he helped would’ve been unable to participate. This is just one of the many magnificent examples of the type of person Stephen is. After humbly accepting the award, Stephen went on to take home the title at 145lbs!
Congratulations to all those who competed this past weekend and thank you to everyone who helped to make it happen! This coming Saturday, the District XII Championships will take place at Archbishop Ryan High School.
To follow the action online or to view bracket information, click here.
More photos from the Public League Championships can be found here.

BTS Fall Update

October is here, and at Beat the Streets Philadelphia that means…ONLY 43 DAYS UNTIL WRESTLING SEASON! The PIAA wrestling season is nearly upon us and we couldn’t be more excited! With a new season comes a clean slate for everyone stepping on the mat. Last year’s successes and shortcomings are now well in the rearview mirror, and opportunity is all that lies ahead. With that said, here are a few updates on the opportunities available to our community; the opening of our Mentoring Center, pre-season training opportunities at PAL, and our Coach Development Clinic on 10/21!

Before we get to wrestling, we would like to announce that the Beat the Streets Philadelphia Mentoring Center will officially be open this Monday, October 9th! Mon-Thurs (3-7p), wrestlers enrolled in the Mentoring Menter will have the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with an academic mentor on a day of the week that works for them. At BTSP, we help student-athletes manage their studies, help them however we can, and prepare them for future success. Never been to the BTSP Mentoring Center before? No Problem! Contact Mentoring Director Ben Reiter (breiter@btsphilly.org) or call our office at 215-454-2255 to schedule an appointment and get started today!

On the mat, BTSP is already offering training opportunities through club wrestling at the Rizzo PAL Center in Port Richmond. Practices run Tues/Thurs (7-8:30p) and the room is already filled with wrestlers of all ages. For directions, and regular updates on the PAL Wrestling Club, check follow their Facebook Page.

Lastly, we have a PSA for all Beat the Streets Coaches. On Saturday, October 21st PRTC Head Coach and Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay will be hosting a Coach Development Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania; FREE to all BTSP Coaches. To provide the best coaching possible to all of our student-athletes, we urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to hone your abilities as a coach and continue to improve. To sign up, Wrestling Director Juan Ramos (jramos@btsphilly.org) or call our office at 215-454-2255

What’s been particularly impressive to this point in the year has been the excitement of our wrestlers. Since day one of the school year, our office has had many kids who are staying on top of their studies at our Mentoring Center and actively seeking out training opportunities wherever they can find them. These kids know that doing the right things in November leads to success in March; and that’s inspiring. It’s going to be a great season and we can’t wait to get things officially going!

In Their Shoes – Angel Garcia

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

I was born in Fajardo; a large town in eastern Puerto Rico. When I was 2 years old, my parents picked up everything we had and moved to the United States. They did this because they wanted a better life for me and my 6 siblings (3 brothers & 3 sisters; I’m the middle child). Looking 14 years ahead, I now live in North Philadelphia and go to Marianna Bracetti Charter School as I’m getting ready to enter my sophomore year….but there’s much more to me than that. I’m Angel Garcia, and this is my story.
Growing up in my neighborhood has been anything but easy. Anyone who knows the area at all knows North Philadelphia is a rough part of town. Violence and drugs are almost a part of daily life and at every turn it seems there are people trying to drag you down. When I was younger, I was at risk of giving in to a negative lifestyle. At a pretty young age ‘friends’ (I use that term lightly) often tried to pressure me into making bad choices and every time I backed away they would call me names just because I wasn’t following their lead. Even though I made the right decisions, hanging around these types of people put my parents in a tough situation. My mom and dad would worry about me coming home late and being out in a rough neighborhood at night. Back then, I didn’t really care about hurting my parents. I remember coming home one night close to 1:00am and my mother yelling at me,

“Angel Damian Garcia, where were you all night!? I’ve been calling you, looking for you, and worrying about you. I thought you were dead!”

Instead of apologizing, I told her it was none of her business. Somehow, those words didn’t even affect me at the time. All I cared about was being tough and I thought I could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. That was before I found wrestling.
Wrestling changed my life and it all began in 7th grade. I was walking down the hall and arguing with another student and all of a sudden I lost control. The next thing I knew I picked this kid up and slammed him into the ground just as the teachers pulled us apart. One of those teachers was my P.E. teacher Mr. Greer. After telling me that what I did was wrong, he suggested that I think about putting my anger to good use by wrestling. Where a lot of teachers just saw a kid with a bad temper, Coach Greer saw potential. Later that week I went to my first practice and it turned out I was pretty good! I went to practice everyday and tried to get a little better each day.
I remember my first match like it was yesterday. On a Saturday morning at Drexel University I was matched up against a kid I called ‘Superman’ (I called him that because he wore a headgear with a superman logo on the side). I could tell right away he was more experienced and he was bigger than me, but I stayed tough and battled him all the way through the 3rd period. After a big thrown late in the match, I ended up winning the match by 6 points! In just my first match, I learned a really important lesson about wrestling; don’t ever let the way your opponent looks scare you, just wrestle. The rest of my 7th grade year I accomplished a lot. I competed on dual teams, won a few tournaments, and even took 11th at Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling States! My hard work and success continued throughout middle school and into my high school career.
My freshman season at MBA Charter was a success, but I’ve got my sights set way higher. As a starter at 152, I placed in some tough regular season tournaments, came within one match of qualifying for the PIAA State Tournament, and took 3rd at the Fargo National Championships in greco-roman. Entering this season, I want more. This season, I sat down with BTSP and wrote out my 3 goals for the season:

1 – Finish Top 3 at the PIAA State Tournament

2 – Double All-American at the Fargo National Championships

3 – Improve in close matches by being more offensive

Accomplishing these short term goals is great, but ultimately I’m looking toward my larger goal of competing for a Division 1 wrestling program; and it’s all a possibility because of Beat the Streets.
Despite living in a community filled with negative influences, wrestling gave me a positive outlet. The sport has taught me hard work which has driven me to focus on my studies, taught me discipline to help me make better decisions, and given me the perspective to set the educational goal of becoming a lawyer. Most importantly, since wrestling, I’ve grown closer with my family. I still can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t care about how my actions affect the people who care about me, but that is now way behind me. Today, we all share a bond that cannot be broken. I thank God that I was able to leave the old me behind and become the brother, son, friend, and teammate that I am today.

Angel has been a part of Beat the Streets for four years now and it has been incredibly rewarding to watch this kid grow. We are all so proud of the progress he has made as a wrestler and person in such a short time. All of us here at BTSP have no doubt this kid is headed for greatness.
With that said, there are many kids like Angel who have the potential for greatness, but haven’t yet been challenged. We know there are kids out there we can help, but we need your support. If this story was compelling to you, please consider contributing to our cause. If you are unable to make a financial commitment, but would still like to help us in ‘Positively Altering Life’s Trajectory’ then please consider volunteering as a coach or mentor today.

September Wrestler of the Month-Pat Daly

Each month, Beat the Streets Philadelphia recognizes one student-athlete as ‘Wrestler of the Month.’ Selections are made based on recommendations from coaches, mentors, and/or BTS staff. For September, we have selected Pat Daly of the Police Athletic League! At 12 years old, entering 6th grade at the Science Leadership Academy Middle School, Pat has been wrestling since he was six years old. He has been a big part of the PAL Wrestling program and rarely misses a practice. This month, Pat was one of the first people to ask us about coming to the Mentoring Center. Despite being one of our younger wrestlers, Pat took the initiative to seek us out an re-engage on his own. Combined with his longtime commitment to wrestling through PAL, it was easy to recognize such a great kid!
When we sat down with Pat last week to talk to him, he shared with us that what actually got him started wrestling was an interest in WWE. He recalled walking into his first practice (as MANY of our kids have) expecting to climb into a ring with a mask on an pile drive the other kids. Much to his surprise, however, this type of wrestling was much different. Over the years, Pat says that he has grown to love ‘real’ wrestling. He has made many friends, really likes his coaches (especially Coach Ed), and says the physicality of the sport is his favorite aspect of it.
Off of the mat, Pat says that wrestling has helped him with focus and discipline in school; but more than anything it has taught him confidence. In Pat’s observation, there’s no room for doubting yourself in wrestling; if you second guess decisions on the mat you’re probably going to find yourself on your back. In the classroom, Pat says this has helped him to confidently give answers in class, on tests, and while doing homework!
After talking about wrestling, we asked Pat if he knows yet what he wants to be when he grows up. Impressively, Pat says that he wants to be a marine. When we asked him why, he gave us a very simple answer almost instantly:

“Because I love my country and I want to defend it. I believe in it, and that’s something I want to fight for”

(…Yeah, wow was our reaction too). For a 12 year old to express that sentiment is particularly impressive. While he certainly still has a lot of time left in school, we look forward to working with him as he works toward achieving his goals.
We closed by asking Pat who his favorite athlete was and why. Pat say his favorite athlete is Jordan Burroughs. A few years ago, Burroughs made a visit to PAL and Pat was particularly impacted by it. Specifically, Burroughs’ ability to ‘flip the switch’ between being a killer on the mat and a genuinely nice person off of it was something that resonated with Pat. He says that that’s the type of person he tries to be.
If you would like to contribute to Beat the Streets and help to create more opportunities for kids like Pat, you can visit our Donate Now page here. If you would like to consider giving in other ways, either as a mentor or wrestling coach, please fill out one of our interest forms and we’ll be in touch!

Mentoring – From the Mat to the Classroom

In July of 2016, B.J. Futrell moved to Philadelphia to continue his wrestling career with the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center. A qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Trials, Futrell had long been aware of Beat the Streets and admired the organizations work from afar. Last summer, shortly after settling into the city, B.J. sought out BTSP and expressed his interest in giving back to the sport that has given him so much. Beat the Streets was elated to have the help of a world-class athlete and immediately found a program that could use his leadership, Belmont Charter. After nearly a year of coaching, this past March, B.J. developed a bond with 8th grader Quion Harris.
Quion had been a part of Belmont wrestling most of the time B.J. served as a coach, but it wasn’t until a regional freestyle qualifier in the spring of 2017 that the two began to form a relationship. Quion was competing in a tournament and noticed shortly before getting on the mat that he was without a coach. Looking around quickly, he found a familiar face in B.J. and asked him to sit in his corner. From that point on, the two spend the better part of the day together and got to know each other. Ironically, it turned out that both Quion and B.J. had recently expressed an interest in getting involved with the Beat the Streets Mentoring Center. From the perspective of Beat the Streets mentoring staff, this was a perfect match. Often, the best mentoring relationships form naturally and when things work out that way we consider it a win! Entering the coming school year, the two plan to meet weekly at the Mentoring Center at 3700 Market Street. There, B.J. can help Quion with schoolwork, life, and goal setting.
Quion is always excited to meet with B.J. and values their time in the mentoring center. We took some time last week to sit down with Quion and talk to him about this thoughts on Coach Futrell. When asked his thoughts here’s what he had to say:

“I like that Coach Futrell always listens to me and cares about me. Talking everything out with coach helps me feel good about school, wrestling, and everything going on in my life.”

Their mentoring relationship is clearly paying off; Quion is dedicated in school and on the mat, and has developed admirable character. Coach Futrell had some  really nice things to say about who Quion is as a person:

 “Quion is a joy to be around. I look forward to him walking through the doors before practice time. No matter what is going on he is always in good spirit and gives his best effort.”
Quion is very intelligent. He is a young man with a lot of wisdom and knows how to make good choices that will propel him in the classroom and on the wrestling mat. He is a very intentional listener and takes time to think before he responds. He is a good role model for his younger brother. Quion is a leader, not so much through words as he is a more quiet & soft spoken kid, but through his actions.”

B.J. and Quion are a fantastic example of how mentoring relationships can bud organically. Sometimes, mentors don’t realize the true impact they have on student athletes; but at BTSP we see it everyday. Mentors aren’t just a tutor or another adult to the students. Mentors are a role model, a coach, and a friend to the kids they work with and the lasting impact they have even in the smallest things is monumental.

Beat the Streets Philadelphia works everyday to Positively Alter Life’s Trajectory for thousands of kids like Quion throughout the Philadelphia area; but we can’t do it alone. If you would like to contribute to our cause, please visit our donate now page to learn more about our ways to give. If you would like to donate your time as a mentor, feel free to visit our mentoring page or fill out a mentoring interest form.

Beat the Streets Summer Wrestling Recap

The Beat the Streets Philadelphia (BTSP) off-season wrestling program was extremely successful this year. After establishing four off-season sites, each with a dedicated Pennsylvania Regional Training Center (PRTC) athlete as a clinician, BTSP was able to qualify four athletes to take advantage of the high-level training available at the PRTC. In short, qualifying to the PRTC means gaining the opportunity to train with some of the top wrestlers in the world as well as the chance to drill with the top competition in Philadelphia and its’ surrounding area. Of the four athletes who’ve qualified, both Angel Garcia (Mariana Bracetti Academy) and Daishawn Tilghman (Overbrook) stood out this summer as two guys who are liable to make some noise during the folkstyle season.
In addition to qualifying for the PRTC, Angel and Daishawn both qualified for Cadet National Duals through their successful folkstyle seasons where they helped the Pennsylvania Red team to a 3rd Place finish in Greco-Roman and a 4th Place finish in Freestyle. Additionally, both wrestlers were selected by Beat the Streets Philadelphia (alongside 10 other BTSP wrestlers) to attend a great cross-face cradle series camp run by Maurice Atwood, a 19x State Championship Head Coach from North Carolina. While there were a number of BTSP student-athletes who excelled this summer in their efforts to improve, Angel and Daishawn stood out from the rest and anyone who’s been a part of their offseason training has taken notice.
Those who don’t already know these kids soon will. Both Daishawn and Angel are poised to be leaders, not only within their respective programs, but throughout Beat the Streets Philadelphia programs. Off the mat, Daishawn has actively participated in BTSP mentoring for years and Angel is looking forward to becoming engaged in mentoring as well. All of us at Beat the Streets Philadelphia are excited to see these two hit the mat for the folkstyle season and show everyone how much they’ve improved.
In addition to these two standouts, Beat the Streets Philadelphia has a lot to be excited about this wrestling season. With folkstyle season around the corner, BTSP also has some incoming freshman who are ready to make some noise. Aboubakare Diaby (Central High School) and Reynaldo Garcia (Mariana Bracetti Academy) are two young men who have a real ability to break their respective lineups in 2018 and get some valuable mat time.
As Beat the Streets continues to grow, there will surely be more student-athletes like Daishawn and Angel who are just waiting to break out and be recognized at the state and/or national level. In order to support the growth of our athletes, however, we need your help. The generosity of our donors, volunteers, and BTSP community members has allowed Beat the Streets Philadelphia to aid thousands of wrestlers in achieving their goals on and off the mat, but we are always looking toward future growth. We ask that you please consider supporting Beat the Streets Philadelphia through either through our ‘Donate Now’ page, ‘online store’, as a volunteer mentor, or coach. For more information on our organization, please see How We Help or give us a call at 215-454-2255

August Wrestler of the Month- Aboubakare Diaby

Each month, Beat the Streets Philadelphia recognizes one student-athlete as ‘Wrestler of the Month.’ Selections are made based on recommendations from coaches, mentors, and/or BTS staff. Recommended by coach Ian Hammond and BTS staff member Dan Altomare, the Wrestler of the Month for August is Aboubakare Diaby!
Champions don’t become great by training when everyone else does; they do so by working while their competition rests and when nobody is watching. For Aboubakare, this mantra has defined his summer not only on the mat, but in the classroom as well. While most kids chose to stay home and relax, Aboubakare challenged himself. Over the past three months, he chose to partake in the Beat the Streets Summer Program and attend wrestling camp in North Carolina. In the Summer Program, Aboubakare was engaged daily; he asked questions, honed his math skills, and attended every single class. Additionally, Aboubakare traveled with a select group of Beat the Streets wrestlers to North Carolina for a week-long wrestling camp. For his commitment to learning, dedication to wrestling, and overall embodiment of what a Beat the Streets Philadelphia wrestler should be, Aboubakare is an extremely deserving recipient of this distinction.
This fall, Aboubakare will be entering his freshman year at Central High School after performing exceedingly well at Mastery Charter School. He began wrestling two years ago after being encouraged by his teacher, Mr. Wise, and he largely credits his work ethic in the classroom to the sport of wrestling. When asked about how wrestling has helped him in life, Aboubakare had this to say:

            “Yes, definitely. In 8th grade I became very interested in attending Central High School. While I was always a good student, wrestling gave me the tools to grow as a student. BTS helped me keep my grades up, go through the high school application process, and make my interest a reality.”

From a wrestling standpoint, what Aboubakare enjoys most about wrestling is the individuality within a team sport. He says wrestling has taught him a lot about accountability. To him, this means not just taking credit for his successes, but owning up to his failures. He looks forward to continuing to wrestle at Central High School and competing at 126.
Looking past high school, Aboubakare has his sights set high. At this point, Aboubakare says that he’s interested in studying civil engineering. His interest in engineering stems from his enamorment with the buildings in Philadelphia and how some structures are both creative and functional. Secondarily, he has considered studying law. Aboubakare attributes this interest to his dissatisfaction with the judicial system as it currently stands and says he wants to be part of the change he hopes to see in the future. His favorite school is Penn State University.
Lastly, Aboubakare told us that his favorite athlete is Kyle Dake. He chose Kyle Dake because of how much he admires his persistence in challenging Jordan Burroughs. Despite falling short to this point, Aboubakare sees resilience in Dake and cites his recent close matches as reason to believe that a win over Burroughs isn’t far off.
For those who didn’t know Aboubakare before reading, we hope this sheds some light on who this awesome kid is. If you’re a coach, volunteer, parent, or part of the Beat the Streets Philadelphia community, we bet you know some other other kids who deserve to be recognized as well. If there’s a wrestler at your program who has done an outstanding job, contact us at btsphilly@btsphilly.org, write ‘WOM-(Wrestler Name)’ in the subject line, and tell us briefly why the student-athlete you’re recommending should be recognized!

If you want to support Beat the Streets and help wrestlers like Aboubakare, visit our Donate Now page