Press Release: Beat the Streets National Supporting Youth Development Programs to Grow Wrestling Opportunities

Beat the Streets National Supporting Youth Development Programs to Grow Wrestling Opportunities
A national organization to support Beat the Streets city programs around the United States officially launched during the DI NCAA Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio March 15-17.  Co-hosted by the four founding members, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia and Cleveland, the kickoff successfully highlighted the collaborative effort among Beat the Streets programs to improve the lives of youth through wrestling.
Over the next year, all Beat the Streets (BTS) programs will be invited to join to further the collective mission of youth development through wrestling.  The National organization will support member programs through shared information, best practices and standard operating procedures. Beat The Streets National will facilitate partnerships with USA Wrestling, the National Wrestling Coaches Association, Wrestle Like A Girl and other important stakeholders in wrestling and youth development.
BTS National is building on over 10 years of successful BTS programs around the United States and World.  In 2017, BTS Member Programs reached 5,200+ kids and they delivered BTS programming at 108 sites and support school-based programs at 217 sites. Major milestones were reached with 100% of BTS Philadelphia students graduating on time and 77% of at risk BTS New York Jr League participants improving their academic confidence. “Our Member Programs have developed and adopted standards that offer a consistent level of quality to their participants. Members are working towards positioning Beat the Streets National to have an even greater impact. In 2018 we are looking to further expand and increase support to additional programs,” stated Jeffrey Marsh, Executive Director of BTS National.
The reception in Cleveland included many executive directors, board members, partners and supporters of the current programs. In attendance were BTS founder Mike Novogratz as well as USA Wrestling President Bruce Baumgartner and Executive Director Rich Bender. Bender and his staff at USAW have showed support for BTS National Member Programs with donations in-kind.
Brendan Buckley, Executive Director BTS New York, stated “The Beat the Streets National event was a hit. It provided me an opportunity to tell the story of Beat the Streets and the great work of BTS National. I was able to answer questions relative to how BTS National works with the various independent sites.”
The Executive Director of BTS Philadelphia, James Mangan said, “Having so many committed individuals in a room, sharing the mission of ‘positively altering life’s trajectory’ for thousands of boys and girls through the sport of wrestling was extremely beneficial. Intentionally working together in the months and years to come will lead to tremendous progress both locally and nationally.”
Michael Powell, Executive Director of BTS Chicago affirms. He enjoyed the atmosphere of progress that was present at the event and says, “It was great to see so many major wrestling players excited about the prospects of what promises to be a game changing organization.”
The kickoff was a springboard for the funding of BTS National and the mission of expanding support to members who will ensure youth development within existing and new programs. “It is critical BTS programs are sustainable so that all of our executive directors, programming directors and coach-mentors have the tools they need to continue to have a life changing impact on the kids they serve,” explained Marsh. “The energy in the room that Friday was inspiring. The passion in these organizations runs deep.”
More information about Beat the Streets can be found at or contact Executive Director Jeffrey Marsh, [email protected]

Featured Match, Frankford at Southern

The PIAA District 12 is the home for all Philadelphia High School teams including both Catholic and Public schools. Within District 12, the Public League divides it’s 15 team into two Divisions; Independence and Liberty. Last month we featured the top performing teams from the Independence Division: a rematch of the 2016-2017 Public League Championship, Central bested Northeast by a score of 52-15. (See the match recap here)
This month we directed our attention towards the Liberty Division’s two undefeated teams, South Philadelphia and Frankford. With playoff implications on the line, this was sure to be a dual neither teams could afford to lose. Coaches Rob Schloss (Southern) and Joe Farina (Frankford) clearly understood the stakes. Both coaches could be seen carefully reviewing roster strategy as their teams warmed up. When we asked Coach Farina for a prediction he exclaimed “It’s going to be close!”. He couldn’t have been more right!
The match started out with a forfeit at the 113 weight class. With South’s Thaj Williams getting his hand raised in exchange for 6 team points momentum was already on Southern’s side. At 120 Damien Riles recorded a first period fall over Frankford’s Iverson Ratchford. Keyauri Pooler from Southern picked up another forfeit win for South at 126 moving his team to a 18-0 lead after three matches.

Dawud Faruqi (Southern) with a chin-whip against Tariq Mines (Frankford)

Frankford’s 132 pounder Luck Hives put a stop to the losing streak with a 26 second pin over Aristodue Intwali erasing the team score goose egg. But with the experience of South Philadelphia’s next two wrestlers the momentum would swing back in their direction. Dawud Faruqi (Southern) pinning Tariq Mines (Frankford), followed by a fall from Naseen Pennington (Southern) over Camont Mull (Frankford), Southern now had a commanding 30-6 lead nearing the mid point of the dual.
Frankford’s Christ Adechokan finishing in headlock position for the fall

Forfeits at 152 and 160 from Southern started to play a role with Frankford’s Marcus Logan and Fateen McFadden getting 6 points each after effortless hand-raises. South Philadelphia’s Anthony Williamson would offset some of the forfeit sting by pinning Eric Watson (Frankford) in 1 minute and 12 seconds of the first period. Frankford would respond with back-to-back pins at 182 and 195 with Christ Adechokan beating Edgar Caraballo, and Gabriel Perez coming from behind to beat Steve Cacciatore.
Kenny Purvis gets some last minute instruction from Coach Farina before his HWT match

After a forfeit for Southern’s Ishmael Kesserly at 220 the team score was 42-30. In anticipation of a forfeit win in favor of Frankford’s 106, Jorge Rivera, it was apparent that the match would come down to heavyweight. At 4 minutes and 10 Seconds in the third period it happened; Frankford’s Kenneth Purvis collects the fall against Marquise Millen! The final score 42-42!  The winner would be determined by criteria. To the official rule book…

a. The team whose opposing wrestlers or team personnel has been penalized the greater number of team points for flagrant misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct shall be declared the winner.
b. The team whose opposing head coach has been penalized the greater number of team points for coach misconduct shall be declared the winner.
c. The team whose opposing wrestlers were penalized the greater number of match points for unsportsmanlike conduct during a match shall be declared the winner.
d. The team having won the greater number of matches (including forfeits) shall be declared the winner.
e. The team having accumulated the greater number of points for falls, defaults, forfeits, or disqualifications shall be declared the winner.
f. The team having the greater number of points for technical falls shall be declared the winner.
g. The team having the greater number of points for major decisions shall be declared the winner.
h. The team having the greater number (total match points) of first point(s) shall be declared the winner.
i. The team having the greater number of points for near-falls shall be declared the winner.

After all the criteria was reviewed, Southern was declared the winner based on tie breaker criteria (i) in one of the craziest outcomes from the Public league this year. With playoffs just weeks away Beat the Streets looks forward to providing additional recaps in February.

A full gallery of images can be found at:

January Wrestler of the Month – Kenneth Purvis

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 January, we have selected Kenneth Purvis of Frankford High School!
Executive Director, James Mangan spent some time with Kenny just before the start of the featured match of the month; Frankford at South Philadelphia. Audio from this interview can be found at the bottom of this article.
Kenny, a senior at Frankford High School and Juniata resident has a positive energy that is a pleasure to be around. His 6 foot tall, 270 lb frame is naturally balanced with a smile that never fades. When speaking with him it is obvious he has a positive outlook on life. Considering the things Kenny has to overcome on a daily basis, his personality is an inspiration.

“It’s a hard neighborhood, so we all go through a lot”

Kenny comes off as a natural leader amongst his peers. It would make sense that his favorite class offered at Frankford is Peer Group Connection taught by Mrs. Damond. Having that support system in the school encouraged Kenny to be active in other ways, including improving his own physical health. Kenny met former Mariana Bracetti Academy wrestler and current Beat the Streets mentor Edwin Morales three years ago at the same neighborhood gym. It is there that Kenny was motivated by Edwin to begin wrestling. As a 10th grader Kenny was 40 lbs heavier than the maximum weight class, but that didn’t discourage him. The nature of wrestling challenges individuals both physically and mentally helping many achieve goals otherwise thought to be impossible.

“I lost a total of 5o pounds, I feel a lot better.”

Coach Joe Farina discusses match strategy with Kenneth Purvis

On the year, Kenny is undefeated in the Public League, more impressive is his commitment to success in the classroom. Kenny plans to finish this marking period with second honors. Frankford’s Head Coach Joe Farina understands the importance of putting academics first. That message is reinforced at every wrestling practice as part of a holistic development philosophy. Upon graduation Kenny has his eye’s set on attending Brightwood Career institute to pursue a career as an electrician. It is clear Kenny knows where he is going, but he admits there is still some unfinished business on the mat as a senior…

“I want to make it to States, I want to go all the way in my last year!”

If you would like to contribute to Beat the Streets and help to create more opportunities for kids like Kenneth Purvis, 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!
Audio from the interview:


Youth Wrestling Returns

Youth Wrestling Season

Over the past month and a half Beat the Streets Philadelphia youth and middle school programs have begun training for the 2017-2018 season. There are two new programs this year with Penn Treaty Middle School and Trenton Rivera attributing to the growth. Sponsoring 17 individual wrestling based youth development teams this year will allow BTS Philly to reach an estimated 800 boys and girls, ages 5-14. Couple that with the 13 high school programs, there will be an estimated 1,200 student athletes engaged in programing this academic year.
Every Student Athlete is provided the opportunity to receive support off the mat at the BTS Mentoring Center, located in University City. Volunteer mentors from Upenn, Drexel, Temple, ROTC, and Philadelphia Rotary, provide wrestlers with group, as well as one on one support. Last month students worked on classroom assignments, prepared for the SAT and ACT, attended a College Knowledge workshop designed to help navigated the college application process, all in addition to receiving quality near peer mentoring. This year additional mentoring programing will be offered at our  Allentown, Alliance, Mastery, and PAL Wrestling Club locations.
Starting in January, the BTSP Youth and Middle School Competition season begins with events scheduled every weekend. Our weekend events include opportunities for BTS Philly wrestlers to compete and watch college duals at the Palestra and Daskalakis Center. The annual year end tournament is once again scheduled on the second weekend in February.
Full details about this years season can be found here: BTSP League (Parents Guide)

Get involved:

Become a Coach
Become a Mentor
Make a Donation

Featured Match, Central vs Northeast

The District 12, Philadelphia Public League featured match in December had all the makings of a barn burner. A rematch of last year’s Public League Championship, Central Lancers traveled to Northeast High School with the goal of defending their status as the best team in the league. Coaches Jeremy Julien and Mike Siravo are no strangers to facing each other in matches like this. With the PPL being split between Central and NE for the past few years. Many would say that this match is a prelude to the seasons Championship match on January 24th, 2018.

(Coach Julien providing guidance to Central’s Caleb Perline during an injury stoppage)

Despite the big home crowd at Northeast, Central started the dual with a 2nd period win as Gregory Pugh pinned Jared Hynson. That would lead to a six match win streak for the Lancers with (106) Mosin Ghafary pinning Ryan Ponce, Caleb Perline’s tech-fall over Ian Santiago, Sami Kakar with a minor decision over Mike Acevedo, Aboubakare Diaby with a minor decision over Joe Lombardo, and Gai Lomidze’s tech-fall over Chris DelValle. Close matches at 120 and 126 could be swing matches later in the year. With the team score 28-0 after 6 matches Central looked to be in a good place to walk away victorious.
Adrian Lugo gets NE its first win with a 11-7 minor decision over Jackson Fung. Central would once again go on a win streak from 145-160 recording a minor decision from Nick Henry over Rigoberto Vasquez-Ortiz, an overtime win from Lucien Anderson over Mike Rubino, and a supprise pin from Greg Khochiashvili (wrestling in place of Nick Rubino) over Zamire Thomas. Central secures the team victory after that win with just four weight classes remaining. Matches up at 145, 152 and 160 can all go the other way in the future.
(Coach Siravo staying focused during blood time)

Northeast’s Emrakh Faikov pined Alan Giang at 170, followed by Central picking up wins from Vlad Falendysh pining  Chris Lopez and Charles Livingston pinning Victor Tiu. The highest ranked wrestler on either team, Jameel Coles from Northeast finished the dual with the only forfeit leaving the final score 52-12, Central over Northeast.
Central Coach Bucky Johnson said “We thought it was going to be a lot closer. We won at some weight classes we didn’t expect to.”
Northeast’s Siravo stated “It stared off bad and continued throughout the entire match. We have some work to do before we see Central again.”
Regardless of the outcome from this match, one thing is clear…These are two very good teams that will be a force to be reckoned with after the break.
Next up for both teams is the Wetzel Classic in Hatboro Horsham on 12/29 and 12/30.
Full gallery of images available at:

December Wrestler of the Month-Julio Ortiz

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 December, we have selected Julio Ortiz of Mariana Bracetti Academy!
Julio sat down with Beat the Streets Executive Director, James Mangan during a MBA High School dual meet to discuss why he loves wrestling. Julio started wrestling last year as a 6th grader. His older sister, Tatyana was his inspiration for joining the team. Tatyana has had her fair share of success as a female 106lb wrestler in PIAA District 12, including an appearance at the District tournament last year. Even though Julio looks up to his bigger sister, he is starting to emerge from her shadow. His hard work and dedication to the sport led to a second place finish in an open tournament this year. He told us how that accomplishment is one of his proudest moments. His confidence continues to improve, while his behavior and attention in class is at an all time high.
When asked about his favorite wrestling move, Julio with out hesitation said “Blast Double”. He has watch his favorite wrestler, Angel Garcia (MBA 160lb Junior) hit the move in competitions and practices routinely. Julio’s 7th grade goals are heavily oriented around academics. When asked what his biggest goal for this year is, he discussed achieving honor roll first and foremost.

“I want to finish the second marking period with honors!”

Lastly we asked Julio what else he wants everyone to know about him. He smiled when telling us his favorite color is MBA blue, his favorite subject is Math, and he wants to one day win an Olympic medal.
If you would like to contribute to Beat the Streets and help to create more opportunities for kids like Julio, 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!

High School Wrestling Season Has Started!

The PIAA 2017-2018 wrestling season officially starts today! Out of the 15 Public League teams in District XII, 13 receive direct support from Beat the Streets Philadelphia. An estimated 400 BTSP student-athletes will step on the mat in the month of November. Approximately 20% of those students will routinely visit our Mentoring Center for academic support, one on one near pear mentoring, as well as workshops specific to SAT prep, college enrollment, and leadership development.
Beat the Streets Philadelphia provides the resources necessary to grow the sport of wrestling in under resourced neighborhoods through out the Philadelphia region. Through the sport of wrestling, student-athletes develop valuable character traits such as, discipline, resilience, dedication, delayed gratification, teamwork, individual accountability, and an overall commitment to excellence. The lessons learned on the mat regularly spill over into the classroom. Teacher and Parents alike report notable improvements in wrestlers attendance, behavior, and performance.
As the season moves forward there are some competitions on the calendar worth recognizing.

  • Friday 12/08: Five BTSP teams competing at the New Hope-Solebury Tournament
  • Wednesday 12/20: Rematch of last years Public League Championship, Central at Northeast
  • Saturday 1/27: Central HS hosts the Lancer Invitational.
  • Saturday 2/3: Martin Luther King hosts the Cougar Duals

We encourage you to support these programs by attending competitions or by making a tax deductible contribution through our donate now portal. More than 60% off the total funding for these HS programs come from Beat the Streets Philadelphia. Without your support these student-athletes would not have the opportunity to wrestle.

In Their Shoes – Aboubakare Diaby

“The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.”

Being a First Generation American: Aboubakare Diaby
Being born in the United States is a privilege not many people get. Fortunately, me and my 7 siblings are some of those few. My parents immigrated to the U.S from the country of Mali in the 1993 envisioning the American Dream; but they’ve struggled to establish themselves in this country. Moving here wasn’t easy for them, in fact, it was probably the hardest decision they ever had to make. Due to financial restrictions, the decision to move to the United States required them to leave their first child behind. At the time, my older brother was only 4 years old. With no viable alternatives, my parents left my brother in the care of my grandmother and haven’t been in physical contact with their son since. I can’t imagine being put in my brother’s position, nor my parents. Growing up without parents, especially through childhood & adolescence, is tough sometimes for me to wrap my head around.
Since moving to the United States, my family has experienced a lot together and through it all I have learned a lot. Having parents who managed to support me and my siblings no matter how tight money was has taught me dedication. Learning to separate the necessity of things like food and clothing from discretionary things like a new phone or the latest game system has taught me discipline, and seeing my parents scrape by each month just to provide for their kids has taught me the true meaning of hard work.
My mom and dad have always taught me never to shy away from work. For example, there have been plenty of days the carpet needed to be cleaned or the dishes needed to be washed and when asked I was sometimes reluctant to help out. Once, when I complained about helping, mom plainly told me that there are plenty of days she would rather stay in bed, but that she gets up to cook, clean, or go to work because that is what is needed of her to provide for the family. That is the type of person I am expected to be. No matter how I am feeling, or what I think stands in my way, there is a job that needs to be done and people who are counting on me to do it.
My willingness to work hard has not gone unnoticed. In 7th grade at Mastery Charter, my English teacher Mr. Wise asked me to join the wrestling team. He knew that I would work hard to keep at it. I was a little apprehensive at first but I tried it and I loved it. I was committed to the sport and attended every practice, and every match. By the end of the season, I won second place at the end of season tournament. After seeing how hard I worked in wrestling, Mr. Wise asked me to help him build a garden at his home and even offered to pay me for my work. He told me he knew I was a hard worker and that I wouldn’t quit until the job was done well. I remember spending an entire weekend building that garden and whenever I thought about things I would rather be doing I recalled the conversation with my mom, and I pressed on. When I was finally finished, Mr. Wise was so impressed, he paid me $100 (more than we had initially agreed on). Here, I learned another lesson; hard work pays off.
In 8th grade, I stayed involved with wrestling and really enjoyed working to get better; but my biggest success was in the classroom. I have always been driven to succeed in school and my 8th grade year was no different. Last year, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and gained admission to Central High School; the 13th best public high school school in Pennsylvania!
Now, I am a month into the school year and I can’t wait for wrestling to begin. My goals for the season are to win the Public League Championships, place in the District 12 tournament, and place at the Northeast Regional tournament. I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. But the lessons my parents taught, reinforced through wrestling, have made confident I have what it takes to build the life my parents dreamed about.

Note from Beat the Streets Philadelphia
Aboubakare ’s story is an incredible one; but he’s not alone. With over 1,200 wrestlers actively in wrestling programs throughout Beat the Streets Philadelphia, there are countless kids who like Aboubakare , have the drive and just need the opportunity to be great. With the support of our incredibly generous donors, we have been able to ‘Alter Life’s Trajectory’ for thousands of boys and girls; but we can do more with your help. Whether it’s choosing to give through our donate now page or as a coach and/or mentor by contacting us at [email protected], the bottom line we can always use your help!

NWCA All-Star Classic

BTSP Wrestlers Enjoy the NWCA All-Star Classic
Over the weekend, Beat the Streets Philadelphia wrestlers had the opportunity to watch some of the greatest talent in the world of wrestling at the NWCA All-Star Classic! 12 BTSP wrestlers took the trip to Princeton University for an awesome fun-filled day of wrestling!
In the morning, our kids had the chance to attend a fantastic clinic led by PRTC Coach & Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay. Coach Slay was joined by 2016 Olympic Gold Medalists Kyle Snyder of Ohio State University & Helen Maroulis! These world-class athletes took the time to speak with our kids about the value of wrestling, go over some of their favorite technique, and answer questions about what it takes to be a champion in such a tough sport. The kids had an incredible time and left the clinic smiling ear to ear!
Afterward, the kids grabbed a quick bite to eat and eagerly made their way into Jadwin Gym where they found front row seats to take in the allure of the All-Star Classic. The kids from BTSP were happy to support Penn wrestlers May Bethea (165 lbs) & Frank Mattice (197 lbs); wrestlers who have both supported Beat the Streets in a mentoring & wrestling coaching capacity in the past!
Seeing such high-caliber wrestling up close was undoubtedly a memorable experience for our kids. Beat the Streets Philadelphia would like to thank the Wrestlers in Business Network and the National Wrestling Coaches Association not only for putting on such a spectacular event; but for helping to ensure that our kids were able to take part in it!

BTSP Wrestlers Compete at Penn Homecoming

Penn Wrestling coach, Roger Reina invited Beat the Streets Wrestlers to the Palestra in Philadelphia to compete in exhibition matches in front of a crowd of Penn Alumni. Wrestlers Leo Petrowski, Reynaldo Garcia, and Tatyana Ortiz recorded wins by fall in their respective bouts. Coach Reina spoke with the group of young wrestlers about the history of the sport we all love so much. One interesting point Coach Reina shared is the origin of the word Palestra and it’s historic importance in NCAA Wrestling.
Palestra: (Ancient Greek) a wrestling school or gymnasium. The Palestra is believed to be the site of the nations very first college wrestling tournament. Coach Reina spoke about the significance of Philadelphia’s rich wrestling history while challenge BTSP wrestlers to be fearless in pursuit of individual aspirations.
BTSP, along with Penn Wrestling, and the Pennsylvania Olympic Training Center, have created an eco-system of support that serves the interests of everyone involved. Beat the Streets athletes are paired with Penn Wrestlers for one on one and group based mentoring / academic intervention. PRTC athletes regularly attend BTSP wrestling practices as guest clinicians, while qualifying High School wrestlers earn the right to train at the PRTC at points through out the year.

BTSP actively engages more than 1200 at risk students from Philadelphia, Camden, and Trenton with programs that enrich participants lives; both physically and mentally. Our mission of “positively altering life’s trajectory” has been successful because of generous support from Foundations, Corporations, and Individuals. As a sports based youth development Non-Profit, we rely on continued support of donations to keep programing impactful. If this story was significant to you, please considering making a monthly or one time pledge at our Donate-Now page.