NYC Beat the Streets hosted youth clubs from Philadelphia and Baltimore as a warm up for several junior and senior level matches versus Iran, Canada and Korea. Wrestling in Times Square is crazy with the surrounding sensory stimulus. While Times Square doesn’t resemble its former self of a generation ago, the streets are lined with chain stores that you could find in any major city, it’s the crowds of people, vehicles and sounds that separate this venue from any other. I’ve never talked to an American wrestler that didn’t like wrestling here. EMS vehicles go driving by sirens wailing oblivious to the fact that some of the best wrestlers in the world are going at it just a few feet away. Due to the Olympic cycle America had fewer senior level wrestlers participate this year. The weather was better this year, warmer with no precipitation at all.
The action on the mat was fantastic. These athletes were able to focus in the midst of chaos. It is hard to train for this event because it’s unlike any other in the world that I know of. The warm up area is at the NYC Athletic club, not in a room next to the mat. Then the athletes fight traffic to get mat side and stand next to a crowd that is pushing forward to get as close to the mat as possible. The Iranian team was changing just behind the wrestling area. The headliner for Team USA is Jordan Burroughs. Burroughs gets a lot of attention deservedly. I still think that he’s under appreciated. This guy has changed so much as a wrestler and person during his senior level run that it’s amazing. The one thing that I think gets over looked about JB is mental toughness. This guy will walk through fire or a broken ankle to win. He gives a ton of credit to coach Manning for feeding his confidence but this guy is special in a way that pro sports athletes aren’t. Burroughs has a target on his back in America and overseas. He doesn’t get the preferential league and referee treatment that Mike Jordan or Peyton Manning get. In fact I’m sure that he’s lost more controversial points for being American than he’s gained when competing at worlds and in London. Fans in Russia and Iran love this guy but their wrestling federations don’t, politics is the same everywhere. Burroughs seems to start off his matches probing and assessing his opponent looking for weakness and openings. His opponent Yarahmadi did a great job blocking Burroughs until the late stages of the match when Burroughs flipped on his aggressive switch and tried to end the match with a tech fall. Yarahmadi did a good job slowing Burroughs down and holding him to a regular decision.
This is the seventh year that Beat the Streets has held this event. Greco big man Robbie Smith was the emcee during the headline matches pushing the fundraising aspect of this event. There were several standouts for America, J’Den Cox continues to get better and impress. If he can master freestyle rules and get more disciplined about the rules, he gave up step out points far to easily, he’ll be a threat for a medal in Brazil.
If you are in the area put this on your list of places to see wrestling next spring.
Click on the match links for highlights and post match interviews.
Beat the Streets “United In The Square”
Greco-Roman 75 kg/165 lbs. – Kim Hyeon-Woo (Korea) dec. Andy Bisek (USA), 3-0. Hyeon-Woo is a Olympic and World Champion and controlled the tie-ups very effectively. These guys may see each other in Brazil so I’m not sure if they showed us all their attacks during this match. You can’t give it all away 3 months before the biggest competition.
Women’s 53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis (USA) pin Samantha Stewart (Canada), 2:41. Maroulis, the existing world champion at 55kg has looked almost untouchable since her NWCA All Star match November 2014. She looks like the weight cut from the 55kg to the Olympic weight class of 53kg hasn’t adversely affected her. She put on a show for the crowd.
Women’s 75 kg/165 lbs.– Adeline Gray (USA) tech. fall Justina Di Stasio (Canada), 11-0. You can make the case that Gray is the best female wrestler in American history. 75kg isn’t as stacked with competition as some of the lower weights, nonetheless Gray showed that she can handle an opponent that is just blocking her. She figured out Di Stasio, even though she had clearly done some game planning, and ended the match with strong technical superiority. Her post match speech to the crowd got everyone pumped to support BTS and senior level wrestlers.
Junior men’s freestyle 55 kg/121 lbs. – Daton Fix (USA) tech. fall Kheyrollah Ghahramani (Iran), 14-3. Fix is my favorite high school wrestler. This kid goes anywhere and everywhere to wrestle the toughest guys around. Fix got it going early and late. He’s got slick technique from neutral, nasty gut and is deceivingly strong. After this he’s got a 2 day turnaround to wrestling the Junior team trial in Texas. He’s looking at Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Penn State currently. Whoever gets this guy is getting as close to a sure thing as possible.
Junior men’s freestyle 60 kg/132 lbs. – Mitchell McKee (USA) dec. Peiman Biabani (Iran), 8-8. Interesting match. McKee won on criteria, a beautiful 4-point single leg counter throw.
Junior men’s freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. – Mark Hall (USA) dec. Ahmad Bazrighaleh (Iran), 8-5. Hall looks so comfortable in every position it’s hard to tell if he’s in trouble or about to score. Even though he’s wrestled a lot of freestyle I think when he gets to the senior level and is exclusively freestyle his positions will greatly improve, scary to consider for his opponents. There has been lots of speculation about Hall and Penn State’s crowded lineup. He told me that he’s going to be in State College for summer classes in late June.
Junior men’s freestyle 84 kg/185 lbs. – Mojtaba Goleij (Iran) dec. Zahid Valencia (USA), 10-1. This match was puzzling – Goleij is a Junior World Champion and had great position throughout the match but Valencia was gassed early and didn’t have a great match. Valencia was up 1-0 and then gave up 10 straight points. Wow
Men’s freestyle 86 kg/189 lbs. – J’Den Cox (USA) dec. Meisam Mostafa Joukar (Iran), 10-5. Cox dominated the match more than the score would indicate. He appeared to be able to score at will. He also gave up easy step out points when he shouldn’t have. Look for him to be in the running for a medal in Brazil if his freestyle awareness improves.
Men’s freestyle 74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Pehman Yarahmadi (Iran), 11-2. Iran put a game youngster on the mat to face Burroughs. He was able to block and keep his hips very low for most of the match. Once Jordan’s brain analyzed Yarahmadi’s position and style he started pouring it on in the second half of the 3rd period. You can tell that he loves putting on a show for the fans and he was a few seconds away from a tech but settled for an 11-2 final.
Mark Hall post event interview
Daton Fix post event interview
PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Finals
Brooklyn Tech 30, Truman 22
117 –Adalix Siri (Brooklyn Tech – 12th) dec. Natasha Padilla (Truman-11th), 10-5
121 – Jessica Lau (Brooklyn Tech) pin Patricia Booth (Truman -10th)
139 – Michael Samuel (Brooklyn Tech – 12th) pin Lusia Perez (Truman – 11th)
148 – Shannon Zheng (Brooklyn Tech – 11th) pin Zandora Blyden (Truman – 12th)
159 – Kiara Rice (Brooklyn Tech – 11th) pin Dasia Smithjordan (Truman – 11th)
172 – Nia Crossdale (Truman-11th) pin Wenley Ma (Brooklyn Tech – 12th)
198 – Shaniece Hunter (Truman-12th) by forfeit
255 – Shanique Reid (Truman – 12th) by forfeit
105 – Pearl Fletcher (Truman-11th) pin Crystal Siew (Brooklyn Tech – 11th)
112 – Aileen Gonzales (Brooklyn Tech – 12th) pin Femi Brown (Truman-9th)
130 – Katrin Okalyukhin (Brooklyn Tech – 11th) dec. Collette Hamilton (Truman – 11th), 10-6as
Beat the Streets Youth Matches
Shamelle Sinclaire, BTS-NY pin Tiarra Andrews, BTS-Philadelphia, 1st period
Shamella Sinclaire, BTS-NY tech. fall Jailyn Reedy, BTS-Baltimore, 10-0
Clement Woods, BTS-Baltimore, pin Jack Reusing, BTS-NY, 2nd period
Jayden Cardenas, BTS-NY dec. Kyree Brisco, BTS-Baltimore, 14-6
Angel Garcia, BTS- Philadelphia, pin Joe Perez, BTS-NY, 1st period
Josh Laubach, BTS-Baltimore, pin Demitrius Henry, BTS-NY, 2nd period
Jake Barry, BTS-NY dec. Ron Palmer, BTS-Philadelphia, 14-11
Edwin Morales, BTS- Philadelphia tech. fall Simon Chee, BTS-NY, 21-8
Leo Rabinovich, BTS-NY tech. fall Ernest Holland, BTS-Philadelphia, 10-0