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Olympic Wrestlers Help ‘Beat the Streets’ Raise $1.3 Million in Benefit Event

Alejandro Sancho (credit: Robbert Wijtman)

Since its inception in 2005, Beat the Streets has helped thousands of youngsters reach their potential through wrestling programs, youth leagues and a high school girls league. To do that good work, BTS holds a major annual fundraising benefit in New York, which has tradionally taken place at historic venues like Times Square, Madison Square Garden, South Street Seaport and even Grand Central Terminal. The nation’s top wrestlers, including numerous Olympians and World Champions, have competed, raising millions of dollars over 13 annual events.

On Saturday, Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., home of the NHL’s Devils, was added to that impressive list of venues, and for the second straight year, the Beat the Streets benefit also serves as USA Wrestling’s Final X event, determining which athletes in 30 weight classes and styles, will represent the U.S. at the 2023 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 16-24.

And while 29 of those spots were claimed (one was postponed for injury) in spirited competition that left more than 8000 fans thrilled over hours of competition, the real winners were the kids who participate in programs borne from BTS. The record-setting crowd, auction and post event celebration raised more than $1.3 million, the most ever.

“Moving our benefit to Prudential Center was a big factor in making this our largest event, with $1.3 million raised,” said Brendan Buckley, Executive Director of Beat the Streets New York. “The funds raised during this event enable our programs to operate year-round and continue to make a lifelong impact through wrestling on New York City student-athletes.”

Among the men’s freestyle winners were 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder (97 kg), and 2020 Olympic champions Gable Steveson (125 kg) and David Taylor (86 kg), and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist and four-time World champion Kyle Dake (74 kg). Two notable upsets occurred as Zane Richards (57 kg) topped 2021 World champion and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Gilman, and Chance Marsteller (79 kg) dethroned 2016 Olympic champion and six-time World champion Jordan Burroughs.

In women’s freestyle, 2020 Olympic silver medalist and six-time World champion Adeline Gray (76 kg) won just 10 months after giving birth to twins. World champions Jacarra Winchester (55 kg), Dominique Parrish (53 kg) and Amit Elor (72 kg) also claimed victories.

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Two 2020 Olympians led the 10 Greco-Roman winners, as Ildar Hafizov (60 kg) and Alejandro Sancho (67 kg) emerged victorious.

It is the second time the benefit has been held in New Jersey after a virtual event in 2020 in Hoboken. BTSNY held its Annual Benefit at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in 2019 and 2022, and previously at other historic New York locations. The benefit events help BTSNY raise at least $1 million each year to support youth wrestling programs that empower young people in New York City.

Jerry Milani
Written By

Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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