Coach, players volunteer with kids

NYU wrestling has captured its fourth consecutive UAA title this season, but for the Grapplers the season has been about more than just competitive play on the mat. Under the guidance of current assistant coach Gene Kobilansky and former assistant coach Mike Torriero, NYU has paired with local charities and organizations, including Gotham City Wrestling and Beat The Streets, to help give back to the greater New York City wrestling community.

Kobilansky, Stern alumnus and chief operating officer of Gotham City Wrestling, has helped get NYU wrestlers involved in the organization during the year and their offseason.

“We’re trying to bring the whole community of New York City wrestling together,” Kobilansky said.

The organization, which works closely with Beat The Streets, a wrestling charity based out of Manhattan, puts on events for all ages of wrestlers, ranging from postgraduate athletes to underprivileged youth.

“Wrestling, as a sport, is very underrepresented in urban areas, even though it’s a sport that’s cheap and easy to participate in,” Kobilansky said.

GCW has used its website to raise awareness about youth wrestling opportunities in New York City. They cover wrestling events from the middle school level all the way to the college level.

“We want to raise the awareness of what’s going on throughout this little niche community of New York City,” Torriero said.

CAS junior and NYU wrestler Dylan Lojac has volunteered at GCW as well. He touched on the exponential growth of wrestling in New York City, due in part to the organization.

“New York City high school wrestling has traditionally been weaker than the rest of the state, but has had success in recent years,” Lojac said. “Gotham City Wrestling’s ultimate goal is to create a wrestling community in the city, and also to publicize and grow the success of NYC amateur wrestling.”

With the help of Beat The Streets, GCW was able to put on a skills camp over the summer geared toward underprivileged youth who were interested in learning more about wrestling.  Torriero, the founder of GCW, spoke highly of the impact NYU wrestlers had on the camp as counselors.

“They helped set up the camp, and they were counselors at the camp,” Torriero said. “They helped with teaching techniques, working with the kids, playing games, being positive influences, and teaching the fundamentals of the sport.”

Kobilansky shared Torriero’s sentiment, and was thrilled about the way wrestlers he works with on a daily basis have shown interest in what he does away from the team.

“I love how the guys are getting behind it,” Kobilansky said.

Tisch senior wrestler Sam Friedfeld has been heavily involved in the initiative as an intern and counselor at their summer camp, handling both media on their website and doing hands-on work at their camp.

“I love working for GCW because I have the opportunity to give back to wrestling, the sport that opened so many doors for me,” Friedfeld said. “This internship is a great place to learn practical lessons that I will carry with me into the future.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 24 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]




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