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ARES Inspires Excellence On & Off Mat

By Bill X. Barron, 04/26/19, 1:15PM MDT


Top MI team coming to Mt. Rushmore Mayhem

ARES Wrestling Club (MI) Teaches Life Lessons

Will Bring Team(s) to Mount Rushmore Mayhem

By Bill X. Barron, RMN Events Writer

In Greek legend, Ares was the epitome of physical prowess, but more than that he represented danger as an “overwhelming force, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering.” (Burkert, Greek Religion) The modern-day embodiment of these characteristics is found in Western Michigan, where Club Director Owen Scott has developed the ARES Wrestling Club which is now 100 strong.

A 2-time New York State finalist and 2X NHSCA All-American, Owen Scott competed collegiately for Cornell University. While at Cornell, Owen was teammates with 2X NCAA Champion and 4X All-American Gabe Dean. Gabe’s father Dave is a longtime coach and the founder of the National United Wrestling Association for Youth (NUWAY).

In September, 2017, Dave Dean approached Owen and “laid out the way for me to continue my involvement through the NUWAY connections and vision. He presented me with a great opportunity to grow as a person. MYWAY in Michigan is family-oriented, just like my home in upstate New York. Parents here want someone who truly cares, who is involved with and wants to guide their kids.”

That initial vision has rapidly swelled into a network of connected clubs in Western Michigan, where Owen busily rotates between locations in Grand Rapids, Forest Hill, Balding, Grandville, and Lowell. He envisions incorporating areas in Eastern Michigan as well. For the 2018 NUWAY Grand River Rumble in Lansing, ARES brought nine full teams in all divisions, boys and girls. Owen comments: “Good kids attract other good kids.”

Owen’s goal, along with Dave’s, is to “keep the talent home in Michigan. Kids need to time to figure out college options,” says Owen who also serves as an assistant coach at Division II Davenport (MI).

His mission is to “develop kids, teaching them lessons learned through participation. We embrace personal responsibility, teach kids to get the job done, and hold to the idea that win or lose you stay committed. Ares, the Greek god of war, represents sacrifice. Put yourself in tough situations. You are not born a winner – it is developed through effort and in one’s attitude.”

To continue their development, Coach Scott has implemented a long-term camp system which “attracts kids from all over the country, not only for their own growth, but also to expose our Michigan kids to the best wrestling. NUWAY is crazily busy creating amazing opportunities for kids. I can’t thank Dave Dean enough for his faith in me; I am just glad to be part of it.”

Coach continues: “We also believe in travel; our kids are seeing the country and being exposed to college environments.” Beyond high school, himself an Ivy League graduate, Owen is dedicated to “growing future Ivy League wrestlers. You can’t beat a total college experience like Cornell: a top-tier education and a top-ten NCAA Division I wrestling program.”

Owen’s philosophy is based on “not achieving everything I wanted to do in wrestling. I understand the mindset of a competitor. Proper preparation and just going in and battling are essential to winning. It’s most difficult to win when you are in a tight match. Wrestlers need to learn HOW to compete, how to be fearless. A good coach is a teacher. Wrestling is more than learning technical moves. You need to know how to react and respond in every position – and how to respond with a long series of reactions.”

Coaching for Scott is “a continuation. Our goal is to make football dads into wrestling dads. Once involved, they will invest more and more into the program. There are more year-round clubs now, as wrestlers get more serious. Women’s participation is huge now, especially in MYWAY. You can’t just focus on the studs. You want kids to compete throughout their lives.”

His larger philosophy, states Owen, is “to change society on a micro level. I have a unique chance to witness kids growing up. They inspire me with what they will bring to society in general.” In terms of wrestling, this means that “wrestling is not just an individual sport; it teaches life lessons. Are you a competitor? Do you find a way to win?                

Owen Scott (R), competing for Cornell University, Madison Square Garden 2017