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Local wrestler grabs fourth at state tourney

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Owen “O-dog” Edgar finished fourth in the Montana AAU State Wrestling tournament in the 9-10-year-olds, 60 pounds category. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK EDGAR

By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – Last year, Owen “O-dog” Edgar, a then-third grader, set a goal for himself: make it to the state wrestling tournament. Due to the pandemic the tournament was canceled, leaving Owen even hungrier for success this year.   

“Last year my goal was to make it to state,” Owen said. “This year my goal was to place at state.”

On March 21, 10-year-old Owen finished fourth in the Montana Amateur Athletic Union State Wrestling tournament for 9 and 10-year-olds in the 60-pound weight category.

“Last year, I was supposed to go to state for my first time. Then because of COVID that didn’t happen,” Owen said. “So then for my first time going, getting fourth in state that was really cool.”

Owen has been wrestling for three years now and has been practicing at the Bozeman Wrestling Club and attending Ophir Elementary School since moving with his family from New Jersey to Big Sky. Mark Edgar, Owen’s dad, said one day Owen came home to announce that he wanted to wrestle. Mark and his wife, Kara, were surprised by Owen’s choice, which was inspired by the movie “Rocky.” 

Concerned with his safety, Mark’s first instinct was to try and talk him out of it, but he eventually came around. 

“He’s clearly excelled at it and he’s a very disciplined child, so the sport has been a great fit for him,” Mark said.

Wrestling has helped Owen become a goal-oriented and driven young athlete. 

“We’re just really proud of Owen because he did set two goals for himself this year during COVID,” Mark said. “One was to place in the Montana State Tournament and the second was to ski the Big Couloir. It’s just great to see him set goals and then meet them so we’re really proud of him.”

He met his wrestling goals and had to take a rain check on the Couloir this year. Slide-for-life conditions this season merited a conservative decision to wait until next year, but Mark said
the Couloir will definitely be one of Owen’s 2021/22 goals.

Owen’s initial inspiration to pursue the sport came from cinema and now he has a real-world hero, professional wrestler Jordan Burroughs. Owen said he watches Burroughs on TV and does a lot of the same workouts as him.

Owen’s coach, Derry McLane, founded the Bozeman Wrestling Club and has a son who wrestles at Oklahoma State University. The program includes about 75 wrestlers from the
area and Owen makes the trip down the canyon two to three nights a week for 90-minute practices. 

Before Owen asked to wrestle, Kara explained that neither she or her husband had seen a wrestling match before, and she said it was hard to watch their son walk onto the
mat alone. 

“It was an adjustment period for me, just watching the aggression and the technique and learning about the sport, but I am super proud of Owen. He is a very self-driven child,” she said.

Mark echoed Kara saying it is stressful to watch matches but recognizes the
sport’s merit. 

“I’ve come to learn all the great lessons that [wrestling] teaches that athlete,” Mark said.  As an individual sport, there’s no one else to blame for mistakes, he said. 

Mark praised the entire wrestling team for being a supportive community with great sportsmanship. 

“It’s one-on-one, on the mat. I think that translates into a lot of things in life terms of just owning your responsibility, only you know how hard you’ve worked, how hard you’ve trained, how well you’ve prepared for that moment.”

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