July 1, 2014 | This past June our very own Marcie Van Dusen received the prestigious Woman of the Year award from USA Wrestling, the United States national governing body for wrestling. The award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sport of wrestling, is among the highest honors given by USA Wrestling.
A Southern California native, Marcie began a distinguished wrestling career competing in youth USAW and CAGWA wrestling events in the inland empire of Los Angeles and culminated in Beijing, China as a member of the 2008 US Olympic Team in Women’s Freestyle Wrestling.
As a leader and mentor to a new generation of women wrestlers, Marcie has played an instrumental role in the recent growth of women’s wrestling in the United States. In addition to her role at Beat the Streets – Los Angeles (BTSLA) as Program Coordinator, she currently serves as the women’s coach for the San Marino, Ca based Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, a national elite club for wrestlers on the Senior and age group levels.
“Marcie is having an impact at every age level and every experience level. She brings the same passion for wrestling to coaching a youngster as she does to a world class athlete. The teenagers that Marcie coaches through BTSLA absolutely love her, and it’s not because she was an Olympian or the Head Coach of a National Championship Women’s Freestyle Team. They love her because she is dedicated and committed to them when they walk in the room.” -Andy Barth, Founder and President of the Board of Directors of BTSLA and Founder of Titan Mercury Wrestling Club.
Recognizing a gap in the opportunities for young women wrestlers, Marcie founded the MVD High Altitude Wrestling Camps, an all girls wrestling camp in Lake Arrowhead, Ca which attracts young women from all over California and as far as Canada. Always looking for new opportunities for young girls who wrestle today she was a driving force in the development of BTSLA’s Angel City Grand Prix, an all girls wrestling tournament dedicated to growing women’s youth wrestling in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. In her commitment to the sport at all levels Marcie serves as the sport representative for wrestling on the US Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Advisory Council and is a member of USA Wrestling’s Women’s Sport Committee.
“I couldn’t think of a more deserving person for Woman of the Year than Marcie Van Dusen. Marcie has given her time and effort to female wrestlers of all ages and skill levels. I have watched her travel up and down her home state of California, around the country and around the world giving back to women and the sport she loves.” -Mike Duran, Director of Women’s Wrestling for California / USA Wrestling
BTSLA Executive Director Yero Washington emphasized the value Marcie brings beyond the mat as a mentor to youth wrestlers, “The passion and commitment Marcie has shown to the sport of wrestling as an athlete, coach and ambassador has paved the way for current and future generations of women to feel a sense of empowerment and belief in what’s truly possible.”
Karina Del Toro who is a Regional Mentor for After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles (a partner of BTSLA) spoke to the grace Marcie brings in her weekly interactions with the youth, “She is an amazing person. Her upbeat and positive personality has allowed her to connect with each and every one of her youth wrestlers in our after-school programs. It’s clear that her drive and dedication has transferred to everyone around her.”
Upon being named USA Wrestling Woman of the Year Marcie shared “I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work with the next generation of wrestlers. I believe wrestling brings out the best in kids it teaches them to work hard, take responsibly for their actions, work as a team and helps them see the value of health and fitness. I love to see the positive change in kids when they commit to the sport because I know it will leave a lasting impression on their future.”