Emma McLaughlin has won bronze in the high school provincial championship.
The Grade 11 student is the first female from LCCVI to make it to OFSSAA in wrestling in seven years. And it’s been a lot longer than that since a Lancer has made the podium.
But still, McLaughlin is a little disappointed.
“It’s not what I wanted,” she says.
This is McLaughlin’s first year on the wrestling team. She thought it would be a good way to improve her ground skills for her other passion, mixed martial arts fighting.
She made the team and soon, she was hooked.
“After the second practice of the year I thought ‘I need to go to OFSSAA and I need to win.’ I was obsessed with it.”
McLaughlin even told her coaches “I’m going to take you guys to OFSSAA.”
And she trained hard. The Petrolia teen found she loved wrestling so much she joined the Sarnia Bluewater Wrestling Club to get more time on the mat.
And she trained hard. “I was running sprints in the cold on Christmas Day to train because I wanted that gold,” she says.
It wasn’t easy. In MMA fighting, you try to stay on your back to avoid being choked out, says McLaughlin. In wrestling, you have to end up on your stomach or you’ll be pinned – McLaughlin says she took a little time and was pinned a couple of times, before she clicked into wrestling mode.
There were lots of good signs McLaughlin would do well at OFSSAA.
She had already won bronze in the 67.5 weight class at a provincial meet with the Sarnia club. At OFSSAA in Brampton, she had a buy in the first round before making it into the bronze medal round where she won.
While McLaughlin graciously accepts congratulations for her accomplishment, she says in her heart she feels like she missed out on gold. “I didn’t get it this year but I’ll get it next time,” she says adding she will use it “for motivation next year.”
“I’m obsessed. I’m going to do everything I can to win. I know I can.”