Over the weekend of Feb. 26 and 27, Silver Lake Regional sophomore Lindsay Laws became the State Titleholder in the 160lb weight class for girls wrestling after besting her opponents at the MIAA Wrestling Tournament.
Laws, who also plays soccer for Silver Lake, has been wrestling since seventh grade though she didn’t wrestle in her first live match until just last year. Laws’ brother Grant is a Division I State Heavyweight Champion who started his career at Silver Lake before winning his title for Xaverian Brothers High School in 2019. Laws credits her brother with sparking her interest in the sport. “He would always wrestle me in the living room; I would pretend that I hated it, but I didn’t actually hate it,” she laughed. “I’ve always just been kind of fiery,” she added.
Laws said that her parents recognized talent within her and encouraged her to pursue wrestling. Initially Laws said she was hesitant as she was worried that she would be judged for being a girl in what has traditionally been a male dominated sport. Attending the MIAA Tournament in 2019 when her brother won his title and seeing the girls wrestling competitively, helped to assuage those fears. “I thought it was so cool; wow – look at all those girls that are wrestling,” Laws explained.
In seventh grade Laws began training at Dungeon Training Center in Lakeville. Laws, who has practice or a meet for Silver Lake five days a week, also attends Dungeon twice weekly on Sunday and Tuesday. After her school practice on Tuesday, she heads to Dungeon for an additional two hours of training. Laws wrestles 12 months a year, upping her training sessions to four times per week in the off season. Of her practices at Silver Lake, she said, “The practices were run well; the coaches did a really good job, and I learned a lot this season.” She credits much of her success to the Silver Lake coaches including head coach Wayne Reissfelder and assistant coaches Alex Rollins, Jake MacDonald, and John Frieburger. Laws said that Reissfelder was a huge part of her brother Grant’s success as well. Laws’ mother Lauren said, “I am proud of Lindsay for making the goal of winning a state championship this year and being coachable, studying wrestling through film and working hard with multiple workouts per day and achieving this goal.”
Laws, who mostly wrestled boys during the regular season, went into the MIAA Tournament as the number one seed so she didn’t have any matches on Saturday. She had to best two opponents, however, during Sunday’s meet. Laws faced Olivia Agudelo from Agawam High School first. No points were earned by either opponent during the first period of the match. “We were both working; it was just a tough mutual period… nothing really finished,” she explained. Her father Gordon noted that she had to defend a strong head-and-arm attempt during that first period. Agudelo had the choice for the start of the second period and chose to be on the bottom. Laws pinned her 30 seconds into the two-minute period and secured her spot in the finals. Her father credited her skilled top game for securing her the win.
She next faced Kennedy Kampe of Shepherd Hill Regional High School in the final round. “I got the first takedown in that match, so I was on top and about 15 seconds into me being on top, she actually caught me in a roll and I was on my back and I had to fight off my back,” Laws explained. “I reversed her and got back on top and was able to pin her from that position,” she continued. Of the short but action-packed match, Laws said her parents called it “the longest minute and 39 seconds of their lives.”
Laws’ father Gordon said of his daughter’s mistake, “rather than freak out or give up, she worked herself free, executed a reverse, and then moved for a pin. The combination of perseverance through hard times and the moves to capitalize when in a better position came from a season of tough matches against quality boy opponents.”
He continued, “Not being discouraged and making small gains with each match are the things I’m proudest of; those are the things that add up to success in all fields in life.” Laws’ mother Lauren shared a similar sentiment saying, “One of my favorite things about wrestling is anything can happen in a match, it is unpredictable like life… In order to persevere and get on the podium at a state championship requires handling all of the different scenarios any wrestler can bring.”
Laws said the magnitude of the win keeps hitting her in waves. In the moments following her victory, she hugged her coaches and then sprinted into her father’s arms.
“I wanted to stay humble because the other girl put up a good fight,” she explained. Laws said she was overcome with joy and grateful that all her hard work had paid off. Laws, who described feeling both joy and relief, said she was grateful for the outcome as the match could have easily ended differently. She emphasized how grateful she is for the love and support of her parents, siblings, and foster sister. She also expressed gratitude for all her coaches. Laws’ mother said of her daughter, “Lindsay’s determination, confidence, and strength is an inspiration to me.” Just as Laws drew inspiration from the older wrestlers all those years ago, there is no doubt that she is now serving as a role model for all the young girls who watched her take home the title.