You won’t find Lauren Mason chickening out of a wrestling match with her brothers. Now, what started off as playful sibling rivalry, recently earned the E.V. Cain Middle School seventh-grader, second place in the 95-pound weight-class at the California Middle School Girls Wrestling State Championships. “It was really cool to know I was getting a medal. It was really exciting,” Lauren said. “I’ve been around wrestling for a long time. My brothers and dad do it, so I feel like I have stuff in common with them.” Lauren’s dad Doug Mason is the wrestling head coach at Woodcreek High School in Roseville. Both of her brothers, Spencer and Austin, went on to have impressive careers grappling for the Timberwolves. While some of Lauren’s talent may come naturally to her, the road to a silver medal has been paved with hard work and tenacity. During the school wrestling season, she spent five days a week practicing and went to tournaments on Saturdays with her E.V. Cain team. E.V. Cain coach Ken Yunk said even as one of the few girls in the program, most of the matches Lauren wins are against boys. “She is flat out one of the toughest kids around. She is pretty well-rounded. She is cute and funny and smart and could kick your butt all together,” Yunk said. “She legitimately fits in anywhere in the line-up. I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t win 95 percent of her league matches.” Leading up to the club-based middle school state championships, Lauren began practicing at Crazy Wolf Wrestling Club in Roseville, under her dad’s tutelage. During those two-months they worked on honing Lauren’s already sharp skills and had some fun. Her workout partner, Silverado Middle School eighth-grader Marissa Thomas, took fourth-place at state championships in the 99-pound weight class. The two have not only challenged each other on the mat, but have become good friends. Mason said he is proud of Lauren’s progression in the sport over the years. “Often I would take on the boys and she would readily jump in. The boys started teaching her the basics and she just took to it,” Mason said. “There are many great memories about how she has handled herself in battle and her attitude toward all of this.” Lauren’s composure on the mat has also stood out to him. He remembered one instance where her focus paid off in a heated tournament match. “The boy she was wrestling didn’t like the fact that he was losing. He started to do some things that were just to inflict pain and was pushing her in the face and eyes,” Mason said. “Lauren just kept her cool and went out and wrestled like she had been coached. She ended up pinning the guy.” Her conditioning doesn’t just take place at wrestling practice. Lauren also plays soccer and runs track and cross-country. Yunk said that cross-training probably makes her a better athlete all-around. Lauren said after next year she would probably continue to wrestle competitively in high school. Yunk said if she does he could see her doing well at 103-pounds. Mason said many of her qualities make her a dream to coach. “Coaching her is very easy and rewarding. She is very coachable. She listens well. She learns extremely fast,” Mason said. “She is very aggressive and not afraid and most of all she is very tough on the mat.” Reach Sara Seyydin at firstname.lastname@example.org.