Sister act: Auburn girl, Woodcreek wrestler takes after her brothers
Lauren Mason likes to take after her older brothers.
“If they’re going to do it,” she said, “I want to do it, too.”
Like her siblings, Mason went from E.V. Cain Charter Middle School to Woodcreek High — even though her family lives in Auburn.
The parallels don’t stop there, though. Mason, a freshman, has also picked up on wrestling, cross country and track from watching her bros compete in said sports.
Mason, however, in just her first year of wrestling at the high school level has been able to achieve a feat that Austin and Spencer Mason never were able to: She qualified for the state wrestling meet.
So does that give her bragging rights?
“Just a little bit,” she said, with a chuckle
Mason, who wrestles in the 103-pound weight class, advanced to state tournament when she came out victorious in her division at the recent Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Regional Tournament at McNair High in Stockton.
“I was really excited when I found out I was in the finals,” said Mason, who defeated a foe who had previously beaten her and was a senior nonetheless. “I knew I’d get at least second or first.”
But making it to California’s top meet for girls on Feb. 22-23 in Lemoore isn’t Mason’s goal. She’s aiming for a top-three placing in a field of 24.
Her father, Doug, believes she’s ready. But Doug is no ordinary parent/fan. He’s also Woodcreek’s boys and girls wrestling coach.
Interestingly, 100 percent of his female wrestlers advanced to the state meet this season. Doug coaches only two lady wrestlers, but he’s obviously doing something right.
“Recruiting,” he joked.
In all seriousness, Doug is impressed with the skills of both his daughter and her sophomore teammate, Marissa Thomas.
“They work hard,” Doug said. “They deserve it. Both worked really hard.
“Lauren’s a really good overall athlete. It was easy for her to pick up the sport. She also has what us coaches call ‘It.’ She’s a competitor and she has the heart of a champion. She wants to win and she’s willing to work hard to get there.”
Leading up to the state meet, Mason is currently practicing five days a week for about 2.5 hours a day.
Her hard work on the mat also requires a strict diet off of it in order to maintain her weight.
Though she’s craving cheeseburgers, hot dogs and tacos, she’s sticking with chicken, salads, greens and fruits.
“I’m disappointed,” she said of her current eating habits. “For cross country, I could eat whatever I wanted. Now I have to be more careful.”
Despite what seems like a very-time consuming schedule, Lauren also plays soccer and has a 4.0 GPA.
“I do my homework. Sometimes it’s hard,” she said of juggling all that she does. “I don’t normally play a lot of video games like my brothers do. A lot of times I have to prioritize things.”
In the spring, Mason’s hoping to complete a trifecta by also going to the track and field state meet. When the season rolls around, she’ll be participating in the mile, possibly the 4-by-4, long jump and she might even try pole vaulting.
But for now she’s got a big task ahead of her in Lemoore. And she expects her whole family — coach included — to be rooting for her on site. That includes her mom, Carol, who in the beginning didn’t support having her daughter wrestle.
“She didn’t like it at first,” said Lauren, who’s been grappling for four years now. “She didn’t want me to do it. Now she’s fine with and I think she secretly likes it.”
Austin and Spencer approve, too.
“They are totally supportive of Lauren,” Doug said, referring to his sons. “They’re very proud of their little sister. They know a lot of her success is because they helped her.”
Said Lauren: “They’re always saying, ‘I taught her that move!’”
Reach Matthew Kimel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel