Sara McLaughlin Never Gives Up

All-American wrestler Sara McLaughlin is making history in a male-dominated sport


Sara McLaughlin is a member of the SHS varsity wrestling team

Matthew Dunn, Contributing Writer

On a chilly weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, SHS freshman Sara McLaughlin found herself competing with some of the best female wrestlers in the nation once again. The previous year, as an eighth grader attending Gates Middle School, she acquired a waiver, allowing her to enjoy her debut season wrestling for the Scituate varsity wrestling team. At that time, she fought all the way to become an All-American–even before taking a single high school class. 

Recently, McLaughlin became a 2x Girls All-State Champion at her respective weight class–along with being the first girl to win sectionals in Massachusetts at a weight other than 106. 

An unstoppable force, McLaughlin was truly up to the test of facing the best in the entire country. But how would she end up? 

Along with three other girls from Massachusetts, McLaughlin flew out to Nebraska accompanied by her father Brian and two other coaches from New England. The competition took place in Baxter Arena, Omaha’s hockey rink, with 12 mats filling the arena and hundreds of spectators watching the event. 

Already an All-American, earning 7th place at nationals last year, McLaughlin’s goal heading into this year’s tournament was to get Top 5 this time. The tables turned when she was in her semi-final match of the tournament, and she pinned the opposition, which put her into the finals. Now she was going for the gold. 

Going into the third period of the finals match, McLaughlin was down 4-5 against her opponent. She needed to score before time ran out, so she went for a single-leg takedown. Her opposition fought back. During the takedown, McLaughlin realized if she got it, she would secure a national title. Driving through and finishing, McLaughlin punished her opponent for the remaining 20 seconds of the match and won the finals in a close 6-5 score. 

McLaughlin’s initial reaction was a wave of disbelief, saying to herself, “Did that really just happen? I was so amazed.” After the realization set in, she shed tears of joy. 

McLaughlin’s dedication and impressive work ethic are undeniable: Wrestling year-round at clubs all over the state and competing in tournaments throughout the country shaped her into the wrestler she is today. 

Kevin King, head coach of Scituate Wrestling, shared some meaningful sentiments about McLaughlin as a wrestler, saying her “mental toughness is what separates her from the competition.” According to King, “She has an unbreakable will, and takes opponents into deep waters and drowns them with her conditioning and pressure.”

In a sport where they say everything is mental, this is key to her success. 

When asked how it feels to make history, McLaughlin responded by saying, “It feels pretty yummy.” This says a lot about her personality as a goofy and carefree freshman. Just meeting her, you’d never expect the beating she hands out on the mat. 

However, the battle doesn’t stop at becoming the best in the nation–this April, McLaughlin is flying to Washington State, where the world team is hosting its tryouts, and she will attempt to secure a spot. 

Wanting to leave readers with one final remark, McLaughlin commented, “Never give up, and don’t hold back. Titles don’t mean anything, and you still gotta work hard because you can always improve.”