HELENA – She is not the biggest wrestler in Montana, but Taylor Lay is definitely one of the best.
The 10-year-old 65-pounder recently laid waste to the competition at the Flo Reno World Wrestling Championships in Reno, Nev., and it was an experience her and her family will never forget.
“During the match I was like, ‘Don’t get pinned, don’t get pinned, don’t get pinned,'” said Taylor. “Then after I was really excited. My cousin was there, so the ride home was really fun and I thought it was a really fun learning experience.”
“I think I was probably more nervous, but she had that cool calm, she was focused,” said Taylor’s dad and coach, Jason. “She probably kept me a little bit calmer than maybe I would have been without her there.”
Jason should probably get used to that kind of excitement, because Taylor will be back in another championship before too long. She is a natural who is focused on dominating on the mat.
“When my son first started, she wanted to help me coach,” said Jason. “She helped me coach tee-ball, and I said, ‘I don’t know. Why don’t you just watch with your mom?’ A month into the season, going into these tournaments she came to me and said, ‘Dad, I want to wrestle’. So we went to the secondhand store and bought her a pair of wrestling shoes. She’s been a lot of fun ever since.”
“I’ve been wrestling for a while, and I think I did well because I have a great coach, great coaches, a great team and practice partners,” said Taylor.
That all helped her bring home the latest trophy, but the young champion’s greatest attribute has to be her drive to be the best.
“She is so coachable, she’s like running a joystick,” said Jason. “When I’m coaching her from the side of the mat, I think I could tell her to do a somersault before she shot, and she’d do a somersault before she shot — super coachable, and her confidence is unreal. She goes into every match with confidence. She’s the one that’s going to win that match. It’s tough. I mean, wrestling is a mental sport, and she definitely has that part down.”
“Keep going to practice, keep getting better, keep learning from my mistakes,” Taylor added.
Sounds like a champion mindset. And if she keeps it up, there could be many more trophies in Taylor’s future.
“When I grow up I want to be an Olympian wrestler, because I really enjoy the sport and I feel as if I could compete at that level,” said Taylor with a smile.
“It’s awesome. Girls wrestling is growing leaps and bounds. I think it’s awesome. It’s a fun sport. Let’s give everyone a chance to compete,” the champion’s dad added.