TEWKSBURY - Brooke Lightfoot recently made history in the Tewksbury wrestling community this past weekend.
At just 12 years old, she became the first female from the Tewksbury’s Police Athletic League’s Youth Wrestling Program to win the New England Wrestling Tournament Championship.
Lightfoot had a strong showing at the tournament. She won all three matches, one by a pin, and two by decision.
Throughout the weekend, she had to endure tough competition, including beating two girls from Maine.
“It feels good to win,” Lightfoot said.
This is the fifth grader’s second year wrestling overall, which is impressive in of itself.
She learned all she needs to know from two very special people in her life: her two brothers.
Her twin brother Jack wrestles in the same age group as her, while her older brother Danny is a stand-out junior wrestler for TMHS’ Wrestling team.
“I saw my brothers do it, and I wanted to beat them and their friends,” she said laughing. “My older brother helps coach a lot, he tells me what works, and what I can get better on.”
Brooke’s dad Tim Lightfoot was an outstanding running back for TMHS and Westfield State in the 1990s, so it would make sense if he was on board with Brooke trying out wrestling.
“At first I was against it, but she’s improved so much, it’s night and day, it’s definitely more exciting than dance,” he said.
Lightfoot has only competed in between 10 to 15 tournaments, but her mother Maria records every single match, which is important in improving her craft.
“She’s learning to evaluate herself,” said Lightfoot. “It’s great to watch her grow and become passionate about this sport.”
Whether it’s something as small as doing push-ups or running small distances to warmup, or various moves, she takes what she sees from one match and uses it in her following matches.
She also takes in new information from the several coaches she has and the different clubs she wrestles with.
She wrestles in town for the Tewksbury Police Athletic League, as well as DoughBoys Wrestling in Lowell, and also takes part in a wrestling clinic at Harvard University with Jacqueline Davis, who is the Director of Girls Development for Boston Youth Wrestling.
One thing is for sure, Brooke is not bothered by the fact that she plays in a sport dominated by boys.
“I just wanted to beat up on people, because I’m strong,” she said.
Before the New England Meet, Brooke placed second at the boys tournament held in Woburn.
Both Tim and Maria said that the title at the NE Meet has given their daughter the confidence to continue in the sport, which includes taking her to Colorado next month to compete in the Girl’s National Folk Style Tournament as she will represent Massachusetts in the 12U Division.
Before that comes, Brooke will be competing next weekend at the State Tournament at Reading High School.
Maria added that wrestling has helped her daughter in so many different ways on and off the mat.
“Just from seeing boys wrestle, it’s a sport that teaches work ethic, discipline, confidence, and responsibility,” said Maria.
Brooke wants to continue wrestling for as long as she can. “It inspires me to keep going and get better and better,” she said.
She is definitely grateful for every person that’s helped in her success.
“I’m just very thankful for my coaches, parents, and brothers, they’ve helped me a lot.”