Showing her medal

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Poland’s Kacey McAllister isn’t you’re typical 12-year-old – especially when she’s on the wrestling mat.

POLAND – While many 12-year-old girls were busy sleeping in on a lazy Sunday morning in March, Kacey McAllister was getting ready to, well, rumble.

McAllister, a sixth-grader from Poland who attends school in the Oxford Hills school district, wrestles, and she is very good at it.

“The thing that gets me is her intensity,” said Sheldon Rice, the coach of the Oxford Hills Youth Wrestling Team. “Her focus is to win and do well in every match, no matter who she’s up against.”

The drive and intensity paid off on that Sunday morning in March.

Wrestling a class above her actual weight, McAllister pinned four consecutive opponents in a combined 2 minutes, 59 seconds to claim the gold medal at the New England USGWA Girls Wrestling Championships in Bolton, Mass.

“That was a lot of fun,” said McAllister, who was only at “maybe 110 pounds” when she wrestled up to the 118-pound weight class.

“If she wanted to wrestle in the tournament, because of the way it was set up, she had to go up one,” said McAllister’s mother, Mary Mitchell. “I looked at some of the other girls and was like, oh no.”

But McAllister went up against the bigger – and older – girls, and more than held her own.

She pinned her first opponent, Spirit Souza of Brooklyn, Conn. in just 20 seconds.

“I’ve always wrestled against the boys up here,” said McAllister.

“Boys are a lot tougher than girls, a lot quicker normally, and I have to keep up with them, so it makes it easier when I face girls.”

Her next match against Morgan Wormwood, also of the Oxford Hills Youth Wrestling Team, lasted 34 seconds, and her third match against Pooja Shah of Vallejo, Calif. went 55 seconds.

“I was talking to the coach from California, and he always brings his eighth-graders, and his best ones,” said Mitchell. “So Kacey did well, I think.”

In the final match, McAllister pinned Carrie Armijo, also of California, to claim the gold.

The fact that wrestling seems to come naturally to McAllister is no surprise to anyone in her family. her father wrestled, and her brother has been doing do for five years. This year, her brother wrestled for Oxford Hills’ middle school team, and she hopes to do the same next year as a seventh-grader.

“I got to see my brother’s meets this year, and see the competition a bit,” said McAllister. “They were really fast. I’m not that big, so I am going to have to use technique instead of power.”

Two weeks after her New England experience, McAllister made it to the finals of the state meet, but lost in the final when an injury forced her to stop competing. That, it seems, is the only thing able to do so.

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