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Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Mackenzie LaForest signed a National Letter-of-Intent with D’Youville University Thursday afternoon, making her the first Waverly girls wrestler to continue her career at the collegiate level.

Referred to as a pioneer for girl’s wrestling at Waverly, it was LaForest who approached the administration in an effort to begin a girls program. She also became a role model for other girls interested in the sport.

LaForest became interested in wrestling as a sixth-grader and compiled a 78-22 record in six years as a Wolverine wrestler, often competing against male opponents.

In her senior season, she was 21-3 in girls matches with two tournament victories and a trio of runner-up finishes.

She won two Section IV titles and was second once, and also had a first and a second at the NYSPHSAA Girls Invitational, as well as a de facto state title with a first-place finish at the N.Y. State Girls Folkstyle Championships her sophomore year.

One of the reasons LaForest chose the Buffalo school is because she believes she will “have a lot of good teammates” as a member of the Saints’ program.

“Their chemistry works pretty well and there are quite a few nurses that are going through the program, so if I ever needed help, I could just ask one of them.

“They have time for us to study, time for us to work out and also wrestle on the side, too.”

LaForest brings the right tools to be a positive addition to the DYU program, according to Waverly coach Devan Witman.

“A tremendous work ethic and and just a very stingy defense,” he said. “One of the things about her is that she's particularly hard to take down, which is going to help her out tremendously. When she hits that next level she's going to be able to stop offenses and get to her own offense.

“Once she gets to that next level, it's not folkstyle wrestling anymore. You're into freestyle and being able to score points from anywhere, whether it's your offense or defense, it’s going to become super important. That's something I think she's prepared to do.”

LaForest is anxious to see where wrestling takes her collegiately, and possibly beyond, such as the Olympics or the professional circuit.

She’s also excited about her beginning a nursing career.

“I'm trying to get my RN but I haven't decided what field I am actually going for,” she said. “I'm thinking maybe x-ray tech or something like that."

LaForest had strong influences to help her choose nursing.

“My mom and I like taking care of kids and stuff,” she said. "I have five younger brothers, so I have to take care of them. And when I was like four, I pretty much was a team nurse for my mom, because me and her, we always put the ointment on my brother's scars and scrapes, and everything so that was probably the main reason why I wanted to become a nurse.”



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