KANSAS CITY, Mo. — St. James Academy sophomore wrestler Cade Lautt is becoming quite a fearsome force on the mat. He's won three straight wrestling matches at Derby, Basehor-Linwood and, most recently, at Platte County.
Cade defeated Platte County's Dakota Schmidt in the Platte County Invitational on Jan. 20 to win the individual title in the 182-pound weight division 5-1.
He knows that it's not just being strong physically on the mat, but also mentally preparing for the challenge of facing stiff competition night in and night out.
"Coach [Mike] Medina, he helps us a lot with preparing mentally," Cade said. "I mean, he makes it easy on us to try to alleviate the pressure."
182: 1st Place Match - Cade Lautt (St. James) 20-2 won by decision over Dakota Schmidt (Platte County) 29-8 (Dec 5-1)
St. James Academy Wrestling Head Coach Mike Medina has been part of the program ever since the school opened in 2005. In the 13 years he's been head coach, the school has won numerous Kansas state championships individually and as a team. He acknowledges that while Cade is still young, he has a chance to be one of the best he's ever coached.
"He's right up there [as one of the best] for the grade, being a sophomore," Medina said. "We had a four-time state champ years ago – Ryan Coakley, his [Cade's] brother, Andrew Tujague. We've had a number of state champs. They're all a little bit different. What I look for is, was where were they at that age? [Cade's] right with them or maybe above some of them."
Cade is 20-2 overall in matches this year and he's looking to improve from last year's 6th place finish at the Kansas Class 5A state wrestling tournament in Wichita. His brother Clay Lautt also wrestled for St. James Academy and was a 3-time state champion. Clay now wrestles for the University of North Carolina wrestling team.
Wrestling runs deep in the Lautt family. Cade may admit that at times, there may be the urge to outdo and even surpass what his brother did at St. James Academy. However, he realizes that he has to run his own race.
"It's a little hard not trying to compare myself to Clay a lot of times when a lot of people do," Cade said. "But, I mean, we're different sizes, for our age, for how old we are. But, I don't know. I just try to keep working hard."
Coach Medina also tries to get Cade to shift his focus to just being who he is and not chasing his brother's shadow.
"They both are hard workers. They've worked for everything they got. They're both very strong kids. They do all the extra things," Medina said. "One of the biggest things I try to work with Cade is not looking to live up to his brother. Cade's his own person. He's got a different style that he wrestles. The heart is the same. He's got the same work ethic.
"But, just because his brother won three titles, his brother took sixth as a freshman also then won those three titles. It doesn't mean that when he's done with high school, if he doesn't win three titles that he hasn't had a successful career."
NOTE: The Hy-Vee 41 Five-Star Athlete of the Week segment airs every Wednesday night during the 10 p.m. sportscast for the entire school year.