Laurence Beauregard is chasing her dream

Laurence Beauregard starting wrestling six years ago. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Laurence Beauregard has won for Concordia, but wants to compete at the Olympics

Laurence Beauregard, a wrestler for the Concordia Stingers, had a successful 2018.

In February, she won bronze at the U Sports nationals in Sault Ste-Marie, Ont. She travelled to Lima, Peru in May for the Pan-American Championships and won silver while representing her country. Most recently, Beauregard was one of three Stingers to medal at the 2018 World University Wrestling Championship in Brazil, winning gold in the 59-kilogram category.

The wrestler from Ville-Émard said she’s happy winning a tournament, and knows there’s room for improvement when she doesn’t. “I was happy [winning bronze at nationals] but I was also disappointed because obviously you lose a match when you win that,” Beauregard said. “But I was happy overall with the rest of my tournament; it was a whole learning experience.”

Beauregard joined the Stingers last season after starting wrestling six years ago at Beurling Academy in Verdun. Her sister was the only girl on the school’s wrestling team, and when Beauregard got to high school, the coach asked her to join the team. At the time, she was a synchronized swimmer and refused, but she eventually decided to quit swimming.

“When I decided to stop swimming, I gave most sports at school a try, and so I joined the wrestling team,” Beauregard said. She also tried rugby, football and basketball, and was already playing competitive soccer. At a certain point, she had to choose her favourite sport, which was wrestling.

laurence beauregard
Even though Beauregard won bronze at nationals last year, the Stingers finished fourth overall. Photo by Cody Spahr/U Sports.

Being physically fit from swimming benefited Beauregard when she transitioned into wrestling. The wrestler also developed good time management skills because of her training with synchro, so she already knew how to balance school and playing a sport.

Now, Beauregard trains twice a day, six times a week, adding up to nearly 30 hours of practice every week. She’s taking three classes this semester, and has to balance her schedule well.

“I try to do my best in school and in my sport,” Beauregard said. “But I would have to say right now wrestling is more my priority because I have a window of opportunities.”

For the past six years, Beauregard has been training with the Montreal Wrestling Club at the George & Eleanor Reinitz Wrestling Centre in Côtes-des-Neiges. Stingers wrestling head coach Victor Zilberman trains wrestlers from the high school level to the university level there, so Beauregard has known him as long as she’s been involved in wrestling.

“It was never really a question of what university I was going to; I knew I was going to Concordia,” Beauregard said. She studied sciences at Vanier, where she was also part of the wrestling team. Originally, Beauregard enrolled in exercise science at Concordia, but a year later, she wants to switch to marketing.

“I love sports so I thought exercise science would be the way to go,” she said. “But doing it hands-on, I didn’t see myself doing it later in life.”

With a potential marketing degree, Beauregard would like to work for organizations that have helped throughout her career as a student-athlete, like Alliance Sport-Études. It’s an organization that helps student-athletes in post-secondary institutions, and Beauregard said she received two bursaries from them.

“I would like to stay with people in sports, but help in a different way than just rehabilitation and exercise science, so maybe do it more from a marketing standpoint,” Beauregard said.

Beauregard’s biggest mentor in her wrestling career has been Martine Dugrenier. She is a physical education teacher at Vanier and an assistant coach with the Stingers, so she’s helped Beauregard a lot through the years. Dugrenier finished fifth at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, and won three gold World Championship medals from 2008 to 2010 in the 63-kilogram weight class.

“I’m lucky that she coaches me sometimes. If she’s at practice, I will go ask her a lot of questions,” Beauregard said. “She’s the one that really got me into wrestling.”

Beauregard said Dugrenier has really helped her develop her strongest tactic, which is leg attacks. Leg attacks, as the name suggests, are when the wrestler takes down their opponent by going after their legs from a standing position. “She was very big on leg attacks,” Beauregard said with a laugh. “Hopefully I’ll have the same wrestling style as she did.”

Like Dugrenier, Beauregard’s dream is to compete in the Olympics. She currently competes in the 59-kilogram weight class, which isn’t an Olympic weight class, so she would need to drop down to the 57-kilogram class.

Beauregard has wrestled for Canada in the past, like at the Pan-American Games and the U-23 Senior World Championships in Bucharest, Romania. Tournaments like these have allowed Beauregard to travel on her own. “Every time it’s a new experience, but you get more used to it, and you learn to deal with your stress better,” she said. “But you still enjoy the magnitude of what it is. I’m just grateful I get these experiences.”

If Beauregard achieves her dream of competing in the Olympics, she might just get to travel to the world.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.

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