Mullins wrestles to sixth in Canada

Dislocated shoulder but still qualified

Shannon Mullins was the only athlete to represent Queen’s at this year’s national wrestling championships in Saskatoon last weekend.

She finished sixth overall but won her third match, her first win at the national level.

It was Mullins’ third consecutive trip to the nationals and her second as the only Queen’s wrestler to
qualify. She earned her way in by winning the bronze medal in the 55kg category at the provincial
championships last month.

In that bronze medal game, Mullins dislocated her shoulder in the first round against Lesley McCallum of Western, but stayed in the match and came back to win the next round. She pinned McCallum
in the third and deciding round to win the medal and secure a spot in Saskatoon.

“It was tough but it felt really good,” Mullins said. She was happy about notching her first win at nationals. “This is only my third year wrestling, so it’s been a really big building year,” she said.

“It was starting to come together, but I just couldn’t quite capitalize on things. My first two matches
were really long, and I fought hard.

[Then] I won my first match ever at CI’s, and it only lasted 15 seconds, so that was a nice way to end it.”

She said the whole weekend was a great learning experience. “I just picked up a lot of different techniques and I got to wrestle a lot of different fighters, so it was good.”

Head coach Marcus Nieman said he was pleased with Mullins’ progress over the past few seasons.
“For three years of wrestling, she’s made really great gains. Not many people can come into a sport, and in three years, be one of the top wrestlers in Ontario in her weight class, and in the top six in Canada,” he said. “She’ll keep making those gains. That’s the nice thing about her; she’s continually learning and she has a great amount of heart.” He said he was particularly impressed with her perseverance after her injury at provincials. “A lot of us would have just walked away there, and said ‘I’ll take fourth,’ but she knew it was pretty important for our team, so she toughed it out.”

Mullins used to compete for Canada in judo and was coaching the Queen’s judo club when Neiman asked her to try wrestling.

“I just really wanted to have some training, and I’ve always been interested in it,” she said. “The judo obviously helps out with the wrestling, but it’s a different challenge, and there’s a lot of techniques and things that are different in judo, so it’s really good to build on both sports.”

Nieman said the whole team had a solid season. “Everyone wrestled really well. … Other coaches were saying how impressed they were with the way everyone wrestled. We made a lot of gains this year, especially with our men’s team. I predict next year we’ll see more men making it to [nationals], and medaling at [provincials].”

Mullins, who hopes to return to Queen’s for teacher’s college next year, was also pleased with her
team’s achievements this year. “Most people should be back next year, so building on that, we should have a really strong team next year. I’ve gained a lot of experience, and it’s been really positive.”

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