Friesen hunting hardware
Mia Friesen has been making a meteoric rise up the wrestling ranks in Canada.
This past year, she won the Ontario University Athletics and U SPORTS 56-kilogram championships, was named the outstanding female wrestler at U SPORTS championship, was Brock’s female athlete of the year, came third at senior nationals, won under-23 national team trials and captured a silver medal at the Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid July 7-9.
The 57-kilogram silver in Madrid was a big moment for the 21-year-old St. Catharines resident.
“At the Spanish Grand Prix, I was wrestling on my birthday, it was nice outside and I was having a good time. Remembering that I was having a good time it was, ‘This isn’t my job. I’m not there because this is my nine to five. I am here because I love it, I’m passionate about it and I have fun.’ That kind of got me through the whole day and with that kind of mindset I felt that I let myself be an athlete instead of a wrestler trying to perfect every move that I was doing. I went out and wrestled my heart out.”
At the end of the day when she was getting congratulated for her performance, the third-year Brock student came to a realization about what she has just done.
“I am trying to take myself and everything that is happening a little less seriously. I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself and I make up pressure from everyone else that is really not there.”
In Spain, she lost the gold medal match to Bulgaria’s Evelina Nikolova.
“She beat me on little things. She knew what she was doing and I was just going in there fighting. She had the experience on me and she was just better,” Friesen said. “It really sucked to lose because there were times when I thought I had her and I thought I was getting it. In the midst of that loss, I learned a lot about myself and a lot about what I can make happen in the near future. It was an Olympic bronze medalist who I lost 10-6 to and I am on my way there.”
She knows what the next steps are to get to another level as a wrestler.
“I feel confident in who I am as an athlete and it is just wrestling around the world now and continuing to wrestle people other than the six people I wrestle in Canada. The more times I get to travel internationally and wrestle Europeans and go to training camps the better.”
Her next taste of international competition will be at the under-23 world trials at a yet-to-be-determined location at the end of October.
The Governor Simcoe alumnus needed only one match to win the under-23 trials.
“I weighed in at 8 a.m. and didn’t wrestle again until 6 p.m.,” she said, with a laugh.
She defeated Gabriella Cross of the Dinos Wrestling Club 10-0 in the final. It was the same score she had beaten Cross by in the U SPORTS final.
Frisesen was eighth at junior worlds in 2022, losing 3-1 in the quarter-finals to an opponent who made the final. Because of that she was back in the tournament and she lost 4-1 in her repechage match.
“I feel a lot more technically ready for the under-23s and I feel a lot more confident in myself. I am ready to go and bring back some hardware.”