Since Grade 9, Mallory Velte has been wrestling. It’s been an unexpected journey for the fourth-year student, who has since made a name for herself with outstanding performances as part of SFU’s wrestling team. For Velte, competitive wrestling defines her life in every aspect.
“I wanted to try wrestling in middle school, but I was told that no girls were allowed on the team,” she said about her first inclinations to take up wrestling. The senior wrestler is originally from Sacramento, and said she’s grateful to be a part of the team at SFU, as she feels women’s wrestling is more welcomed in Canada than in the United States.
“I was in contact with the coach at SFU when I made the team. I thought I was going to be a redshirt in my first year, but I ended up wrestling. I got fourth at the college nationals for my first year,” recollected Velte. She talked about the team’s strong position when she was a freshman, and how she started training for the university nationals that could have qualified her to compete in the World University Championships.
The only thing that stopped Velte was an injury to her ACL, which she had sustained during practice. Velte’s dream to continue fighting for her goals had plummeted. “I had to return home to undergo surgery and recover. It took me nine months to a year to fully recover and start competing again. I redshirted in my sophomore year, finally.”
Velte opened up about the highlights of wrestling at SFU, saying that “Mike Jones, our coach, is the person that I look to for motivation. They have taken me everywhere such as the Olympics with Team Canada, and it’s very beneficial to meet and receive support from Canadian and US wrestling.” There have also been challenges, though: “Funding proved to be tough for non-seasonal events and was hard to get paid for.”
Velte also talked about her psychological struggle post-ACL tear. “I felt most down when I had to watch someone else wrestle and walk to my classes after. Our team also hadn’t performed well that year and not being able to be a part of it was difficult.”
Velte brushed off this specific low-point in her athletic venture to talk about what wrestling meant to her. “It feels pretty natural to be wrestling as a woman, and I think it’s about accepting your body, accepting what you’re capable of.”
Wrestlers are of different sizes and shapes — long, skinny, muscular — and different types — explosive, flexible, funky, or strong. Velte comfortably and quickly remarked, “I think I’m a stocky, explosive wrestler.”
Velte emphasized that there was no specific moment in her life that prompted her to invest her time in wrestling. She explained, “It just kind of came to me. It just feels natural.”
“It feels pretty natural to be wrestling as a woman; it’s about accepting your body, accepting what you’re capable of.”
Velte is also a psychology major who works at a daycare while sticking to her demanding training schedules. “It’s a busy struggle and a lot of responsibility. I also travel a lot because I’m on the US senior national team, so I’m gone almost two weeks a month.” Velte’s regimen comprises strict dietary and sleeping patterns, as well as workouts and practices. “The team has 7 a.m. workouts with a run or practic, and afternoon workouts that consist of a lift or practice depending on the days of the week.”
None of this godly discipline ever throws Velte out of balance, though. “I don’t really think about it. I just wake up and do it every day and now four years have gone by.”
Velte has definitely come a long way since her first year, as she explained the amount of discipline and perseverance she had to develop in herself to stay ahead. “It’s not like I like every workout that I have to do, but my passion drives me forward. Honestly, if I have to go do an extra workout or go study for a midterm, I’d rather work out.”
Her mindset entering a match is always that of excitement. “I like a challenge. The level of competition in the college season is questionable, so I’m always excited to compete with someone who’s better than me.”
Velte expects to wrestle for the next four to eight years minimum. With a vision for the future clear in her head, Velte did have some advice for her younger self: “Enjoy your freedom while it lasts.”
Fun Fact: What would you describe as the most unusual thing that you do?
“I’ve started to listen to books on tape. I think it’s lame, but I’ve started doing that.”