Senior varsity wrestler Frankie Mulligan reflects on uncertain junior and senior seasons.

BY MATTHEW DORON, ’23.

Senior varsity wrestler Frankie Mulligan lost every match he competed in during his first year wrestling in sixth grade at Hastings Middle School. Now, after two years on the UAHS varsity lineup, Mulligan leads the team through an uncertain but successful senior season.

Mulligan has been on the varsity wrestling team since his freshman year but was not placed on the lineup until his sophomore year, during which he earned multiple titles and records.

“I had a decent run at [the district competition]…that was a good year for me,” he said. “And that was the same year I got the pin record for the whole season which was pretty nice.”

That same year, Mulligan won his Ohio Capital Conference first team title, an award given by a high school athletic conference in the Columbus area, and won second place in UA’s own Spitzer tournament.

However, COVID-19 drastically changed Mulligan’s junior year season.

“Last year was really spotty for the whole team in general because we didn’t have our big tournaments, like the big individual ones,” he said. “We just had little meets and duels, so it was pretty difficult to start off that season. Not just for me but for pretty much all of Ohio.”

The few tournaments that were held had strict attendance policies.

“It was very spotty to get fans,” Mulligan said. “It was very tough to get people to come in, and then for [larger meets], it was just strictly family.”

Despite initial difficulties due to COVID-19, Mulligan said he and his teammates adjusted to these changes in the postseason.

“[O]nce we got to sectionals and districts…that’s when we started to really feel it and started to kick back into it,” he said.

However, due to the Omnicron variant, Mulligan’s senior season is shaping up to be similarly difficult.

“We [had] a big tournament for us canceled over [winter] break, [called] Medina. It’s a tournament that has at least 25 or more teams, so it was deemed as a superspreader or a potential one,” Mulligan said. “Not only the tournaments that we have in our own schedule, but… big tournaments throughout Ohio have been getting canceled so far. And yeah, it’s definitely due to Omicron.”

Mulligan and his team continue to win tournaments, including the home Spitzer tournament and Kettering Fairmont tournament, despite this uncertainty. Mulligan placed second at both tournaments.

“I was pretty happy with it but you know, [so] close to first. Not yet there though. I had tough match[es] in the finals, but as a team we did great,” he said.

Mulligan said that one of his goals was to leave the team in capable hands once he graduates.

“I’ve got a lot of high hopes and high expectations for…just all of our freshmen and sophomores around the board. And that’s been kind of my main goal this season,” he said. “I want to see our underclassmen push themselves, work harder, and so we can leave the team in good hands, and so far I’ve actually been seeing that; it’s been great.”

He emphasized that the season is not over.

“[February is] pretty vital for the team. We just all have to focus and kind of hone in,” Mulligan said. “Keep moving forward. Keep wrestling.”