March 28, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Photo courtesy: CIS

Story by Agnes Chick

Monica Varallo is not one to shy away from a challenge, especially in the wrestling ring. A fourth-year student studying French at King’s, Varallos pinned down the competition at the 2013 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Wrestling Championships on March 1 - 2 in Alumni Hall at Western and placed sixth in the 82 kg weight category.

Competing against 13 other schools from across Canada, the Mustangs women’s squad finished in a respectable fourth place with 29 points and the Mustangs men’s team finished third with 49 points.

With the completion of this event, Varallo has accomplished her personal goal to participate in the CIS every year of her undergraduate studies. She’s proud that she’s had the opportunity to wrestle alongside her fellow Mustangs teammates, although it is somewhat bittersweet now that she has fought in her last match as a Mustang.

“Our team is amazing,” says Varallo. “Everyone is so supportive and they are always on the mat cheering you on. I really enjoy the atmosphere and the coaches, so it was an easy decision to join the Mustangs women’s wrestling team.”

Varallo began wrestling in high school, and was a member of the London Western Wrestling Club, an association where wrestlers are able to train and compete year-round, before joining the Western Mustangs. Varallo chose to attend King’s because it offers the perfect balance of academics and athletics that she was looking for in a university community.

“King’s is an awesome place to be. The professors here are so great and understanding toward students,” says Varallo. “Although I never used my athletics as an excuse, they were always willing to give an extension or meet me at other times to review.”

Varallo praises her professors at King’s for their incredible support toward athletes throughout the school year. Both her academic and athletic pursuits at King’s have taught her the importance of time management and to never leave anything to the last minute.

But her final year as an undergrad has come with some disappointments. When asked about the International Olympic Academy’s decision to cut wrestling out of the 25 core sports at the Olympics, Varallo expressed her frustration and concerns for the future of Canadian wrestlers.

“Wrestling is such an intense sport and you have to train so hard. To remove the privilege of an Olympic dream is killing the spirit of the sport for many,” says Varallo. “I have been so lucky to witness amazing wrestlers in Canada, and to think the chance has been taken away from them is completely unfair. There are a lot of angry Canadians out there who will continuously fight for the sport, including myself.”

While Varallo did not plan on trying out for the Olympics herself, she is looking forward to a career as a French teacher and plans to keep in shape by running as many marathons as she possibly can. Clearly, her dedication and discipline carries her throughout many aspects of her life.

For more information about the Mustangs wrestling team, please visit

For more information about CIS, please visit