Marissa Mueller will be competing at the highest levels of US College sport next year.
The LCCVI athlete has signed with the Iowa Hawkeyes on both an athletic and academic scholarship.
Mueller has been a mainstay on many of the Lancer teams, showing particular prowess in volleyball. But after a knee injury in 2015, Mueller tried javelin and she was hooked. After just one season, she went to the Royal Canadian Legion National Track Championship and won her event with a throw of 42 metres – her best ever.
It was that event that made her consider the possibilities of going to university on an athletic scholarship. “That’s when I started sending out my information… and its been a rush to the finish line – or maybe the starting line, I guess,” she tells The Independent.
Mueller visited a number of top US colleges over the last few months, but says she knew when she went to Iowa that it was special. “My coaches told me not to get too excited when you go on university visits…they’re basically showing the school to you to get you to come there,” she says. But as soon as she landed at the airport, she could sense the excitement. “There was Iowa Hawkeyes stuff everywhere. Iowa doesn’t have a professional sports team, so there, the Hawkeyes are the main team.”
And she says the atmosphere on campus was “amazing” adding the track practise impressed her. “The work ethic that I saw while I was watching the practise was attractive… They were going above and beyond what the coach asked… they weren’t taking short cuts… they were pushing each other to get better and working toward a Big 10 championship,” Mueller says adding even though track athletes compete individually, there was a real team feeling at Iowa.
“There wasn’t anything I saw there that I didn’t love.”
Mueller signed her papers Nov. 9, but it is only the beginning of the paperwork. She says she’s been inundated with forms which need to be completed and getting to this point has been a learning experience.
She’s also excited about the academic part of her college experience. She’ll be taking biomedical engineering and hopes to use the degree she earns to enter medical school in the future. “It’s in the area of what I like to do and it has that medical side to it and it also has the engineering side to it,” she says.
For now, Mueller is just beginning her intensive practise for the track season with her local coach Joel Skinner. He will be working with Iowa to make sure they’re following the same training schedule as Mueller will at college.
“Even before I get to Iowa, I still want to boost my (javelin throwing) number up,” she says.
And while she will be training hard, Mueller says earning the scholarship will allow her to relax in her final year of high school at LCCVI. “I’ll enjoy my final year more now than I would if I had that issue of where I would go in the next four years nagging in the back of my mind.
“I really want to enjoy this Grade 12 year and be even more involved in the school and the community and give back and say thank you to the people who helped me get to where I am right now.”