This story was published in the Winter 2023 issue of Total Sports Quinte magazine
Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
Gymnastics had been Hudson Mulvihill’s sports focus for most of her life. That was until she started playing lacrosse.
Mulvihill, now 15, was in gymnastics programs for 14 years up until last May, starting when she was 14 months old.
“I grew up basically doing that my whole life,” she said, noting she won an eastern Canadian championship for power tumbling when she was just eight years old.
Still with the Quinte Bay Gymnastics Club, she switched to the artistic program when she was 10 as she battled some injuries. Becoming a provincial level artistic gymnast increased her training hours to 20 per week.
“When I was a kid I had a lot of energy all the time and I tried ballet – that was too slow for me – I didn’t like soccer. I loved flipping so my mom put me into gymnastics and I fell in love with it. I actually really loved being in the gym 20 hours a week. That’s all I wanted to do.”
Her mom, Summer, said Hudson benefited from great coaching at Quinte Bay, but is also just a gifted athlete.
Mulvihill began playing lacrosse in 2017 when she was 11, first playing on a boys team because there was no team for just girls at the time with the Tyendinaga Thunderbirds. She’s been able to play on girls teams for the past three seasons now.
“When I was on the boys team I was really targeted because girls aren’t supposed to play on a boys lacrosse team,” Mulvihill said. “They would target me when I was out there and I would get super hurt sometimes.”
She’s become a fan of the rough stuff, though, when she’s on an equal playing field against girls.
Mulvihill started playing lacrosse because at the time she switched to artistic gymnastics as she wasn’t sure if she wanted to continue in that sport. While she did continue in gymnastics, she also fell in love with lacrosse.
“I absolutely loved the contact because it’s such a different sport than gymnastics,” Mulvihill said. “I love how if you’re having a bad day you can literally just go out there and hit people.”
Another different aspect she enjoyed was the team atmosphere.
“For gymnastics it was so competitive and you’re always by yourself and it was really mentally hard when it was all relying on you,” Mulvihill said. “For a team sport, it’s the total opposite. You lose as a team and you win as a team.”
Mulvihill enjoys playing in Tyendinaga for the Thunderbirds and that there’s a focus on cultural values.
“It’s all about the people and they’re so nice,” she said.
Once she established her love for box lacrosse, Mulvihill went to Eastside Secondary School in Belleville with the purpose of playing field lacrosse. They don’t have a traditional season with limited teams to play, but it’s been a great experience so far, she said.
On top of that, Mulvihill also enjoys playing volleyball. She’s played for school teams growing up, including this year with Eastside as a captain, and is now in her first club season with the Belleville Ravens as well.
“It’s like my therapy. I love it,” she said. “I’m always smiling.”
She’s enjoying a variety of sports now after focusing on just one for so long. She misses gymnastics, but the time commitment proved to be too much and is looking to continue to improve in other sports.
“For lacrosse, I want to keep building my skillset and keep getting better. For volleyball, same thing,” Mulvihill said, adding she’s seeing her volleyball skills improve dramatically since joining the Ravens in September.