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Clan wrestler collects BA on way to 2015 Pan Am Games

by ahnationtalk on June 10, 2015607 Views

Growing up, Justina Di Stasio had always loved wrestling, but never imagined becoming the accomplished athlete she is today—a three-time All-American champion and member of Canada’s national senior women’s wrestling team competing at the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto.

Di Stasio, who is graduating with a bachelor of arts in English, received sponsorship to pursue wrestling at Simon Fraser University from her band, the Norway House Cree Nation in Norway House, Manitoba.

Despite her love of the sport, however, this Coquitlam resident didn’t win a single round during her first four months in the wrestling program.

“But I never thought of quitting,” she says.

“I looked up to the senior women’s team—they were amazing wrestlers. I knew that if I set goals and worked hard I could be just like them.“

Her hard work paid off. She earned a position on the 2011 Canadian Junior National Team, and represented her country for the first time. She went on to win back-to-back junior national titles.

“The feeling after winning is something so special, it’s almost unexplainable,” she says. “Setting goals and meeting them really helped grow my love for the sport. I really got to see the potential I had in wrestling.”

Despite the pressures of extensive travel, she managed to meet deadlines for her many English essays and other courses, often sacrificing sleep.

“I was able to make good use of time while I was on the road,” she says.

“My two priorities in life are athletics and academics.”

After competing in the Pan Am games this summer, Di Stasio will represent Canada at the Senior World Championships and then begin training for tryouts for the Canadian Olympic team.

She plans to enroll in SFU’s fall 2016 Professional Development Program, with a goal of becoming a high school English teacher.

“I really do enjoy English and I have a passion to provide others with the same memorable intellectual experience I was fortunate to have.”

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.  SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada’s comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

Justina Di Stasio,
Justin Wong, University Communications, 778.782.3210,


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