Norse News Male Athlete of the Year

Mullen dominates in two sports to become this year’s Male Athlete of the Year


Photo courtesy Lifetouch

Banks Mullen (12), the 2022 Norse News Male Athlete of the Year.

Lars Harris, Sports Co-Editor

Being in the 5A athletic region classification brings about a lot of pressure to perform above all in competition. The Norse News Athletes of the Year are diamond athletes formed under this pressure. That’s why Banks Mullen (12) has been selected as the “2022 Male Athlete of the Year.”

Mullen is a dual-sport athlete in which he excels in lacrosse as well as wrestling, where he has received multiple All Region and County accolades. In his junior season of wrestling, Mullen won the 5A-Region 2 tournament, but this did not satisfy him. Weighing in at the 182-pound weight class, Mullen had big goals in mind going into his senior season. Head wrestling coach Gerad Gauthier had nothing but good remarks about coaching Mullen.

“When I started coaching Banks, he was very talented and had a will to win, but he relied more on talent than hard work, conditioning and technique,” Gauthier said.

Trusting this process and working on technique assisted Mullen to have the breakout season that he had been seeking. Finishing the season off with a record of 34-3 he earned first place at the Yellow Jacket and Bearcat Invitational. Going into the championship sector of the season, once again Mullen placed first in the 5A-Region 2 tournament. At the SC 5A Upper State tournament he fell short of first, placing second, but Mullen would not let this get the best of him. Making it that far into the season with determination and a state championship set in his mind, Mullen took to the mat to secure his victory.

“He worked extremely hard during the off-season before his senior year attending camp, scrimmages and off-season workouts. His senior year he set the goal of winning a state championship and being a catalyst for team success,” Gauthier said.

After a stellar wrestling season, Mullen went straight into his last year of lacrosse, where he put up impressive numbers all throughout the season. Mullen played midfield where he created problems for teams’ defenses, putting up 25 goals, 20 ground balls, and three assists for the season.

Varsity lacrosse coach Stephyn Eaton believes that Mullen has the will of a champion.

“When he sets his mind to accomplish something, he will not be denied,” Eaton said.

He helped lead the Vikings to a trip to the 5A playoffs, and although they fell short of the coveted championship ring, none of that had to do with Mullen’s stellar effort on the field.

Finishing the season with a state ranking of 29, Mullen completed his high school career with a dominating performance that he strove for throughout his high school career. Eaton believes it’s rare to find a young man who was as physically dominate as Banks has been throughout his career at Spartanburg.

“After almost every game, opposing coaches would tell me they had no answer to number 15,” Eaton said.

That on its own is a perfect way to describe Mullen’s high school career in sports: unstoppable. And with his final season at Spartanburg High in the books, his legacy at the school will not be forgotten any time soon.