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NIC signs state champion double-amputee wrestler


Class 6A 2016 wrestling state champion Hassan Hawthorne has signed with North Idaho College.

Hawthorne, a double-amputee who recently graduated from Pelham High School in Alabama, went 37-0 his senior year, capping his unbeaten record with a 6-2 victory in the 145-pound weight division and earning Alabama’s Most Valuable Wrestler for class 6A. He was born without tibias and both legs were amputated below the knees as a child.

“We’re elated to have him join North Idaho College – not only because of his athletic ability, but for his academic ability and character as well,” said Pat Whitcomb, NIC head wrestling coach. “He can come in and make an immediate impact for us. For an 18-year-old, his maturity is beyond his years.”

Hawthorne was recruited hard by two- and four-year colleges his senior season, but after a visit to Coeur d’Alene last spring, he and his family fell in love with the area and scenic campus. Whitcomb said Hawthorne is well aware of the distance between Idaho and Alabama, but was looking for the “college experience.”

He was also wants to win.

“His dad said Hasaan wanted to go somewhere where he would win national championships. He does not like to lose,” Whitcomb said.

The NIC wrestling team has 14 national titles and has had 54 national champions. The team is well known for giving back to the community, having raised $8,500 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, holding a school supply giveaway every August and distributing its 15,000 book to elementary students through the Shirley Parker Reading program in May.

“What we’re excited about is not just Hasaan as a wrestler. We want him to bring to the team inspiration on how to overcome obstacles,” said Whitcomb, adding that Hawthorne intends to study Communications and will participate in all the team outreach activities. “The community will be much richer for having Hasaan here for a couple years.”