Wrestling champ: PHS’s Hassan Hawthorne wins 6A state wrestling championship
Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— When wrestling season began at Pelham High School, senior Hassan Hawthorne knew he wanted to win the state championship. The double amputee wrestler took third in state the previous year, and said he wanted to step up on that podium as the 6A champion.
Not only did Hawthorne accomplish this ambitious feat, but he also finished his final season with an undefeated record of 37-0 and was named the 6A MVP at the state meet.
“It was crazy. I didn’t know what to think,” Hawthorne said, looking back at his winning moment. “It’s weird when you work for something for so long, when you get to it you don’t know what to do next. So it was just a weird and fun and cool moment.”
Although Hawthorne went into the 6A Championship tournament with an undefeated record, he said he didn’t let it put any pressure on him.
After witnessing a friend go undefeated last year and then lose it at state, Hawthorne said he the record wasn’t on his mind at all.
“Coach told me just to go one match at a time and get on and off the mat as soon as possible,” he said.
Hawthorne started the match against Trevor Muncey of Gardendale, beating him with an 8-0 decision win. After a 9-3 decision win over Justin Carty of Clay-Chalkville High School, Hawthorne made the semifinals.
His win over Landon Thompson of Southside-Gadsden in the finals of the 145-pound class gave Hawthorne claim to the state title via a 7-3 decision.
His last thoughts before earning his title, Hawthorne said, were “this is my last high school match, so let’s go out with a bang.”
“I had to take it in,” Hawthorne said. “After I won, I celebrated and stuff, but it still really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
While claiming an individual state title, being recognized as MVP and finishing his season undefeated were all high points, Hawthorne said having fun with his friends was his favorite part of his last season.
If scholarships or future opportunities become available, Hawthorne said he’d like to continue wrestling.
“It’s great just to see all that he’s been through from all the different sports he’s played,” Felecia Hawthorne, his mother, said. “This one in particular, he really wanted to win state. He first started talking about it several years ago. I always believed he could do it, and it’s just been cool just to be a witness to it.”