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Northern Idaho signs double-amputee mat champ

Northern Idaho College has signed Hasaan Hawthorne, 2016 Alabama high school state wrestling champ and double amputee, the two-year school in Coeur d'Alene announced Friday.

Hawthorne made headlines back in February by winning the Class 6A 145-pound title -- and Outstanding Wrestler honors -- at the 2016 Alabama State Wrestling Championships in Huntsville, despite having been born without tibias. Both his legs were amputated below the knees as a child.

Hasaan Hawthorne
Hawthorne, who just graduated from Pelham High School, was heavily recruited by two- and four-year colleges his senior season, according to Northern Idaho College. "After a visit to Coeur d'Alene last spring, he and his family fell in love with the area and scenic campus," said NIC head wrestling coach Pat Whitcomb, adding that Hawthorne is "well aware" of the approximately 2,000-mile distance between Alabama and Idaho.

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

That shouldn't be an issue, as the NIC wrestling program can claim 14 national titles and has had 54 individual national champions, according to the team website.

"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 Whitcomb. "He can come in and make an immediate impact for us. For an 18-year-old, his maturity is beyond his years."

Whitcomb also said that Hawthorne intends to study Communications and will participate in all the team outreach activities, such as a fundraiser 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. "The community will be much richer for having Hasaan here for a couple years," according to the coach.

Founded in 1933, North Idaho College describes itself as a comprehensive, two-year community college located on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene in the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho/Spokane, Washington metro area. Approximately 6,000 students are enrolled in credit classes and more than 4,400 participate annually in non-credit courses. The NIC Cardinal wrestling program competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

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