Release Date: 
Thursday, June 10, 2021

HawkPride: Wrestler of the Year heads to Gannon University

headshot of Aseel

Recent HFC alumnus Aseel Almudhala, the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Wrestler of the Year, will transfer to Gannon University in Erie, PA on a full-ride athletic scholarship.

“I am transferring to Gannon because I wanted to be on my own and wrestle without any distractions. I wanted to try living by myself because I know it makes you more mature as a person and helps build character because you will have to be more responsible,” said Almudhala, of Dearborn.

A native of Yemen, Almudhala, the second of six children, immigrated to the United States when he was 5. He graduated from HFC on May 22, earning his associate degree in general studies, maintain an overall GPA of 3.8.

Originally, Almudhala planned to remain at HFC to wrestle one more year after the National Junior College Athletic Association gave all athletes participating in winter sports an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic. He originally planned to transfer to Wayne State University in Detroit.

However, that changed when Gannon offered him a scholarship. At Gannon, Almudhala will study business administration.

“HFC prepared me very well, whether if it was in the classroom or on the wrestling mat,” he said. “I am confident in the preparations I have made at HFC when I attend Gannon in the fall.”

Developing discipline and a strong work ethic through wrestling

Almudhala was on the wrestling team all four years at Fordson High School and was captain his senior year. He graduated from Fordson in 2019.

“I got interested in wrestling because I loved how the sport helped me develop my work ethic, humility, and discipline because those are traits that last your entire life and help make you successful,” said Almudhala.

Initially, Almudhala was on the fence about continuing his wrestling career after high school. However, he realized at the state tournament his senior year that he still had a lot left in him. HFC wrestling coach Grant MacKenzie recruited him to wrestle for the Hawks.

“I decided to wrestle at HFC because it was affordable tuition with great professors that offered me so much opportunity,” he said. “I also got to stay at home with my family since the campus was only five minutes away from my house.”

Natural born leader

As he looks forward to attending Gannon this fall, Almudhala looks back at his time at the College with great fondness.

“I felt I got a great education at HFC. All the faculty and staff members were very understanding and helpful,” he said. “Coach MacKenzie helped me reach the point where I am today. Without him, none of this would have been possible. I am very grateful for the wrestling program he builds at HFC because there are no wrestling programs around this area and while he faced a lot of obstacles, he was eventually able to build a successful wrestling program that I had the pleasure of being a part of.”

“First of all, Aseel will be truly missed by his teammates and coaches because he is a natural born leader and highly respected by his peers,” said MacKenzie. “His work ethic and dedication to excellence on the mat and in the classroom is impressive. We were lucky to work with him. Aseel is the walking definition of our team’s mantra: Future Driven.”