DEARBORN — The Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) has named Henry Ford College (HFC) wrestler Aseel Almudhala wrestler of the year at this year’s MCCAA tournament.
The HFC wrestling team was also named a runner up at the tournament.
Almudhala, whose weight class is 125 pounds, took first place at the MCCAA tournament at Muskegon Community College.
“It’s a great feeling,” Almudhala said. “It shows me that I worked hard and it’s starting to pay off. In this sport, what you put into it is what you get out of it.”
Almudhala was born in Yemen and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 5-years-old. He is the second of six children.
During his tenure at Fordson High School, he wrestled all four years and played football. Almudhala was captain of the wrestling team his senior year before graduating in 2019.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to keep wrestling after high school,” he said. “After the state tournament my senior year, I wanted to continue doing it. I felt I still had a lot in me.”
While Almudhala was looking at what college he wanted to attend, HFC wrestling coach Grant MacKenzie had contacted him to recruit him.
“He told me that the tuition is affordable, so I can stay home and keep doing what I love,” Almudhala said. “I gave it a try and really liked it.”
He will graduate from HFC this spring with an associate’s degree in general study.
Almudhala, who speaks fluent Arabic, aspires to have a career in the humanities and plans to transfer to Wayne State University for the 2022-23 school year.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has given all athletes participating in winter sports an extra year of eligibility.
“Coach MacKenzie thinks I’ll have a better change at a Division 1 school if I stay for one more year at HFC because it’ll allow me to get more recognition,” Almudhala said. “So why not take advantage of the extra year?”
Almudhala and his team will compete at the 2021 NJCAA Wrestling Championship on April 23-24 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“Aseel Almudhala paid his dues as a freshman season, as well as during the off-season,” MacKenzie said. “He takes the sport seriously. Now he’s enjoying the fruits of his labor as a sophomore. It will be exciting to see how he competes in the national championships.”