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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College panther Hassan Khan named Co-Wrestler of the Year
Hassan Khan (left) and Chad Pritchett (right) spar at practice Wednesday afternoon. Khan is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Pritchett is pursuing a degree in Kinesiology. (Credit: Jennifer Singh / [email protected])

City College’s Hassan Khan, the winner of the Co-Wrestler of the Year award for the Big 8 Conference, didn’t let the pandemic hamper his desire to accomplish his goals. He has made sure to not only stay physically healthy, but mentally fit as well — so he can achieve his goals.

“I felt very happy,” Khan says, of being recognized for his wrestling. “It felt very nice that all my hard work got recognized.”

Khan is not the only person in his family that wrestles — both of Khan’s brothers have wrestled too. “I have been wrestling for quite some time. I started wrestling around the age of 7,” he says. “My brother started wrestling in his middle school program. My youngest brother is currently wrestling for his high school program.”

Despite Khan’s accomplishments, it has not been an easy year for him. He has had to navigate through the challenges of the pandemic, but he says he has remained eager to achieve his goals. 

“I wrestled all the way up till high school,” says Khan, who graduated from Franklin High School in Elk Grove. “Then after high school, because of COVID, most college athletic programs didn’t know what they were going to do with COVID happening, I had decided to quit wrestling. I had taken a year off and went to a university. I ended up missing wrestling because I had nothing to do. I was so bored … most of my time growing up was always focused on sports. So, after that year and a half, I ended up transferring to Sac City after calling the coaches and talking to them since I already knew them a little bit.”

Khan was also the individual State Champion (at 165 pounds) for his conference, and City College placed fourth overall in the state competition held last December.

Hassan Khan (left) and Chad Pritchett (right) spar at practice Wednesday afternoon. Khan is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Pritchett is pursuing a degree in Kinesiology. 

(Credit: Jennifer Singh / [email protected])

Making the Most of a Tough Time

One of the toughest transitions that people have had to undergo during the pandemic is remote learning, working from home or adjusting accordingly to the various challenges that the virus brings. 

Khan was mainly isolated in his home during the pandemic. But his training routine was not affected and he stayed active. “I still trained a little bit,” he says. “I would go roll around with my little brother, who is in high school. For the most part, I was just lifting weights every other day and just trying to stay strong. I was very fortunate to have someone who owned a gym that would let me go in and out when I needed it, even when everything was shut down.”

Khan is very optimistic about his future and says he is determined to not only have a successful life for himself, but to help others as well. “Next year, I am looking to transfer to a four-year university with a wrestling program hopefully. As of right now, I am looking at a [Division 1 or Division 3] …I want to hopefully do well at the next level, qualify for the NCAA tournament, possibly move into coaching, and give back to others.”

Taking Home the Big Title

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Khan says he enjoys being around people and loves to interact with others as well. Khan’s teammates are people that he can not only talk to, but relate to as well. He has a lot of good memories during his time on the Panthers wrestling team, but one sticks out to him the most.

“During the year, we took a bunch of trips,” he says. “Those were all really fun. Getting to hang out with the guys and bonding was cool. For me, I think it was our very last trip, which was the state meet in Norfolk, primarily because I ended up winning [in my division] — I don’t even know how to put it in words, I was very happy. There were a lot of emotions running through me.”

Khan being named Co-Wrestler of the Year and State Champion were not the only significant accomplishments that he had this year. He, along with two of his teammates, Steve Karas and Alfredo Mendoza, earned 1st Team All-Big 8 Conference Honors. 

“I was pretty emotional,” he says. “It felt really great. My last match was pretty close. I only won by one point, and that one point was a technical violation another dude made. So I mean it really could have gone either way. I was just really blessed that I came ready that day.” 

Hassan Khan (left) and coach Walter Ulrich (right)

(Credit: Jennifer Singh / [email protected])

Optimistic Outlook

Khan is only a freshman at City College and is working toward possibly having a career in constructional engineering by majoring in mechanical engineering. Through all of Khan’s accomplishments, he says his family has been supportive and encouraging. One person with a big influence on him has been his older brother, Ali. 

“He has always been supportive,” Khan says. “Whenever we go on trips, he would travel to Idaho and all over the country with us. He would travel with my younger brother as well. Wherever we go, he would always be coaching us and would be very supportive. He always made sure that we were well taken care of and had whatever we needed. Whenever we’re back home, he would train with us, go over film and critique us on things we need to improve on.”

Khan says he is hopeful that athletes who might want to participate in the City College wrestling program are excited to join to not just build relationships with other people, but to learn important life lessons that will help them become successful members in society. “I want people to trust what the coaches are teaching them because they will prepare you to be successful in not just wrestling, but life as a whole.” 

Coach Marques Gales expressed how proud he was of Khan and saw how he grew throughout the semester.

“Hassan had an incredible season and was a pleasure to have on our team this year,” Gales says. “He is extremely dedicated to the sport, has an unmatched drive and it was only fitting that he finished off the 2021 season with a state championship.”

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