Kamarudeen (Marty) Usman stands next to UNK head wrestling coach Marc Bauer after winning the 174 lbs. national championship against Luke Rynish of Wisconsin-Parkside. Usman was runner-up in the same weight class the previous year.
One Loper wrestler who started the season with high hopes and bigger goals than winning a national championship conquered one goal on Saturday, March 15.
Third times a charm for Kamarudeen ‘Marty’ Usman, a senior family studies major from Amarillo, Texas, because he met his first goal defeating Luke Rynish from Wisconsin-Parkside in the 174 pounds division at the National Wresting Championships in Omaha.
Usman started off his wrestling career as a sophomore in high school after hearing of the sport just a year before. Usman said, “My first year I got beat up pretty bad. My second year I fully committed myself and did whatever it took to be the best.” Usman finished his high school career by winning third at state.
Usman wrestled for two years at William Penn University in Iowa before he became a Loper. There Usman won the Regional Conference and was ranked third on his way into nationals but never got to compete because the team got snowed in at a hotel. After two years at William Penn he moved to Kearney to be part of the Lopers' wrestling team.
In the three years Usman has wrestled for UNK, he has been ranked No. 1 every year going into nationals, finally bringing home his national title.
Usman said, “I felt that I should have won first in nationals the two years before this one because I was ranked first, but my first year I placed third, my second year I placed second, and my last year I finally placed first.” After winning the national title Usman said, “I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Now Usman is setting even bigger goals for himself: he wants to make the Olympic wrestling team. First, he will have to win one out of three tournaments to qualify for the Olympic tryouts. He will wrestle first in Cleveland at The U.S. Open. If he wins one of the qualifying tournaments, then he will qualify to try out for the USA Olympic wrestling team.
Usman wants to conquer mixed martial arts fighting (MMA) next. He has been training, and his first fight is in two weeks in Grand Island.
“I want to be the best in world,” Usman said about MMA fighting.
Even though Usman is dedicated to his sports, he someday wants to be married, have kids, a career and pass on his knowledge of sports. After college Usman said, “I want to have a job on the side and get all the passion out of fighting and wrestling.”