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From Mat to Medal: Ashton Mutuwa's Road to the 2024 Olympics

In March 2024, Ashton Mutuwa’s life changed forever when he competed to represent Nigeria in Wrestling in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Ashton started his journey in wrestling in kindergarten back in 2003. Ashton explained, “In kindergarten, my classmate came into class with a big scratch on his arm. When I asked where he got it he said from wrestling practice. I forced my mom to take me to practice, convinced I was showing up to a WWE-styled practice. Unfortunately, that was not the case, but it seems to have worked out in the long run!”  He quit wrestling for a while and then re-joined in 8th grade and eventually became a state qualifier in high school. 

After graduating from Hanover Central High School in 2016, he was a varsity wrestler at Truman State University for 2 seasons. Ashton then transferred to Campbellsville University where he became a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American in his senior year. After wrestling at Campbellsville, Ashton took a break from the mat. From 2020-2023, he did not compete at all. His friend Stevan Micic convinced him to pick it back up and he began training almost every day with Hanover Central High School’s team or Chicago Galaxy, the Micic’s RTC. From there he traveled to Nigeria for the National team trials and competed in the African Games, African Championships, and Olympic Qualifiers. 

Hanover knows how to raise some pretty successful athletes. Ashton is now the second Hanover graduate to become an Olympian. Stevan Micic competed in the Japan Olympics in 2021, representing Serbia. He later became the World Wrestling Champion. When Stevan found out about Ashton also becoming an Olympian, he said, “It’s so amazing that Ashton is an Olympian! To have one of my best friends since childhood, coming from the same town, school, and kids club is something I would never have imagined as a kid.” Ashton always looked up to Stevan and thanked him for his encouragement. He finds it crazy that he is going to the Olympics with a friend that he grew up with. Both Stevan and Ashton applaud the Rick Larsen Wrestling Club at Hanover.

Ashton was asked what motivates him, and he replied, “I have always been extremely competitive, and I love the sport of wrestling. My fiancé, family, and friends support me so well that it motivates me to do better.” He advised any athlete with big dreams, “Anything is achievable, if you feel stagnant, change your approach. A lot of athletes work super hard but they get tunnel vision and don’t see the different approaches they should take to get to the next level.”

Ashton Mutuwa's journey from Hanover Central High School to the global stage of the 2024 Olympics is truly inspiring. We wish Ashton the best of luck as he travels to Paris to represent Nigeria and showcase his talent and dedication on the world stage. At Hanover, we are not only proud but also deeply honored to have nurtured students and athletes like Ashton who exemplify the spirit of excellence, resilience, and determination. Ashton Mutuwa is a shining example of what it means to be Hanover Proud, and we will be cheering him on every step of the way!