Pictured: Former Maryland All-American Heavyweight Youssif Hemida.
Official release courtesy of Spartan Combat RTC.
When he was a student at Mamaroneck High School, Youssif Hemida had some training sessions with a very accomplished partner – NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski.
“I’ve known Nick for a while; probably since my sophomore or junior year in high school,” Hemida said. “He was a college star and he’d come down to my club Iowa Style [now Empire Wrestling Academy] and to NC State camps in New York to do clinics. He always showed really good technique. I pulled a lot from what he did and tried to transfer it to my wrestling.”
It certainly seemed to work, as Hemida won a state title as a senior and picked up All-American honors at Fargo, NHSCA Nationals, and FloNationals before moving on to the University of Maryland.
Now, Hemida and Gwiazdowski will get the chance to work out together often as Hemida has signed on with the Spartan Combat RTC after previously training at the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club at the University of Michigan.
“I had a great situation at Cliff Keen, but there are a lot of reasons that I’m so excited to join Spartan,” Hemida said. “I really like Mike Grey’s plan for the RTC, his vision of bringing in very high level RTC athletes and having it trickle down to the college guys. With Nick there and head coach Frank Perrelli, as well as some of the best wrestling minds on the planet with guys like Kyle Dake and Yianni Diakomihalis, it’s the start of something big. I want to be part of it. It’s also nice to be back in my home state where I’ve always gotten a lot of support. It’s nice to be a drive away from home, instead of a plane ride away.”
At Maryland, Hemida was a two-time All-American at heavyweight who made the Round of 12 in his other NCAA appearance. He placed at the Big 10 tournament three times, including a third place showing as a senior.
Hemida considers himself relatively new on the international scene, but he’s already made an impact. In 2018, he took silver at the U23 World Championships and in 2020 he again earned the Team USA heavyweight spot for the U23s (although the event didn’t take place).
A US Open and World Team Trials placer, Hemida recently took fifth at the Poland Open. After registering a quality win over Iran’s Amin Taheri, Hemida’s semifinal opponent was none other than Nick Gwiazdowski.
In that tournament, Hemida represented Egypt, which he will be doing going forward. He said his focus now is to earn the #1 spot for that country and begin to win championships on the African and World stages. He feels he’s in the right place to achieve those goals.
“So many things are coming full circle,” Hemida said. “Training with Nick, who I’ve known for so many years, being back in New York – it’s really cool. The coaches and wrestlers [at Spartan Combat RTC] are really high level and I’m excited to get started.”