(KMAland) -- Throughout the month of August, KMA Sports is announcing our latest Hall of Fame class. Today, we have a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a two-time state high school wrestling champion and a four-time national champion.
Former Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton star Evan Hansen is most recently known for becoming Grand View’s first four-time national champion. However, the seeds were sown many years prior.
“I was on a team of six guys,” Hansen said of his time at Exira/EHK. “When I was a little guy, there were only bigger guys to work with. There’s a lot of shadow wrestling and extra workouts that went into that. It wasn’t easy being on a team of six.”
To combat that, Hansen said he had to turn a “lopsided” situation on its head. Part of that was workouts that began at 4:00 AM.
“At one point, my coach got tired of it and just gave my dad the key to the school,” he said. “It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice.”
Growing up, Hansen had a hankering for wrestling that was hard to tamper. He says his parents taught him a certain mindset that guided him through his career.
“My dad and mom never made me do anything I didn’t want to do, but they also taught me that if I’m going to do it then I’m going to do it to the best of my ability,” he said. “When I was a little kid, I always said I wanted to be an Olympic champ. My parents said that’s fine, but I’m going to have to put in the work.”
Another part of the rigorous mindset Hansen carried with him during his prolific career is the continued focus to get better each time out. Following a win, it was on to the next one. Following a loss, there were many things to correct.
“I couldn’t tell you what happened in the wins, including the state championships,” he said. “It’s the ones I lost that I remember, especially when I lost at state. My freshman year, I didn’t place at state, and at one point had it in my mind I was going to throw the matches. That’s something that certainly sticks with you, but had I not done the things I did in high school I might not have done what I did in college.”
Hansen did plenty in both high school and in college, winning the 145-pound state championship as a sophomore in 2013 and later captured the 182-pound title in 2015. From there, he embarked on a record-breaking career at Grand View, which culminated in winning his fourth national title this past winter.
“Everybody is a state champ at the collegiate level,” Hansen said. “You can’t go in there with a full head, thinking you’re the best guy. You’ve got to be willing to learn and always improve. It doesn’t matter if you’re the fifth-string guy or the starter. Everybody has got something to show you.”
Even after all the wins — during high school and in college — Hansen says there’s one thing he will always carry with him.
“Always be willing to learn new things and figure out a way to put that into your style of wrestling,” he said. “My parents always taught me it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you’re the same person off the mat.”
Hansen will be honored along with the rest of the 2020-21 KMA Sports Hall of Fame class at a later date to be determined. Listen to the full interview with Hansen below.
2020 KMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS