A former Fresno City College wrestling state champion died in a car accident this weekend.
Matt Hickman, 25, was killed in on Interstate 5 near Pyramid Lake early Sunday morning while returning home from the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.
Hickman was involved in a solo accident while driving southbound on Interstate 5, according to Officer Josh Greengard. Officers believe Hickman then got out of his car and attempted to run across lanes on the northside side of the freeway when a car struck him around 4:50 a.m.
Hickman was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Hickman was part of Fresno City’s wrestling program for three years starting in 2011 and won a state championship in the 165-pound class to help the Rams capture a third straight state title in 2012.
The one thing about Matty is he was a real special kid.
Fresno City wrestling coach Paul Keysaw
“He was a real special kid,” Fresno City wrestling coach Paul Keysaw said. “He affected everyone’s lives that he came in touch with.
“I look at social media and see all the people talk about Matty and they all say the same things, saying he has a huge heart and loved everybody. He was one tough sucker and he just worked hard and persevered. Had a bright future in front of him.”
The year after he won his individual state title with the RAms, Hickman broke his ankle two weeks before regionals and was unable to wrestle in the state tournament.
Former Fresno City wrestler Matt Hickman, a 2012 state champion, died in a car accident Sunday. He was part of a Rams program that won three consecutive state titles.
Hickman redshirted his first season with the Rams after joining the program out of Camarillo High and graduated from Fresno City. He wrestled one season at Cal Baptist before a neck injury sidelined him during his senior year.
Hickman attended this weekend’s high school state championships with former Fresno City teammates Spencer Hill, Preston Hill and Racelis Cardenas.
“He really exemplified wrestling,” Keysaw said of Hickman. “He was a hard-working, persevering young man. He never gave up on the mat or in life.
“He played the cards he was dealt with and he never complained about his cards. He made them to the fullest of his ability. I was just privileged to be Matty’s coach.”