Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Parkview wrestler Khalil Shakur is a state title contender in just his third year of wrestling. Senior Shakur is also on the verge of breaking Gwinnett County's single season record for takedowns.
THE SHAKUR FILE
Name: Khalil Shakur
Favorite TV show: "Black dynamite"
Dream job: Physical therapist and coach
Favorite athlete: Georges St. Pierre
-- Has a record of 52-8 this season
-- Won the Gwinnett County championship this season
-- Had a record of 45-20 last year
-- Younger brother Kamaal is a junior on the team
-- Was a two-time North American Grappling Association national champion
-- Maintains 3.1 GPA
Coach Josh Porter's take: "The kid is a fine outstanding young man. He works hard in the classroom, he works hard on the wrestling and works hard to do the right things on and off the mat. He's a leader on our team and I'm just very proud to be his coach."
After every match, Khalil Shakur walks off the wrestling mat and grabs his warmup clothes. He puts them on and finds a secluded spot to run sprints.
If the Parkview wrestler won his match, he'll run 10 sprints. If he lost, he'll run 20, 50, maybe even 100.
"After every match, win or lose, I go do some sprints -- some extra conditioning," Shakur said. "If I lose, I don't know how many I'm going to do, but it's going to be a lot."
Luckily for Shakur he's only lost a handful of times this season, so that hasn't meant a whole lot of extra running.
Shakur is ranked No. 1 in the state at 160 pounds in Class AAAAAA and the senior is trying to win a state championship in just his third year of wrestling.
"It's just going that extra mile. A lot of it is on him," Parkview coach Josh Porter said. "It's him wanting to be better than what he is and he's got that drive to be a champion."
Shakur grew up competing in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu where he was a two-time North American Grappling Association national champion and runner-up another year.
He began wrestling as a sophomore at Parkview, but because he transferred from Berkmar he had to compete on the junior varsity. Shakur only lost one match that year.
In his first year on the varsity as a junior, Shakur posted a 45-20 record and was one match away from placing at state. At the state tournament, Shakur was called for an illegal slam and disqualified from the tournament. He was up 4-1 in the match.
"For him to lose that match, I know it was devastating to him because it was devastating to me," Porter said. "He took it really hard and turned it into a motivating factor."
Shakur had to sit in the stands the rest of the tournament and watch his teammates wrestle. To make it worse, his younger brother Kamaal placed third at the tournament.
"Oh man, I probably didn't talk to anybody the rest of the weekend. It wasn't fun at all," Shakur said. "My brother placed, so you can only imagine how that felt coming back home."
Shakur didn't dwell on the situation for too long. He turned it into motivation. He placed third at USA Wrestling's Southeast Regionals in Greco Roman and was a member of Team Georgia's Junior National dual team. Shakur has had a lot of success in a short amount of time, but Porter isn't surprised.
"I'm surprised and I'm not because I see how hard the kid works," Porter said. "He's one of the kids you have to kick out of the room because he's in there too much. He'll practice three or four times a day. The kid works out a ton and he loves the sport of wrestling."
Shakur gained a lot of valuable experience, which has paid off this season.
He holds a 52-8 record with 17 pins. His losses are to a pair of defending state champions in Georgia at different classifications and to a California national champion.
"We have to break through that wall when we wrestle that upper echelon kid," Porter said.
Shakur won the Gwinnett County and Whitewater tournaments and placed third at the Southern Slam, fourth at the McCallie Invitational and second at the Dennis Deliddo Classic in California.
"Initially, I wanted to have an undefeated season, but that didn't work out so well," Shakur said. "I'm satisfied with what I've done."
In his final season as a high school wrestler, Shakur has etched his name in the county record book. He has 258 takedowns, setting the county record for most in a season. Former Parkview wrestler Fracois McDaniel held the record previously with 252 takedowns in the 1997-98 season.
"Initially, I wasn't even thinking about that. That was my little brother's goal," Shakur said. "After he blew out his ACL, I thought wouldn't it be cool if I had the record and then next year he came back and beat it. That's my challenge to him, but I need to get it first."
Shakur also wants to be Parkview's next state champion. The Panthers have had 33 in their history, but haven't had one since 2008. It's a drought Shakur wants to end this year.
"I think he can be a state champion. If Khalil wrestles his matches and wrestles the way he's capable of wrestling, it will be very hard for him to get beat," Porter said. "I'm not trying to give any locker room material to other teams, but the kid is tough and works hard. He's going to get what he deserves and earn it."