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Na Humma recently participated as a referee in a women's wrestling tournament held in Klippan, Sweden.

Salt River Wrestling Coach Visits Europe to Officiate

Salt River High School wrestling coach Na Humma traveled to Sweden in February with the USA Wrestling Women’s Team to referee matches.

USA Wrestling selected Humma to go on the trip, from February 15 to 20. The team stayed in Klippan, a small town in southern Sweden, northeast of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. Five Rio 2016 Summer Olympics medalists attended the wrestling event.

“I was there for the training camp and I also got to be there with some of the other teams that were competing, such as Russia, China, Japan and Poland,” said Humma. “I helped clarify rules with the coaches and some of the wrestlers. I also was training with the wrestlers, picking up new tips and tricks, techniques and things I have not seen before to use for my coaching.”

Traveling across the world for wrestling-related activities is not new to Humma, who has been a wrestling referee longer than he has been a coach. He’s visited 13 countries over almost 10 years, he said.

“It is always good to get out and see all the other high-level wrestlers from all over the world, especially the younger wrestlers, because it’s really interesting to see the comparison between the American girls and everyone else in the world,” said Humma, who is fresh off of repeating as the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA) Coach of the Year.

Humma noted how the higher-intensity refereeing at USA Wrestling events compared with other wrestling events.

“This is my 14th year,” he said. “I referee in Olympic styles in [Greco-Roman wrestling], which is slightly different than [the wrestling style used] in high school and college here in the U.S. I started while I was still in high school.”

Na Humma officiating a match during his time in Sweden.
Photo submitted by Na Humma
He applied for his international license with hopes of refereeing in the Olympic Games one day. He’s a few levels away from that level of officiating, but he has his sights set on moving up.

“I pursue a goal to be the first Native American referee for wrestling in the Olympic Games,” said Humma. “So far there has not been one. I want the O’odham, Piipaash and the sister tribes to know that this is accessible to them. You can see the world; there is nothing stopping you. I grew up in Santa Rosa Village in (Tohono O’odham) and now I have traveled to 13 different countries and hit most of the states in the U.S. I’ve also been to South America and experienced a lot of what the world has to offer, and I love it. And for me it’s because of wrestling.”

But how does one communicate in other countries where people do not speak the same language?

“People speak varying degrees of something, and it’s just finding that middle ground of how we all can communicate the best,” he said. “I’ve been in situations where other [referees] didn’t speak any English.”

When it comes down to the actual officiating, Humma said communication is non-verbal. But there are times when referees have to work as a team and discuss what’s happening with the wrestlers.

“But the nice thing is that we can all speak ‘wrestling,’ which is a lot of how we communicate or discuss things in colors, such as red or blue,” Humma said.