HHS Wrestling

Hotchkiss High School sophomore Justin Mattison has the leverage against Delta senior Brandon Butler in a 2019 match. Mattison is now a senior for North Fork.

While North Fork High School wrestling coach Nick Wiggins said there’s talent to be found up and down the roster, but the difference in depth, especially for small schools, often comes in the heavier weight classes.

Big performances from the heavier weights this past weekend helped the Miners finish 3-2 at the Maverick Duals in Grand Junction. North Fork picked up victories against Hayden, Rangely and Rifle, and lost to Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central.

“I do well with bigger guys because of my (Greco-Roman wrestling) background,” Wiggins said. “But wrestling is the primary sport if you’re 5-foot-5 and 130 pounds. If that kid is on the basketball floor, there’s all the big guys out there who are just as athletic, but bigger. These smaller schools all have a bunch of really talented little guys, but from the 60s on up, it can be a little thin. Maybe those guys are playing basketball or working on earning football scholarships and you have to fish for big guys to fill out the roster. We’re fortunate to have big kids who all have experience. It helped us in this tournament and it will help us down the line.”

Wiggins praised the individual efforts of several wrestlers, starting with Justin Mattison, who went undefeated in the tournament at 182 pounds and pinned all but one wrestler he faced

“He’s the cream of the crop, man,” Wiggins said. “If he gets it into his head that he can beat anyone, he can beat anyone. He’s big, strong, technically sound, smart, takes in what’s told to him and wrestles hard. If he himself figures it out, nobody can beat him.”

Wiggins said Dawson Morgan battled through a stop-and-go contest at 145 pounds with Able Martinez, a strong wrestler from Grand Junction. The coach also praised individual performances from Diezel Balko, Trenton Gaston and Sam Ware.

The Miners next compete in a dual at Rifle on Dec. 10, with matches starting at 6 p.m. They’ll compete in the Panther Invitational the next day, where matches at Delta begin at 9 a.m.

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