Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Sixth-place finish at national tournament lands Nicole Mattz prestigious honor

Nicole Mattz can add one more honor to her increasingly decorated wrestling career: All-American.

The Del Norte High junior finished sixth at 108 pounds at the USA Wrestling Cadet Women's Freestyle National Championships, held July 13 at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D.

Mattz also participated in the Junior Women's Freestyle National Championships, held July 15andndash;16 in Fargo; she finished with a 2-2 record in competition but did not place.

Mattz wrestles folkstyle with the Warriors during the high school season but had to revisit or relearn techniques in freestyle wrestling, which has different rules and scoring criteria than folkstyle wrestling.

"I got better at my freestyle wrestling," Mattz said. "It still hasn't quite clicked; I'm still not that great at it."

Her "not that great" remains very good.

In the Cadet Women's (born 1997andndash;98) national championships, Mattz pinned Anesia Ramirez of Washington in 2 minutes, 8 seconds and defeated fellow Californian Martina Valdez on points, 6-0, in the preliminary round. Her only loss in the first three matches was to Jennifer Juarez of New York, by fall in 3:57.

Mattz faced eventual runner-up Jessica DeHart of Oregon but lost, 6-0, and was placed into the fifth-place match with Makayla Groth of Florida. Groth defeated Mattz, 6-5, to capture the higher place.

"She scored her points on top, I scored mine on takedowns," Mattz said of Groth and the fifth-place match.

In the Junior Women's (born after Sept. 1, 1993) national championships, Mattz accrued victories against Amber Smith of Michigan (pinning her in 0:16) and Marion Tanzosh of New Jersey (pinning her in 3:57).

She lost to Nancy Alvarez of Texas by fall (1:19) and Isabella Fernandez of California, also by fall (2:49).

Mattz was one of approximately 40 girls from the state of California competing in the national championships.

"I liked it because I was on an all-girls team," Mattz said. "We accomplished a lot together."

Mattz took part in a five-day Olympic camp before the tournaments with the team on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo. The team endured practices three times a day and a three-mile run each day to keep the wrestlers' conditioning and technique up.

"I was tired," Mattz said. "I had to cut 17 pounds in four days, so I was pretty drained."

Mattz earned her spot at the national championships by finishing third in the 108-pound girls' cadet division at the California USA Wrestling Cadet Boys and Girls Freestyle State Championships, held April 26andndash;28 in Fresno.

During the high school wrestling season, Mattz finished third at 106 pounds at the California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section Girls Wrestling Championships on Feb. 9. She qualified to participate in the CIF Girls Wrestling State Individual Championships on Feb. 23 but lost her first match and forfeited her second.

Reach Robert Husseman