The wrestling Mattz family: a firm hold on tradition

By Michael Zogg, The Triplicate January 27, 2014 05:13 pm

There have been plenty of Mattzes in the Del Norte wrestling room over the past couple years. Wrestling is a family tradition for, from left, Hawk, Nicole and Hunter Mattz. Even their mother Tina, pictured in back, and their father, Randy, get into the act.
There have been plenty of Mattzes in the Del Norte wrestling room over the past couple years. Wrestling is a family tradition for, from left, Hawk, Nicole and Hunter Mattz. Even their mother Tina, pictured in back, and their father, Randy, get into the act. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
The Mattz family has been slowly making a name for itself in the world of Del Norte wrestling.

It all started with Randy Mattz, who wrestled for the Warriors when he was in high school. Now, three of his children are wrestling for Del Norte. Senior twin brothers Hawk and Hunter and their little sister, Nicole, a junior, have all donned Warrior singlets.

Wrestling was not an option for girls while Randy’s wife, Tina, was in high school in Oregon. After watching her kids for more than a decade, however, Tina knows her way around a wrestling tournament.

“I do scoring, I could coach if I wanted to because I’ve taken the test, I know pretty much all of it actually,” Tina said. “The booth, the scoring system, what to call and when to call it; I could step in if I had to.”

Throughout the wrestling season, the Mattzes travel all over. They follow the Del Norte wrestling team, and Randy travels to coach Nicole when she goes farther south to wrestle against female competition — something she is excelling at.

Just like dad

Nicole Mattz, top, pins her opponent in the Warriors’ first dual meet of the season against Arcata on Wednesday.
Nicole Mattz, top, pins her opponent in the Warriors’ first dual meet of the season against Arcata on Wednesday. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Hawk credits his father as the main reason that he started wrestling with the Del Norte Youth program 11 years ago at the age of 7. Once Hawk got started, Nicole was close behind.

“I saw Hawk practicing and I had to do it,” Nicole recalls.

With her big brother at her side, Nicole began her foray into the world of wrestling at the age of 5.

“My brother Hawk and I always used to practice with each other,” Nicole said. “We would go to different wrestling rooms and practice. We learned a lot together.”

There also was a wrestling mat in their home, giving Hawk and Nicole a place to grapple every day.

“We had a mat and we always used to practice moves on each other,” Hawk said. “My dad would always buy DVDs for us to watch.”

Although there is a significant size difference between the two, Hawk and Nicole never let that stop them.

“Sometimes he would beat me up, but he lets me work on him too,” Nicole said.

Over the years, Hawk and Nicole continued to progress. Nicole is currently the fifth-ranked girl at 111 pounds in California. She is coming off of a season in which she finished third in the North Coast Section, qualified for state and earned All-American honors after finishing sixth at 108 pounds in the USA Wrestling Cadet Women’s Freestyle National Championships.

“She is mean, she has skills and she knows how to wrestle,” Hawk said of his sister.

Hawk already has two Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 league championships under his belt as well as a trip to the North Coast Section.

“Hawk has a lot of technique and he is quick and strong,” Nicole said.

Both Nicole and Hawk spend most of the year in training for the wrestling season.

“It is all about wrestling all year-round really,” Tina said. “They probably have the month of August to go fishing on the Klamath, but that is about it. They are training, in the gym, they live and breath it.”

Both Hawk and Nicole are also motivated to improve.

“It has just been a part of them since they were so young that they are used to it,” Tina said. “I don’t have to get them up to go to the gym or go running. I don’t have to force it down them, they love to do it.”

There are actually two sets of twins in the family. Nicole’s twin sister Courtney,  who attends Castle Rock, never did take up the family sport.

“The boys are really close,” Tina said of Hawk and Hunter. “They do nearly everything together. The girls are polar opposites. Nicole is all about sports and Courtney is more laid back. She actually helps run a restaurant with me,” Tina said, referring to the Burger Hut at Elk Valley and Howland Hill roads.

Hunter takes to the mat

While Hawk and Nicole were honing their skills on the mat from an early age, wrestling wasn’t as easy of a sell for Hunter.

Parents Randy and Tina Mattz put in a lot of miles following their three kids around to wrestling tournaments and clinics. Randy usually coaches Nicole at girls tournaments.
Parents Randy and Tina Mattz put in a lot of miles following their three kids around to wrestling tournaments and clinics. Randy usually coaches Nicole at girls tournaments. Del Norte Triplicate file photo
Although he wrestled for a couple years in middle school, he was never as serious about the sport as Hawk and Nicole.

“Before wrestling I did cross country and cross-fit workouts and stuff like that. Other than that, I must say I was quite lazy before wrestling,” Hunter admitted with a laugh.

Hunter rejoined wrestling as a sophomore and quickly began to find his own reason to love the sport.

“At first I thought it was really tough, but most of my friends were on the team so it was a lot easier to bond with them and I got to get that discipline that I always needed,” Hunter said. “Sometimes I would feel sorry for myself or have a lot of pent-up energy or anger. When I come out here all of that just goes away, I get to work out and I feel better about myself because I know I am getting stronger.”

Hunter has yet to break into the varsity lineup, but he is making a push for a spot this year, according to Del Norte head coach Aaron Schaad.

While Hunter may have been lazy before joining the wrestling team, he has certainly shed that label since.

“Hunter’s effort stands out,” Schaad said. “He is the least experienced of his siblings, but his effort is definitely his strength. He gives you pretty much everything he has, all the time.”

Although Hunter knows he isn’t at the same level as either of his siblings on the mat, being on the team with Hawk and Nicole has been fun.

“It is kind of cool to be part of it, but those guys are kind of like the all-stars,” Hunter said. “I am more of a runner myself, but it is still nice to be part of the team and be with those guys and see them wrestle.”

Heading separate ways

Hunter, Hawk and Nicole enjoy being on the same team for now, but next year they will split up as Hunter and Hawk go off to college.

Hunter plans to attend a technical school in Arizona,  where he will take a one-year music scoring program. After that he will transfer to Humboldt State University where he plans to take acting, screen writing and philosophy classes in preparation for a career in the movie business.

Hawk plans to head north to Coos Bay and wrestle at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where he will study culinary arts.

Nicole will be a senior at Del Norte next year and doesn’t have her college plans finalized yet. She is hoping to continue wrestling, however, and said there are several colleges that are planning on watching her wrestle at state this year. She is also considering joining Hawk at Southwestern Oregon.

“Whatever their plans are, I don’t doubt that they will be successful, because of the amount of work that they are willing to put in, in wrestling,” Schaad said. “That is saying something. It has been a pleasure to coach them and their parents have been totally supportive all the way through.”

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