Drew Mattin of Delta, back, defeats Bruce Hrynciw of Oak Harbor 8-3 to win the Division III championship at 126 pounds in Columbus. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Three-time state wrestling champion Drew Mattin has capped an exceptional high school career with an exclamation point.
The recent Delta High School graduate had already built an impressive resume on the mat that landed him a full-ride scholarship to wrestle at the University of Michigan. Last week Mattin won the 126-pound title at USA Wrestling’s Junior Men’s Freestyle National Championships in Fargo, N.D.
Mattin achieved the national title at the sport’s most prestigious summer event against the best wrestlers in the country.
“It’s the place you go to if you want to make a name for yourself,” Mattin said. “There are a lot of really good kids there from across the country. It’s the epitome of USA wrestling.”
Mattin won his third state championship in March, finishing his high school career with a phenomenal record of 180-10. Mattin won the 126-pound championship in Columbus after winning at 120 as a junior and 106 as a sophomore.
Mattin, who registered 101 career pins, heads to Michigan as a freshman brimming with confidence.
“I felt confident before, but this adds to it. You train all your life to win a national title,” he said. “Most NCAA champions won at Fargo.”
Longtime Delta wrestling coach Anthony Carrizales said winning the title at Fargo is as good as it gets for a high school wrestler.
“It’s an awesome finish to his career,” Carrizales said. “Fargo is the premier national tournament. He’s been wrestling at a very high level for four years. Nobody from Delta has ever won it. It’s a very prestigious national tournament.”
Carrizales said Mattin stands out among an elite Delta program that has produced 23 individual state champions, plus six individual state team titles and four team dual meet titles.
“He’s put in more time than any other wrestler,” Carrizales said. “With Delta’s tradition, we’ve had some great wrestlers that have gone to be All-Americans in college. Drew is in the conversation as one of our all-around best.”
Mattin became a six-time All-American at Fargo. He also had captured a title in the Pan-American Cadet Championships in 2015 and also won two titles at the National High School Coaches Association nationals. But he said the title last week was special.
“I’d say this is right up there,” Mattin said. “I live in a state where wrestling is well known, and those state titles are well earned. But this is a national title.”
Competing in the Juniors level (17, 18, 19-year-olds), Mattin posted a 7-0 record. He defeated a wrestler from Hawaii in an early-round match, then exacted revenge on a wrestler from Virginia that had knocked him out of the same tournament last summer.
In the semifinals, Mattin ran into another familiar foe, Alex Thomsen of Iowa. Thomsen had recorded a technical fall against him earlier this summer. Mattin, who defeated Thomsen by tech fall in a tournament in Las Vegas, topped him 12-11 and advanced to the finals.
“I was losing 6-0 going into the second [and final] period,” Mattin said of his bout against the University of Nebraska-bound wrestler. “Then I had two big, four-point throws. He went feet to back with high amplitude. Then I got a takedown and turned him.”
In the finals, he squared off against a nemesis from Indiana. Paul Konrath had defeated Mattin three previous times, including at the Fargo event the last two summers. Konrath will be wrestling at the University of Wisconsin.
“I knew I had to move my feet, and if I was going to win, I had to attack,” Mattin said. “My style is shooting. I got three takedowns. Then the pivotal point was when he got in deep on a shot, and I fought him off and got a takedown and turned him. That sealed the deal.”
Mattin prevailed in an 8-1 decision.
“It was a great feeling,” Mattin said. “I had [dwelled] on it. If someone brought up his name, I knew he had my number, and I wanted to wrestle him again.”
Mattin had fallen short at Fargo the last three summers, finishing fourth, second, and fourth.
“This was his last hurrah in high school,” Carrizales said. “I’m looking forward to watching him continue to get better. The kid is so committed.”
Mattin will report to Michigan around Labor Day to begin preseason training. He said coaches told him he may be redshirted.
“I’m very excited. It’s a great opportunity,” Mattin said. “Academically, the University of Michigan opens a lot of doors. One of the main reasons I chose Michigan was because it has a great wrestling program, and it is outstanding academically. I’m excited to get into the classroom.”
Mattin said he is leaning toward majoring in pre-med. He said would like to become an emergency room doctor like his father Mike.
“I’m following in my dad’s footsteps, and I want to become an ER doctor,” he said.
Drew’s father, Mike, also was the first wrestler in Delta school history to win a state title. Mike won the title at 103 pounds in 1989.
“The Mattin family definitely has a big tie to Delta wrestling,” Carrizales said.
Mattin has three younger brothers — Cole, Zack, and Adam all wrestle.
Cole Mattin, who will be a junior at Delta, is a two-time state qualifier.
“We all work out together all the time. We all travel as a group. If they need help, I’m there for them,” Mattin said.
Mattin said he loves wrestling because it is unlike any other sport.
“I like the self-discipline. I like competing. I like training for a goal,” Mattin said. “That will help me later in life. When you put your mind to something and go for it, you have to trust yourself. You get out what you put into it.
“My goal now is to win an NCAA title.”
Delta’s Drew Mattin, top, wrestles Oak Harbor’s Bruce Hrynciw at the Maumee Bay Classic Jan. 14. Mattin recently won a national title at a USA Wrestling event in Fargo, N.D. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH