Hayden Nile, left, stands with his father, Mt. Blue wrestling coach Justin Nile at the high school in Farmington. Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi

 

FARMINGTON — The genealogy of Hayden’s Nile’s young and promising life must include the sport of wrestling — should he decide to plot his family’s tree.

The history of proud Nile wrestlers goes back decades. It wasn’t surprising that the Mt. Blue senior took his place in this wrestling line of succession and joined his father, Justin, who is also the Cougars’ wrestling coach for the past four years, on the mat.

This is indeed a family thing, and father and son wear their pride on their sleeve.

“My uncles wrestled, my cousins have wrestled, so I have had all kinds of people in my family kind of help me out,” said Hayden Nile, who is making his third appearance in the Class A state wrestling meet on Saturday. “My dad wrestled when he was in high school. His senior year, he got second at states. My uncle Keith won states twice and my uncle Adam placed.”

Father Justin Nile said many family members have made an appearance on the mat.

“My older brother was a two-time champion,” Justin said. “He placed fourth twice. My younger brother wrestled.”

Those were the days

Hayden’s destiny was sealed when his father got Hayden interested in the sport. Justin got involved with a peewee program — Mat Rats — run by Bob Craig.

“I used to (play other sports), but I quit most of them to focus on wrestling,” said Hayden, who has been wrestling since his elemetary school days. “I kind of had to go into it. Ever since then, I just loved it.”

Wrestling has taught Hayden a few life lessons, too.

“Knowing how much I can learn from it, the constant exercise, and just the people I have always been around to help me out when I needed it,” Hayden said.

Hayden, whose specialty maneuver on the mat is a duck-under, began wrestling in the 152-pound division and moved down to 145.

“It’s been a really good year. We got a couple of top fours at tournaments,” Hayden said. “We have had a lot of kids placing. It has been just an awesome year.” 

But now Hayden is staring at his last high-school performance and going into states with his season’s 31-8 record and his career 108 wins during four years of high school competition. The team went 11-11-1 this season.

“I went my sophomore year and lost in my first round to the No.1 kid, and the second round, I lost to the third seed, who I lost to the week before,” Hayden said. ““There are some tough kids (at states), I know that, and I have been working hard this week. I think I got a good chance to place — and that’s all I am really looking for.”

“I am very proud of him,” Justin said. “He’s accomplished a lot. He’s got his 100 wins this year. Last year, he lost to the kid who took fourth. This year, he should definitely place. He is smart about wrestling. Wrestling is a really complex sport.”

Father-and-son duo

Justin and Hayden both admit they have locked horns when it comes to a sport where passion for a solid takedown runs deep. But when it comes to love and respect for each other, they are on the same page.

“Without him, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Hayden said. “He has been the biggest supporter and has always pushed me to do my best.”

There is always a prideful smile on Justin’s face when he speaks about his son, who will be studying welding after he graduates.

“It was a little emotional Saturday at the regionals,” Justin said. “It is just his last and it was rough. I was hoping he would do good. He did, so…

“We have had our ups and downs a lot in the wrestling room — just separating coach and dad — more him than me, but you couldn’t ask for a better kid to coach or help. He is great with the younger classmen and that is why I wanted him to get the interview because he has made these younger classmen better. He is a great practice partner for them. He watches them a lot. He makes them work and wrestles with them. He has been a four-year captain.”

Justin Nile, who had the courage to jump out of a perfectly good airplane while serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan shortly after 911 happened, said his son had done a great deal for the team.

“He has helped keep me straight this year, too,” Justin said. “Sometimes, I get too focused on the calisthenics part and not enough on the moves and he’s like, ‘Hey dad, we have regionals. We don’t need to be doing this crap so much.”

Justin was also proud of how the Cougars performed this season.

“We took third at a couple of tournaments. We were just this much from fourth,” Justin said. “The team did a fantastic job this year. They worked hard. I had some freshmen who did really well. Overall, we did really well. I am super proud of them. I couldn’t be more happier with them. 

“A lot of that is the underclassmen with Hayden working with them. He is really good and I am super proud of him.”

And it shows. 

 

Mt. Blue wrestler Hayden Nile goes through a drill during practice at the high school. Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi

Hayden Nile, top, wrestles with teammate Tucker Nicholas during practice at the high school. Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi


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