In a closely-contested dual wrestling meet, the heavyweight spot is the determining factor between a team either earning a win or receiving a loss.
For Fairmont/Martin County West senior Colton Hines, who is in his third year of wrestling in the final spot for the Red Bulls, the pressure to win the decisive victory has happened only once.
"I was wrestling against a senior my sophomore year, and the match was close. If I won my match, we would win the dual," said Hines. "I pinned him."
APPLYING PRESSURE — Fairmont/Martin County West heavyweight Colton Hines (top) applies pressure to Waseca opponent Sam Sierra during regular-season wrestling action on Dec. 4 in Sherburn. Hines currently holds the No. 3 spot in The Guillotine’s Class AA state heavyweight rankings. Photo by Leanna Becker
Hines, who currently holds the No. 3 spot in The Guillotine's Class AA state heavyweight rankings, has started his final season with a 5-1 record. His only loss so far this season came in a quadruple-overtime loss to the Class A, No. 1-ranked Lance Briard from River Valley last Friday.
Last season, Hines finished second in the South Central Conference with a 12-6 record, missing part of the season due to an injury.
Despite the injury, Hines also claimed the heavyweight title at the Red River Riots- a title that he will look to defend this weekend.
"There will be a lot of top-ranked wrestlers at the tournament and we'll wrestle a lot of matches," Hines said in reference to the two-day event hosted by Redwood Valley in Redwood Falls.
This season, Hines is included among the top-ranking athletes.
"Being ranked is an honor and something cool, but I still have to wrestle the matches," said Hines.
The Hines family is no stranger to the top of the wrestling polls as Colton's older brother, Scott, found his way into the rankings and to the state tournament twice for Fairmont.
For Colton, this season's focus is continued improvement.
"As a team I'd like to get more wins than we did last season, and I would just like to do the best I can in every match," said Hines.
The senior has started out his third varsity season on the winning side, facing some strong competition and battling through tough practices.
"I practice against (assistant) coach (Adam) Williamson a lot. It's hard because we don't have a lot of bigger guys on the team, so I know that if I can get coach down, I can do that against anyone in a match," said Hines.
"(In practices) I try to think a lot about what my opponent might do and countering moves," said Hines.
Opponents have struggled so far this season against Hines, with the senior heavyweight pinning three of the six opponents he's faced.
This weekend's River Riots will prove tough competition, but also gives Hines an opportunity to demonstrate why he's the No. 3-ranked heavyweight in Class AA and looking to be at the Xcel Energy Center in late February and early March.