“It’s more about Coy watching over us and making sure that we do what we need to do,” Jon Matson, Head Wrestling Coach, said.

Over the summer 14-year-old Coy Hepper tragically passed away. Coy was a rising wrestling star usually wrestling above his weight class.

As a well known member of the Watford City wrestling community the Wolves knew this season meant something different.

“He was a beast of a wrestler, one of the best I’ve ever seen even as a little guy we use to haul him around with us sometimes to pee-wee tournaments and he’d beat everybody and he was always all wound up and everybody on the team knew him, everybody in the community knew him and he loved wrestling and wrestling loved him,” Izaak Boekelman, Friend of Coy, said.

“He’s a big part of our program, he’s been a part of me ever since the pee-wee program I use to coach the pee-wee’s, so he’s been with me ever since he started in pee-wee,” Jon said.

Friends of Coy like Beau Matson said they couldn’t think of a better way to remember him.

“He’s my biggest inspiration everyday looking down on me, he’s keeping me safe and the support from the whole family is just amazing as well,” Beau said.

And to keep the Hepper family involved in the program, Coy’s sister Kari helps the team during matches.

“Oh it’s great cause you know they are twins, so looking at her and watching her I can see Coy in her and I’m grateful that she’s with us,” Jon said.

Coming into this season Coach Matson wanted to focus on building a family atmosphere on and off the mat with a full team and not focus on the individual wrestler.

“It’s really good that energy kind of carries all of us. If one of us gets down the energy kind of picks up to the next person and then it can all change,” Beau said.

“I Really have to look at it from a team perspective and try to do everything you can do to get the pins for the team score,” Boekelman said. “Every year before this as a part of this program I’ve just gone out and do it for yourself but know you got all these guys to wrestle for.”

The Wolves are back on the mats January 13 when they travel to Turtle Mountain for a Triangular.