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Mancos wrestler Ayden Mathews is headed to West Point

Mancos senior Ayden Mathews and his parents, Alan and Anna, celebrate his post-secondary pursuits as Mathews joins the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, this fall. (Courtesy photo)
Two-sport star pursues military service with Army

The steadying influence of Mancos senior Ayden Mathews permeated the huddle on the gridiron and the mats in the wrestling practice room.

As the high-pressure moments escalated, his even-keeled countenance kept his teammates prepared to thrive – with plenty of team and individual success to show for his efforts.

Now, with graduation on the horizon, Mathews gets set to take on a new stage of his life this fall by signing on with the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

“He does everything you could ask from him,” said Mancos football coach Josh Gardner when talking about his quarterback.

“From practice to the classroom, he takes care of it all with the attitude of a leader,” Gardner said.

A three-year starter at quarterback for the Bluejays football team, Mathews passed for more than 2,500 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a career that saw the Mancos football team play in its first state title game in 2021 to go along with the program’s first state semifinal appearances in 2021 and 2022.

The team posted a 31-8 record in his four years with the team, placing Mathews’ career among the all-time best in Bluejays history. Mathews earned a pair of all-state individual selections while playing under the guidance of Gardner as well as Ayden’s father, Alan, and the vaunted Mancos unit.

Meanwhile, on the wrestling mat, Mathews capped a grappling career with a sixth-place finish at the 2A state championships in his final season, wrapping up his third state appearance and second all-state recognition. The team took its best finish with a third-place performance behind Mathews’ leadership.

The journey to West Point began with a full evaluation of the service academies before opting for the Army.

“At first, I began looking at the Air Force, but then I started looking at the other service academies, too,” said Mathews, “and I started to feel a sense of belonging to West Point.”

The opportunity to be around a new generation of young, driven individuals is something that excites Mathews in his life’s next chapter.

“I really like the structure and the atmosphere – I know that it’s going to push me,” said Mathews of the U.S. Military Academy, “and I know that I’ll be able to achieve a lot.”