A family affair

Wrestling is way of life for Iacovetto clan

— Heidi Iacovetto loves to cook. Half-Italian, half-Polish, she's good at it, too, but currently the matriarch of the Iacovetto family is resigned to preparing stir-fry and salads in observance of wrestling season.

Her sons' two-day regional tournament begins tonight and a return trip to the state tournament is on the line for Josh and Matt Iacovetto. That means the brothers, both Soroco High School wrestlers, spent the week staying as close to 112 and 119 pounds, respectively, as possible.

"We don't cook much Italian during wrestling season," Heidi said.

With three boys active in wrestling -- 11-year-old Justin completes the family trio -- the Iacovetto family views weight watching more as a routine than an annoyance.

Josh, 18, and Matt, now 16, have been involved in wrestling since they were in the first and second grades. Justin started in kindergarten when he was 33 pounds.

"My first wrestling tournament was in hiking boots," Justin said. "I didn't know I was going to wrestle."

He took second, and he hasn't lost in a local peewee tournament since.

Although he is the youngest, Justin has, by far, the most hardware from wrestling tournaments, largely because he started competing at the state and national level much earlier than his older brothers.

A bookshelf in Justin's room is filled with trophies that come up to at least his knees. Where belts usually hang off closet door handles, medals dangle free.

"He takes wrestling pretty seriously," Josh said.

But Josh has the title that Matt and Justin want to win. Last year, the eldest brother came home with a state championship medal, bracket and coin flipper after claiming the Class 2A 103-pound crown.

The medal itself easily fits into the palm of Josh's hands.

"For how small it is, it means a lot," he said.

Which is exactly how Clyde and Heidi feel about each of their sons -- tiny in physique but large in physicality.

"I hoped they would wrestle," Clyde said.

Clyde was a member of Soroco's 1976 championship team, finishing as high as second in the 98-pound weight class during his high school wrestling career.

The Iacovetto name has been in South Routt for more than 100 years. It has been in the state wrestling annals since the mid-1970s.

For the record, however, the three Iacovetto boys chose to wrestle -- but as Josh said, "My parents didn't hand us a basketball."

Hoops is pretty much the only sport the three boys don't play. But from playing computer games to putting cracks in walls, Josh, Matt and Justin do almost everything together.

"We're pretty close as brothers and supportive of the others when they are wrestling" Josh said. "We like to push each other."

Occasionally, practice sessions move from Soroco High School to the house four miles away, where Clyde put in a wrestling room -- complete with mat and weights --above the garage to preserve the carpet and walls in the Iacovettos' new Phippsburg home.

Practicing against each other, however, is all Josh and Matt are allowed to do, Heidi said.

She prevented Josh and Matt from squaring off in tournaments even when they were younger.

"They've always brought out the best in each other," she said. "I didn't want them to compete against each other. I want them to support each other."

When Josh and Matt aren't wrestling simultaneously -- they are often on the mat at the same time in tournaments -- one is often seen giving advice to the other.

Clyde and Justin are usually mat-side for Matt and Josh's matches as well. Grandma Alice Iacovetto stays up in the bleachers, but she can be heard above the crowd.

"She's quite the yeller," Clyde said.

Heidi, on the other hand, has a hard time even looking at the mat.

"I can watch them play hockey or baseball, but wrestling really gets me," Heidi said. "It's like watching a train wreck. You can't look away, but you don't want to watch either."

During Josh's state final match last February, her stress ball was circling feverishly in her hand.

"I can't explain it," she said.

But Heidi follows her boys everywhere. She's actually a bit of a tomboy herself, so she isn't sure what she would do with a girl.

Probably teach her how to cook -- unless, of course, the little girl wanted to wrestle.

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