Desert Vista graduate Robbie Mathers has been a hard one to read over the last few years.

I've gotten him to smile on an occasion during interviews, but normally trying to get him to open up is like wrestling a Grizzly bear.

It ain't easy.

One thing that isn't difficult to see is his continued growth as a wrestler since leaving for the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., instead of heading off to Utah State where he originally committed and will likely go back to in the fall of 2013.

Mathers finished third in the nation in the Junior Freestyle National Championships in Fargo, N.D. It was an improvement over last year's fifth place finish, but a closer look really shows how close he was to

becoming a national champion.

He wrestled in the largest, and some would argue the deepest, weight class as there were 102 wrestlers from 47 states in the event.

Over three days, Mathers went 11-1 with his only loss coming to the defending National Champion in a match that ended in a tie, with the decision going against Mathers because his opponent scored the last point in the match.

In other words, the slimmest of margins kept Mathers from winning it all.

Something tells me, however, this won't be his last shot at a national title. Once he enters the college level, it wouldn't be surprising to watch him develop into an All-American with a national title within his reach.

While he has been a tough one to interview, I have come to realize that when Mathers focuses on something it is usually a done deal.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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