Jack Hatton knows what it’s like to compete at the highest level of sports.
Even though the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School senior is going to his first state wrestling tournament this weekend in Albany, he’s had experience at national and international events while competing for the Jason Morris Judo Center team.
“I think there is less pressure for me because I’ve already seen that level and beyond,” said Hatton.
Hatton said his judo training helped him win his first Section II Division I title Feb. 10 in Queensbury.
“I don’t really use wrestling (techniques),” said Hatton. “I use judo because it seems to work well against other wrestlers.”
“He has a different style than any of our other guys,” said BH-BL coach Steve Jones. “He has judo skills and wrestling skills, and he’s very good at bringing his judo skills to the mat.”
Hatton’s first opponent Friday at the Times Union Center is Chenango Forks’ Isaiah Zimmer.
Joey Butler (138 pounds) and Jake Ash-craft (152) are also repre-senting BH-BL at the state tournament. Both wrestlers earned wild card berths after placing at Sectionals. Butler begins with Massena’s Isaiah Perry, while Ashcraft meets Port Jervis’ Daniel DeCarlo.
“Jake finished third, and I think he thought he’d finish higher than that,” said Jones. “Joey knew he had a tough op-ponent in the finals with (Shenendehowa’s) Nick Kelley.”
Schalmont’s Nick Gallo is also competing at the state tournament. Gallo meets Portville’s Gunnar Van Curen in the first round of the Division II 160-pound weight class.
The state tournament runs through Saturday at the Times Union Center.