The Iowa State Fair, planting, harvest, and the High School State Wrestling Tournament are just a few of the times of year special to the great Hawkeye State. Iowans have a deep passion for wrestling and the sport brings all Iowans together in the spirit of competition.
Every year, folks across the state have the pleasure of watching local Iowans compete at the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines. I am very excited to cheer on students from the Second District as the tournament begins this week, and hope for a weekend of close and exciting matches.
Wrestling brings a sense of comradery to Iowa. Regardless of occupation, age, or gender, Iowans share a like-minded goal in cheering for their local wrestler to succeed. When the match begins, distractions are subdued, and everyone is focused on the mats to see who comes out on top.
For the wrestlers, it gives them an arena to display the hard work and dedication that is put into wrestling. From the year-round training and making sure that they make weight to compete in their weight class, the challenges of being a wrestler are not for everyone. Staying in top physical shape, the student-athletes also must excel in their studies which is not a simple task. They have spent the whole year preparing for this tournament and are ready to show that they have what it takes to be the best.
This annual tournament attracts thousands from across the state. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the past couple of years, spectators have been limited and Iowans have missed the opportunity to cheer on their children and classmates competing for the state title. Thankfully, 2022 brings back the opportunity for spectators to return to the Wells Fargo Arena and watch the tournament again.
Iowa is home to one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Dan Gable. During Dan’s career, he won titles as a national champion, world gold medalist, and Olympic gold medalist. Dan’s journey shows that hard work and dedication to your career allows you to accomplish extraordinary feats. This dedication can be seen in all Iowans as we have experienced tornadoes, droughts, and severe winter storms. These hardships have molded us and made us stronger.
I wish the athletes across the state, and especially in the Second District, the best of luck this upcoming week knowing that they will make Iowa proud.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a resident of Ottumwa who currently represents Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.