PITTSBURGH – Drake Ayala’s next adventure takes him to the Steel City “Rose Bowl of Wrestling” in this week.
The three-time Fort Dodge national champion will represent Team USA at the 47th annual Dapper Dan / Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic on Friday evening. He will compete at £ 126 and compete against Joey Fischer, a nationally ranked Pennsylvania state champion from South Park, Pennsylvania, and an aspiring newcomer to Div. I Clarion University.
Ayala, a University of Iowa recruit, is the number 1 high school wrestler in the country at £ 126.
“It is a honor,” said Ayala, who arrived in Pittsburgh on Thursday. “Definitely very cool. I’m looking forward to getting out of there and attending such a prestigious event. “
The Pittsburgh Classic is widely recognized as the premier all-star pre-competition exhibition in the United States. Less than a dozen Iowans have competed for Team USA in the history of the event.
Ayala is supported by future Hawkeye teammate Caleb Rathjen von Ankeny in the US All-Star line-up. Ayala and his father Sam made the trip with Rathjen and his mother. The Sebolt Wrestling Academy representatives, TJ Sebolt and Adam Fellers – a 2001 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate – are also at camp.
Ayala and Rathjen will be up to date from 5:30 p.m. local time on Friday evening.
“We are lucky enough to have this opportunity” Ayala said. “Given the history of the Pittsburgh Classic and the level of competition, it’s going to be a great experience. This is the best of the best in the United States. “
Former Fort Dodge State Champion Drew Bennett wrestled for Team Iowa at the 2018 Pittsburgh Classic. He received the title of Iowa’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
At the main event, Team USA competes annually against Team Pennsylvania. A map shows the all-star team from a selected state compared to other outstanding Pennsylvania players. Maryland will be participating this season.
Almost three dozen div. I recruits will be in action on Friday.
Ayala, a four-time state finalist at FDSH, won 171 career matches as a dodger and helped the program secure three team trophies in the traditional state tournament and one championship in 2018. Ayala is a two-time Fargo Nationals Champion and Super 32 Challenge the gold medalist.
After this weekend’s activity, Ayala will be returning to Pennsylvania in two weeks for a freestyle doubles tournament at State College as a Team Sebolt representative.
Ayala will graduate from FDSH later that spring and move to Iowa City shortly afterwards.
“It’s crazy to think that it all comes to an end here” Ayala said. “A lot of my friends graduated early and the school seems a lot emptier than it was (in the previous trimester).
“It’s all bittersweet, but I’m ready for the next chapter too.”
Get the latest news and more in your inbox