Pleasant Valley Girls Wrestling celebrates second season

Pleasant Valley girls’ wrestling team established the Spartans as a powerhouse in the state during their first year of sanctioned girls’ wrestling
Photo credit to Life Touch
Pleasant Valley girls’ wrestling team established the Spartans as a powerhouse in the state during their first year of sanctioned girls’ wrestling Photo credit to Life Touch
Pleasant Valley Girls Wrestling during the first practice. Photo credit to Joshua Meyrer.
Pleasant Valley Girls Wrestling anxiously awaits second season

The Pleasant Valley High School’s Girls Wrestling’s season kicked off yesterday. The first official winter sport to start in the state of Iowa. After the inaugural season last year, and sending two girls to state, many on the team are looking forward to the year.

Girls Wrestling has been officially sanctioned in the state of Iowa since 2022. More than 2,400 high school girls wrestled last year.

The official 2023 IGHSAU State Tournament at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa was sold out last year, for both days, showing high hopes for the sport’s growth.

This year, numbers are already increasing.

Pleasant Valley Girls Wrestling may not have had the biggest team, but they definitely proved their name in the 2022-23 season.

“I want to grow the team, we ended with 11 last year and I want to see that double. I want to see us continue growing where we left off last year, but most importantly I want to get a lot more of our girls through regionals and to state,” said head coach Tom Isaacson.

After beating PV’s ranked rival Bettendorf in a dual, winning two tournaments and placing in the top five for eight tournaments, the team sent two girls to state. Even with only two girls, Pleasant Valley placed 30th out of 138 teams.

With nine returners on the starting lineup, the team is excited to see growth in numbers and talent.

“My goals are to improve on last year’s success as well as numbers wise. And, for the girls, I want them to all have fun and see all of their goals be accomplished and proved throughout the season,” Assistant Coach Joshua Meyrer said.

Abby Meyrer, the 2023 120 lb state champion continues to bring competition to the room. Also returning is senior Caitlin Reiter, who had to withdraw from the quarter finals last year after an injury.

The team’s hope is to fill all 14 spots in each weight class and to be competitive in tournaments and duels.

This year, the Battle of Waterloo and many more vigorous tournaments have been added to the schedule. Wrestling and competing against ranked teams and girls are important in growing the strength of the program and the individuals on the team.

Wrestling is not an easy sport.

Each athlete has to face many mental battles, “Wrestling is extremely challenging. This sport is 90-95% mental and that is what really translates into the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” said Isaacson.

“You constantly have to battle your demons and pain. You may think ‘am I good enough?, can I do this?, am I good enough to do this?’ Looking at an opponent that has a ranking, is truly challenging prior to stepping on the mat,” Isaacson said. “The mental aspect is harder now than before because you know exactly who you are going to be wrestling and you know a lot more about them. And it can get into your head a little bit more.”

Although the mental aspect may be tiring, so are the physical battles. “Wrestling has many physical demands, a lot of them being the awkward positions you can get into on the mat and having to dig down deep and find strength from muscles you do not normally use,” Meyrer said.

Isaacson agrees with Meyrer, “There is not one day you probably aren’t in pain, you probably will wrestle hurt and you have to be strong about it,” he said.

The sport consists of staying disciplined outside of practice with your eating habits as well. Former Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling Coach Dan Gable famously said, “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

Meyrer spoke to the meaning of the quote. “I believe the best part of wrestling off the mat is the mental toughness that you gain and will have with you for the rest of your life. What Dan Gable said is unfathomably true and you do not know until you experience it.”

Pleasant Valley Girls Wrestling during the first practice. Photo credit to Joshua Meyrer.
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