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|Iowa native Moza Fay to wrestle in front of home crowd at the U.S. Olympic Trials|
By Jackie Branca USA Wrestling
Come Saturday, April 21, if it seems like the crowd in Carver-Hawkeye Arena is cheering for men’s freestyler Moza Fay, it’s because most of them are. Fay, who grew up less than an hour outside of Iowa City, will be competing in the tough 74 kg/163 lbs. weight class for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
“I am so excited to go back to Iowa City,” Fay said. “With this Olympic Trials being in Iowa City, I’m going to have so many friends and family and supporting people there. It’s just going to be fun and I can’t wait to go back.”
Fay grew up in Anamosa, Iowa, a town with roughly 5,000 residents, and was an All-American for the University of Northern Iowa. He says a lot of people will be on hand cheering him on. He isn’t worried about the added pressure. Instead, he is excited and thriving on the added support.
“The sports psychologist and coaches tell us to take some time and visualize ourselves at the Trials. Well, I realized I am already doing that without them telling me,” Fay said. “My mind is just off thinking about what it’s going to be like and I can’t wait to get there.”
Although Fay is excited to be going back home to perform in front of a supportive home crowd, he’s not satisfied with just making it this far. Like his fellow wrestlers, Fay is focused on making the Olympic Team bound for London this summer.
With the Olympic Trials only a week away, Fay is confident in his preparation and trusts his abilities that have gotten him this far in his wrestling career.
“At this point right now, all the work is done. I’m in awesome shape, I’ve done so many sprints that I don’t even want to talk about and I know I’ve done everything I needed to do,” Fay said. “I feel I have lived the lifestyle of a wrestler that is going to win the Olympic Trials and so all the work has been put in right now. I just need to dwell on the positive thoughts and be confident in my abilities.”
The 26-year-old’s road to Olympian is not an easy one. Before Fay can realize his dream, he has to make it through the difficult 74 kg weight class challenge tournament, and then wrestle World champion Jordan Burroughs in the best-of-3 finals series. Even then, if Fay wins, he will then go to an international event overseas and must place higher than Burroughs to be on the U.S. Olympic Team.
“It is definitely a steeper mountain to climb at 74 kg and 96 kg because of Burroughs and (Jake) Varner,” Men’s Freestyle National Team Assistant Coach Brandon Slay said. “But I believe Moza has the potential and the ability to beat anybody he sets his heart and mind to. He’s dotted all his ‘I’s and crossed his ‘T’s and trained appropriately so when he goes into the Trials he should be confident that he’s done all he can and be ready to shine.”
Moza attributes a lot of his success to his training partner and good friend, Tyler Caldwell. Fay says Caldwell, who will be among Fay’s competition next week, is a tough competitor and going against him each day makes him better.
“Tyler is a competitive partner and he’s one of my top competitors,” Fay said. “We have an awesome relationship and we really push each other. Competing against each other every day makes for a real competitive environment day to day and to have a training partner like that, it’s really awesome to have a guy like that.”
The Olympic Trials will be a culmination of a whirlwind of the past two years for Fay. In September of 2009 he got married and four months later he and his wife moved out to Colorado Springs so Fay could train at the United States Olympic Training Center and focus on his dream of making it to the Olympics.
In addition to his wrestling duties, Fay is in the process of obtaining his MBA through DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. He spends the majority of his free time in-between practice sessions in the Athlete Service Center lounge doing homework. And to top it all off, Fay and his wife have a three-week-old daughter.
With all that on his plate, Fay is able to stay focused and be a leader on the wrestling team.
“Moza is a fabulous leader, he does what he says, has an extreme work ethic and is a man of integrity,” Slay said. “He’s a great example, not just for the older guys, but for our developmental guys, our junior level guys who are 18 or 19 years old and we have about nine of those guys. So, it’s really important if you have nine 18- or 19-year-olds that you have some real solid leaders that are 25, 26, and 27 years old and Moza is that guy for us.”
Fay has a wealth of opportunities to succeed in wrestling, including setting his sights on competing for the 2016 Olympics and entertaining some coaching proposals. However, Moza would first like to add 2012 Olympic Team member to his list of most memorable moments, which includes wrestling 2008 Olympian Ben Askren on top of the USS Intrepid and competing in Cuba.
For a kid whose wrestling career began when he was five years old rough housing with his brother in the living room, he will have the opportunity to wrestle in the same arena in which he used to be a spectator as young boy.
“It’s obviously a dream come true just to make it to London,” Fay said. “I wouldn’t move half-way across the country to Colorado Springs to not make that spot. It’s very exciting just to have the opportunity to compete for that but it would be a dream come true to make the Olympic Team.”
Follow Moza Fay on his quest to become an Olympic Team member on Twitter and Facebook