If gladiators still existed today Veterans Auditorium would be their Colosseum. The wrestling history that has been made inside this famous Iowa arena is second to none. If you are a fan of high school wrestling you know just how rare being a four time state champion really is. Not even Dan Gable accomplished that feat; though that was no fault of his own. At that time, freshman were not allowed to compete for the state championships in wrestling per IHSAA rules.
Every two or three years there is a match inside Wells Fargo Arena (the new location of the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament) that draws the eyes of everyone in attendance. Wrestling fans do not need the PA announcer to tell them which upcoming match features wrestlers trying to etch their name in history; they are well aware. They know because they have wrestled themselves or supported someone who has. They understand the physical and mental sacrifices that a wrestler has made to give themselves this chance.
In California, a four time state champ is even more rare. There have been 25 four time state champions in Iowa history, but in California there have been just two. Recently, the University of Iowa received a commitment from one of them in Justin Mejia. Justin recently became the second wrestler in California state history to win a state championship in all four years of his high school career.
We had a chance to catch up with Justin and had a quick chat about his recent commitment to the Hawkeyes.
BCD: What was it that eventually lead you back to Iowa and your commitment to wrestle for Coach Brands?
JM: I knew that I always wanted to be a Hawkeye and to wrestle for Coach Brands. I’ve always been a fan of the work ethic they preach. Thankfully, that decision was made much easier when Illinois did not let me in.
BCD: You will join the #2 ranked recruiting class in the country. Did knowing you have a chance to be part of something special play a part into your decision making?
JM: I wanted to either way, it didn’t matter to me what Iowa’s recruiting rank was.
BCD: For those Iowan’s that don’t know you or haven’t followed your California HS wrestling career, briefly tell them the type of wrestler the Hawkeyes are getting.
JM: Hawkeye Wrestling Fans are getting one tough S.O.B.
BCD: California’s 2nd 4X time state champion, what year meant the most to you and why?
JM: I think my freshman year was my most important here because I learned really fast at a young age what it was going to take to be the best, not only in athletics but academically as well.
BCD: Lastly, what area of education do you plan to pursue while attending Iowa?
JM: Well I want to be a PE teacher but I will probably be taking some communication and journalism classes as well.
Here is Justin’s match to win his 4th state title
We’d like to thank Justin for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us. Hawk fans have plenty of reason to be excited for the fireworks that are sure to take place inside Carver Hawkeye Arena next year! Give Justin a follow on Twitter @jmejia106