Like many college graduates-turned adults, Moza Fay had a tough decision to make a couple of years ago. Become part of the real world or follow his dream.
“I thought ‘what do I really want to do?’” the former Anamosa prep and UNI wrestling All-American said, talking about a job offer to stay in the Cedar Valley.
The dream won out.
“I’m just going to live life with no regrets,” he said.
Two-plus years later, the dream continues and could become reality this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials in Iowa City.
Fay has lived and trained in Colorado Spring, Colo., since January 2010. He has worked his way up the freestyle ladder, finishing fourth at the 2010 U.S. Nationals and fourth in the main Olympic Trials qualifier.
“It’s been a really awesome fit for me,” Fay said. “I’ve been steadily working my way up to the top … just putting in the time, studying my opponents and training 24-7. We work extremely hard out here.”
Fay will face some stiff competition in the 163-pound division this weekend, including top-ranked Jordan Burroughs of Lincoln, Neb., and No. 2 Trent Paulson, a former Iowa State standout. And old nemesis Ryan Morningstar, a former Lisbon prep and University of Iowa standout, has battled Fay since their youth.
“I feel confident when I wrestle Burroughs,” Fay said, noting he has beaten most of the other challengers in his weight. “I’m feeling great. I really am feeling great about it.”
A two-time state high school champion for Anamosa, Fay considered giving up wrestling after earning two All-American finishes at UNI. He married Lauren (Berberich) in 2006 and the two welcomed their first child, a daughter, in March.
“I’ve got some really good stuff going on in my life,” he said, adding the birth of his daughter has changed his perspective on things he thought were important. “The important things in my life are even more important to me. The less important things have kind of faded away.”
He’s also thrilled to be heading home, getting a chance to compete in front of family and friends. And he’s not at all intimidated by Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a place where many visiting wrestlers have struggled.
Of course, he’s not returning as a Panther against a Hawkeye, but as an Iowa farm boy chasing a dream.
“I see it as something really fun,” he said.
He’s not sure what the future holds, focusing on this weekend with passion and determination. He’s working on an MBA and knows wrestling, at some point, could become one of those “less important” things.
“I’m treating this like it could be the last tournament of my life,” he said. “But I’d like to compete until 2016.”
Dreams, after all, don’t always fade way easily.
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