Photo by Sam Janicki

Another Iowan is headed to the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic. Drake Ayala has been selected to compete at 126 pounds for Team USA. The Fort Dodge standout is already a three-time state finalist in Class 3A, and is in search of his third state title this February. Ayala won titles as a sophomore and junior.
 
There is no question that Ayala has established himself as one of the premier lightweights in the country. Last fall the Dodger made history by becoming just the second Iowan to win the Super 32 tournament, and later he went on to record a win at Flowrestling’s Who’s Number One. There he scored a decisive victory over Richie Figueroa, who was considered the nation’s #1 wrestler regardless of weight at the time. This event only goes to further cement Ayala’s pace in Iowa’s history as only a few select Iowans have participated.
 
Ayala joins the likes of Chance Lamer, Shane Van Ness, Paddy Gallagher, Victor Voinovich, and the aforementioned Figueroa on Team USA’s roster. Previous Iowans to compete at the Pitt Wrestling Classic recently include Mat Thomsen and Fredy Stroker – who both competed on the 2015 roster, Cory Clark and John Meeks in 2012. Last year 2020 seniors Cael Happel and Gabe Christenson were selected to compete, but were unable to due to the cancellation caused by COVID-19.
 
He also joins a long line of University of Iowa wrestlers to participate in the event. Max Murin, Michael Kemerer, and Austin DeSanto all competed for Team PA, and Jacob Warner and Cory Clark each competed for Team USA. It should be noted that Spencer Lee was also selected to compete for Team PA (and was/is the only Pennsylvanian to this day to be selected prior to the PA state tournament), but he was forced to withdraw due to injury.
 
About the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic
 
The Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic local organizing committee is excited to announce the 47th Annual competition to be held on Friday, April 2, 2021. The date has been changed due to the PIAA Team Championships being rescheduled to occur after the individual championships.
 
The Wrestling Classic – known as “The Rose Bowl of Wrestling” – is the most prestigious high school all-star wrestling meet in the United States because it attracts the very best high school seniors in the country. The preliminary meet pits the best wrestlers from Western Pennsylvania, or WPIAL, against the Maryland All-Stars. The feature match showcases the best-of-the-best high school wrestlers from across the United States challenging the reigning Pennsylvania state champs.
 
The committee will be finalizing other decisions in the weeks ahead based on circumstances, including the specific time of each dual meet competition and venue. Due to COIVD related restrictions, the venue and overall safety precautions, tickets are not currently on sale. More information on the time, venue and tickets sales, and the USA All-Star Team line-up will be announced as these details are finalized.
 
FloWrestling will broadcast the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic live for the 9th consecutive year.
 
The Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic website is in transition and under construction. In the meantime, please visit our page on FaceBook and Twitter accounts at https://www.facebook.com/PWrClassic and @PWrClassic for more information.
 
A special Thank You to all our sponsors who make this great event possible each year. Without their ongoing support this event would not exist. Please patronize their business whenever possible.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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