Dedicated To Excellence
Feb. 3, 2004
Growing up roughly 80 miles from Iowa City, in Dubuque, Iowa, Hawkeye senior wrestler Cliff Moore always had aspirations of wearing the Black and Gold.
"They were always the best and the team that people wanted to beat. They had a style that everyone envied."
After notching a 139-2 record in high school, including three state titles, and earning All-America status, Cliff made the leap to Iowa and the Big Ten. He has continued to win under the direction of head coach Jim Zalesky, compiling a 78-23 overall record through his first three years of eligibility and winning NCAA All-America honors twice at 133 pounds.
But it wasn't just dreaming and high hopes that got Cliff to Iowa and made him a collegiate success. At the end of last season, he was awarded the John and Dorothy Still Award, which is given to the team's most dedicated wrestler.
"I guess it's just kind of the way I am," he said when asked about where his dedication comes from. "It's the way I was raised and my mentality. Wrestling is really important and I need to do everything I can to make it worthwhile."
When his alarm buzzes around 8:00 a.m., Cliff gets up and heads to the gym where he'll do a combination of drills, weight lifting, and running. He attends class in the afternoon, and is back at practice at 3:30 for some hard wrestling. Homework is sandwiched between getting some food and a little relaxation time, before he sets his alarm for the next morning.
"You have to have priorities, but you also have to try and do everything you can as long as it doesn't impede on other goals," he says.
Perhaps his attachment to the sport is in his genes. His dad and two uncles were all grapplers, as well as his older brother, and helped cliff get into wrestling when he was young. Once the wrestling started and the 'Ws' started to add up, he just, "kept on going."
But, as Cliff notes, his family has guided his career in a second way.
"What (my dad and uncles) accomplished in wrestling before me definitely influenced my career. But they also took me all over the country, giving me the opportunity to wrestle in the top tournaments against the top competition all through my life."
This year, there was a new challenge to be faced. After completing one redshirt year and three seasons at 133 pounds Cliff, who says over the summer he, "just got bigger," is moving up a weight class to 141 pounds.
"It all just happened naturally," Cliff explained. "And with the weigh-ins, it's just hard to cut the weight. It's just more important to feel good and feel the right weight. But it's been fine, and I'm not really seeing any difference."
And the results speak for themselves. Thus far in the 2003-04 season, Cliff has a compiled a 9-1 dual meet record and is ranked fifth in the nation at 141 pounds by W.I.N. magazine.
Cliff plans to carry over his dedication to his career beyond his college competition days. He hopes to stay around the Iowa program for awhile, "helping in anyway I can," he says. He hopes to be part of the Hawkeye wrestling club, and coaching may also be in the cards somewhere down the line as well. Ultimately, for the person who has been drawn to the University of Iowa for so long, it will be hard to ever want to leave.
"I really want to stay here. Iowa City is like a home to me."