By Kevin Swafford
One of the greatest things about wrestling that I found was its impact on families and how the sport of wrestling is passed on with its fervent love and passion for excellence and hard-nosed quality competition from generation to generation, from parent to child, sibling to sibling, and beyond. As a matter of fact, I could probably make a career out of writing Iowa wrestling stories that are exclusively about wrestling families. There are levels of intensities that are hard to measure when it comes to family wrestling, like a wolf-pack and for the most part, there is a strength and confidence that is extremely formidable to anyone outside those walls.
When doing research on this article’s GOAT subject, I was immediately struck by how much talent that Nick Moore had… but also how much talent he had at home (brother Nate and cousin Cliff Moore) and a father that helped him pursue his wrestling dreams, and in the wrestling room with his teammates, and with his coach – former Iowa NCAA national champion Mark Reiland. I think it’s an aspect that gets overlooked sometimes when evaluating a profile of an individual whose body of work is unquestionably great. It’s the little things that matter in the daily pursuit of those high goals which become incrementally huge difference makers in that individual’s growth like the extra work that one puts in when no one is watching – the efforts invested in success that happen outside of the 2 hours spent in the practice room. Obviously, Nick had all of the tangibles that make star wrestlers… along with his intangibles, like coachability, drive and motivation to be the best he was able to build the impeccable high school resume that gives him GOAT credibility.
Let’s take a look at Nick Moore of Iowa City West and his “Case for IA HS Wrestling GOAT”!?
Nick Moore was the state’s 19th four-time state champion, winning titles at 130, 140, 152 and 160 from 2007-10. Those were weight classes well above the normal (98 or 103) starting weight classes seen in the resumes of most our beloved 4x state wrestling champions. He finished with a phenomenal 183-1 career mark, winning his last 151 consecutive matches that spanned three undefeated seasons (52-0, 49-0, 50-0) and was a junior national freestyle champion.
Nick’s only loss came during his freshman year at the hands of 2x state champion Mark Ballweg of Waverly-Shell Rock (career 158-6), in the 2007 state duals by a score of 5-3 after defeating Ballweg in overtime in their previous meeting a week earlier in the state semifinals. Nick of course went on to win the 3A 130 lbs weight class capturing the first of his 4 state titles. Ballweg placed 4th at 130 that year, and is the only HS wrestler to defeat both Moore brothers (beating Nate Moore in the 2005 3A finals at 103 lbs) and also went on to wrestle for the Iowa Hawkeyes (along with his brothers).
Nick was part of ICW’s talented “Fab 5” in the mid to late 2000’s, a tight-knit group of stud wrestlers for then head coach Mark Reiland… which included Nick’s brother Nate (2x state champ and 4x finalist), Derek St. John (2x state champ), Grant Gambrall (2x state champ) and Dylan Carew (2x state champ and 4x placer), and played a role in helping Iowa City West to a 2nd consecutive state duals and traditional team title sweep back in 2007… (IC West took home those same titles the previous year in 2006).
What makes Nick Moore’s climb to the list of “Mount Rushmore” 4x state title winners so impressive, is he ran the table winning two of those individual state titles with an injured right shoulder that required a pair of off-season surgeries (sophomore and junior seasons), which points to Nick’s physical and mental toughness, while also winning those titles in middle weight classes that spanned from 130 to 160.
What makes his “4-Peat” run of state titles that much sweeter from my perspective is that two of those state title years, Nick was able to share them with his brother Nate who was 2 years older. The Moore’s were teammates again later on in their wrestling careers at Iowa. Nick Moore went on to become a Big Ten finalist and three-time NCAA qualifier for the Hawkeyes.
Nick Moore was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Wrestling Hall Of Fame in 2020 (sharing the honor that night with his brother Nate – now head coach of their alma mater – the Iowa City West Trojans).
Personally, I love that… maybe it’s the sentimental side of me that enjoys seeing success of brothers (myself being a twin and also having a younger brother that I played an important role in helping him reach his wrestling goals) and in this GOAT case, the impact that brothers play in shaping each other’s future as well as later in life.
Nick Moore stands in nobody’s shadow while carrying an ample resume and deserves our consideration for Iowa HS Wrestling GOAT – what say you?
Here’s Nick Moore’s state tournament results…
2007 3A Results
- Nick Moore, Fr., Iowa City West
- Isaiah Smith, So., Newton
- Micah Sheffield, Sr., Sioux City North
- Mark Ballweg, Jr., Waverly-Shell Rock
- Travis Stratton, Jr., Burlington
- Bradley Westendorf, Sr., Oelwein
- Adam Richards, Sr., Johnston
- Colby Tofanelli, So., Des Moines Lincoln
2008 3A Results
- Nick Moore, So., Iowa City West
- Alec Hoffman, Sr., Davenport North
- Tyler Hardin, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
- Travis Stratton, Sr., Burlington
- James Tudor, Jr., Newton
- Mike White, Sr., Bettendorf
- Tyler Middleton, Sr., Ankeny
- Keaton Lunn, Jr., Fort Dodge
2009 3A Results
- Nick Moore, Jr., Iowa City West
- Josiah South, Sr., Urbandale
- Joey Trizino, Jr., Bettendorf
- Quinten Haynes, Sr., Waterloo East
- Cody Clark, Sr., Southeast Polk
- Cody Marsh, Sr., Fort Dodge
- Spencer BeLieu, Jr., Indianola
- Travis Mallo, So., Mason City
2010 3A Results
1st: Nick Moore, Iowa City West SR 48- 0
2nd: Spencer BeLieu, Indianola SR 38- 3
3rd: Anthony Walther, Waverly-Shell Rock SR 39- 4
4th: Nik Pappas, Valley West Des Moines SR 32- 8
5th: Cory Devries, Dowling Catholic W Des Moines SR 31- 15
6th: Beau Gill, Sioux City North SR 34- 8
7th: Bryan Levsen, Bettendorf SO 25- 6
8th: Thomas Mayberry, Maquoketa SR 36- 7
Here’s Nick Moore interview at “Wrestling With Iowa:”