CEDAR RAPIDS — Kennedy senior Dylan Ironside has lived with high expectations since he stepped on a wrestling mat.
The name Ironside is familiar to many wrestling fans.
Uncle Mark Ironside won two NCAA titles for the University of Iowa and also captured the Hodge trophy as the nation’s top wrestler. Dylan’s father, Matt Ironside, was a two-time junior college All-American and won an NJCAA title at Iowa Central. Another uncle, Tim Ironside, was a state champ for Jefferson.
The Ironside side of the family is only part of Dylan’s wrestling heritage. Cedar Rapids Prairie state champ and former University of Iowa wrestler Rick Novak also is an uncle.
The day Dylan started wrestling, he knew there would be high expectations.
Ironside knew he wanted to wrestle after watching his dad coach high schoolers. He started going to practices in second grade, but got more serious about it in fourth grade.
When he was wrestling in youth tournaments, he not only had to deal with the pressure of his name but also from being placed in the “feature match.”
Most fourth- and fifth-graders don’t have to deal with that.
“Throughout my life and especially my high school career, people would talk about my name and expectations for me,” Ironside said. “I would get extremely nervous for a match and thought I had to be just like my family.”
As time progressed, Ironside has figured out how to deal with the pressure in a way that wouldn’t affect him on the mat.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“I don’t care about any (of the expectations) anymore. I just block it out,” Ironside said.
It seems to be working. As his last season continues, Ironside keeps getting more confident. He has knocked off ranked opponents, which earned a spot in the rankings for the first time.
“It’s cool to see my name up there, but rankings don’t really mean much to me,” Ironside said. “I know when I wrestle to my potential, I can beat anyone in the state.”
Ironside is visibly wrestling more relaxed and letting go of the pressure.
With one final shot at state, Ironsides is ready to take on the challenge.
“My coaches and I are doing all the right things,” Ironside said. “I’m focused on staying relaxed and wrestling my style.”
Ironside was able to wrestle for the first time in a month on Jan. 20 and took third place at Louisa-Muscatine Invitational. He is preparing for the Mississippi Valley Conference Super on Saturday.
“The MVC meet is always great for preparing for state and I’m excited to prove myself against top opponents,” Ironside said.