A couple weeks ago, we wrote about Justin Decker, the 33-year-old dairy farmer and father of two who also happens to be a wrestler at Upper Iowa University.
Decker had been the subject of a sports report by KCRG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa… and a video posted at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier website.
Now, he has been profiled by the largest circulation newspaper in Iowa… and by a leading amateur wrestling website.
Des Moines Register: Rob Gray, who writes about wrestling for “the newspaper Iowa depends on,” provides a detailed profile on Decker, who, back in the late 1990s, wrestled for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes… then left the program, but not necessarily the sport of wrestling. Here’s an excerpt that explains the dairy farmer’s return to wrestling:
So how did Decker – who retained college eligibility after leaving Iowa in the mid-1990s – return to competition on the mat after such a long absence?
It’s a long story, one girded by a supportive family, an abiding love of the sport and a deep emotional bond to a rapidly-rising team he once served for two years as an assistant coach.
“Realistically, seven or eight years ago would have been a much better time for me to come back and wrestle,” said Decker, who helps milk 600 Holsteins and farm 1,800 acres in a family operation headed by his parents, Roger and Judy, also worked by two of his brothers, Jason and Derek.
The article even includes quotes from Justin Decker’s 10-year-old daughter, Braiden.
InterMat Platinum: InterMat staff writer Mark Palmer interviewed Decker and Upper Iowa head coach Heath Grimm for a profile on the wrestler/dairy farmer that is getting the attention of newspapers and dairy magazines. Here’s a taste of that InterMat profile:
Just to be clear, Justin Decker is not a thirtysomething guy who recently decided to take up wrestling on a dare … or as an item to cross off a bucket list.
Justin Decker wrestled at West Central High in Maynard, Iowa, compiling a 150-7 record. He was a four-time state qualifier, winning the Iowa high school state championship twice.
With those credentials, Decker then continued his wrestling career at the University of Iowa in the late 1990s, and was, in fact, the 158-pound starter for a time. Among his teammates: Joe Williams, Bill Zadick, Lincoln McIlravy, Jeff McGinness, Wes Hand, and Lee Fullhart. (“Some of the all-time Hawkeye greats,” as Decker described them.)
NOTE: The Justin Decker profile is an InterMat Platinum feature, which requires a paid subscription which may be purchased online.
Des Moines Register: Former Hawkeye at 33 back on the college mats
InterMat Platinum: Upper Iowa’s Decker as motivated as ever at age 33
College Wrestling Examiner, January 14: Upper Iowa grappler shows you’re never too old to wrestle
KCRG-TV video: Upper Iowa wrestler shows age has no limits
Waterloo Daily Courier video: Dairy farmer returns to wrestling
TheMat.com: Schedule and results for February 1-7
TheMat.com: Wrestlers of the Week
College Wrestling 101: Links to articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
Follow College Wrestling Examiner Mark Palmer on Twitter