Gabe Arnold’s move to Iowa City has been seamless on and off the mat

Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 7:22 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Arnold family uprooted their lives moving from Georgia to Iowa this summer.

“We moved everything here, our whole family. My mom, my dad, myself, my dog and my five snakes,” said City High senior Gabe Arnold.

Shiesty, Slinky, King Tut, Covid and Hawkeye, the names of Arnold’s five snakes, made sure they came along for the ride. After spending three years attending Wyoming Seminary, a prep school in Pennsylvania, Arnold decided to spend his senior season wrestling for City High.

“Some people their norm is being in a dorm and being able to go down the street and go to school. Go to wrestling practice that’s just a walk away,” he explained. “For me, I wanted that actual sense of normalcy. To feel like I was actually in high school. I have senior friends, I get grounded again.”

Although the two-time national prep champion had already committed to wrestle for the University of Iowa, it took a lot of convincing from his teammate Ben Kueter to get him to move to the Hawkeye State a year early.

“I was up here for a dual actually. Ben was like you should come look at City High, just for jokes, you know. I’m like sure, you know, why not? No way I’m going to come here,” Arnold explained. “I came here and got to talk to Coach [Cory] Connell and I was like ‘oh, this place is really nice.’ I saw the wrestling room and I’m like still to Ben, ‘there’s still no way I’m coming here,’” he added.

Months later, Arnold was in and his transition has been seamless.

“He’s fit right in. The kids have absolutely loved him. He’s been one of our best leaders right off the bat. He hasn’t been shy going into the wrestling room,” City High wrestling head coach Cory Connell said.

He went through a bumpy junior year after the departure of his head coach and having surgery on his meniscus.

“I wasn’t having fun anymore and I was getting to the point where I was borderline burnt out. I didn’t love wrestling a lot. I was having to cut a lot of weight to get down and it was just not a fun time,” Arnold said.

Now, the 182 pound wrestler is having fun again and it shows. Arnold ranks third nationally at his weight class.

“I’m a lot happier here. I’m a lot freer. My body feels great, my mind feels great, my physical just - everything is just nothing short of amazing,” Arnold added.

“He wants to get better every single day. He wants to find things he can get better at whether it’s on his feet, on top, on bottom, mentally. He’s always looking for ways to get better and develop as a wrestler and as a person and that’s refreshing,” Connell said.

His new home has helped alter his mindset in reaching his goals within the sport.

“Yes, the goal is to be an Olympic champ. Yes, the goal is to be a 4-time NCAA champ. Yes, the goal is to be a world champ, but I need to take these small steps forward before I can even worry about that,” Arnold said.