Senior wrestler leaves ‘no stone unturned’

Iowa State’s Tanner Weatherman grapples with Iowa’s Mike Evans in their 174-pound match at the meet on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Brian Mozey

Senior Tanner Weatherman started his wrestling career in the 40-pound weight class as a kindergartener. 

It was a family tradition, and without his family, Tanner probably wouldn’t be in an ISU singlet or in the top 10 nationally for the 165-pound weight class. 

“My family has been my rock ever since I was a child,” Tanner said. “There’s no way that I could’ve been wrestling at Iowa State without the help of all my family and friends along the way.” 

Before Tanner started wrestling in a league, Tim Weatherman, Tanner’s father, knew he would be an excellent wrestler. Tanner had two cousins and an older brother, Trent Weatherman, who were wrestlers, so it wasn’t unusual when Tanner told Tim he wanted to start wrestling.

“All I know is that I never won the wrestling matches at Thanksgiving,” Tim said. “It was always a battle between the cousins, Trent and Tanner.”

Tim owned the local wrestling mat in Huxley, Iowa, so Tanner had plenty of practice as a young wrestler. From the age of 4 until Tanner’s senior year of high school, Tim was the coach for all of his wrestling teams.

Going into high school, Tim already knew Tanner had the abilities and work ethic to make it on a college wrestling team. The amount of junior titles that Tanner won in sixth, seventh and eighth grade made one particular college interested: Iowa State. 

They continued to show interest during his high school years when he won three state titles in his weight classes and finished runner-up at state his freshman year. He finished his high school career with a 173-9 record.

“With my brother being here at Iowa State, I think Iowa was a little scared to recruit me,” Tanner said. “I was pretty much dead set on coming to Iowa State with my brother here and the strong wrestling program.”

His first year at Iowa State, Tanner was excited to join his brother, but that soon became a problem when Trent was hurt during his sophomore and junior years. Tanner redshirted his first year, but hit the mat running in his second year. 

Tanner said it was disappointing to see his brother hurt during his first and second years because the two of them weren’t just brothers, they were best friends. Tanner would later start every single match from his second to fifth year at Iowa State in his respective weight class. 

“Tanner is a better wrestler than me,” Trent said. “I can’t take much credit into helping him, but I definitely tried to motivate him.”

At every home dual, Tanner’s parents, brother and sometimes other relatives were in the stands to cheer him on. Once Tanner was on deck for his match at the dual, Trent would disappear from the family.  

Trent would go back behind the curtain and talk with Tanner before his match. 

During Tanner’s match, Trent would stand as close to the mat as possible and yell out motivation. Trent said it was completely different being a fan rather than the athlete because he couldn’t control anything.

“I heard Trent every time it was a home dual and I looked forward to hearing his motivation,” Tanner said. “I paid most attention to my coaches, but it’s always nice having other eyes and ears during the match.”

Looking back at Tanner’s career at Iowa State, Trent’s favorite moment was coaching him at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open last year in November. Tanner placed second in the 165-pound weight class, but Trent enjoyed being at his side throughout the entire day. 

“It was fun being able to coach him and seeing how much he’s improved from his first year at Iowa State,” Trent said. “That’s one big memory I will take away from his career.”

For Tim, his favorite memory occurred during Tanner’s second year at Iowa State. This was Tanner’s first year wrestling, as a redshirt freshman, and he became a NCAA qualifier for 174 pounds. Tanner upset No. 12 seed Dan Yates and No. 7 seed Jordan Blanton in the NCAA Tournament and also won second place in the Big 12 Championships.

“Tanner didn’t have any expectations going into his first NCAA Tournament,” Tim said. “And coming out with two wins against ranked opponents was exciting for him and our entire family.”

Tanner still has a couple goals left to complete before he hangs up his shoes at Iowa State. Tanner hopes to become Big 12 champion and NCAA champion for the 165-pound weight class. He also wants to become an All-American for his senior year, but knows he’ll be happy no matter what happens in the last two tournaments of his career.

Tanner, Trent and Tim enjoyed Tanner’s journey at Iowa State and through his childhood, but each of them had one word to describe his career as a Cyclone.

For Trent, the word was accomplished because Tanner should feel accomplished with his career at Iowa State.

For Tim, the word was workmanship because Tanner showed his hard work in everything he did. Whether it was in the classroom, in the community or on the wrestling mat, Tanner put his all into the focus at hand. 

For Tanner, the word was awesome.

“I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to wear an Iowa State singlet and be a part of this historic program,” Tanner said. “I’m leaving no stone unturned and I will always be proud to be an Iowa State Cyclone.”