COUNCIL BLUFFS — When Anthony Sherry closes his eyes and thinks about his senior year, he sees gold — and lots of it.
The Glenwood star and future Iowa State wrestler has never been known to shy away from his goals, but in his last year as a high school athlete, Sherry is aiming higher than ever.
It’s not that he wants to win any more than he ever has; his ultra-competitive nature has been ingrained since day one. And it’s not like he needs to prove his worth to college coaches; he’s already Division I-bound, after all.
Sherry just wants to find satisfaction — if only for a moment — before he moves on to new challenges at the collegiate level.
“I’m never really satisfied unless I’m winning,” Sherry said. “I feel like I always get second a lot.”
To Sherry, making the most of his senior year means taking home state titles in every sport he plays.
Wrestling in the winter? That one is obvious. Football in the fall? Not too much of a stretch, either. Track in the spring? That’s bold, considering he hasn’t been out for the team since he was in eighth grade.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, unfazed. “That will be interesting.”
Sherry’s ambitious senior campaign got off to a prolific start at the end of August when he announced that he had committed to Iowa State, selecting the Cyclones over Nebraska and South Dakota State, among others.
“I really liked the place when I visited it,” Sherry said, “and that’s where I felt the most comfortable at, and where I think can get the best results, I guess.”
At Iowa State, Sherry will join a program seeking to re-emerge as one of the nation’s best after a slew of less-than-stellar seasons. Sherry said first-year coach Kevin Dresser’s reputation of pushing athletes to reach their potential factored into his decision.
“At Virginia Tech, he kind of made that program into something, so I trust what he’s doing,” he said.
In Sherry, the Cyclones will get a projected 184-pounder who’s placed at the state tournament three times, trained at nearly every club in southwest Iowa and competed all over the country.
Sherry has been immersed in the sport for as long as he can remember. He watched his uncle and two-time state medalist Rodney Grap compete at Glenwood when Sherry was only a toddler, and soon he was on the mat, too.
“He was actually in my classroom when he was 8 years old,” Glenwood coach Brad Asche said. “I knew how dedicated he was to the sport.”
“I’ve done national tournaments since I was about 6,” Sherry said, “so I have a lot of experience. I feel like that’s really helped me get to where I’m at.”
One of his earliest triumphs was a Super PeeWee state championship that he won after his mother, Lisa, told him she’d give him a Nintendo DS if he came out on top.
By the time he was in junior high, it was clear to those who spent time with him that his stock would only keep rising.
“You could pretty much tell,” Asche said, “that he had the talent to do whatever he wanted to.”
As an eighth-grader and a freshman, he earned double All-America honors in freestyle and Greco-Roman at Fargo Nationals. His prep career began with a fourth-place finish at state at 160 pounds, and, much to his chagrin, he placed fourth again at 170 as a sophomore.
Sherry’s state runner-up finish at 182 in February was his best yet, but also his most painful. After all the time he’d put into it, second place wasn’t good enough.
“I think obviously he’s very hungry for one (state title),” Asche said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot stopping him from it this year.
“I think we’ll see a whole different Anthony Sherry.”
After losing in the finals, Sherry trained nearly every day until he tore his elbow at Fargo in July.
He was able to keep playing football — Sherry was a starting safety for Glenwood’s 2016 state semifinalist team — but he didn’t get the chance to wrestle again for 1½ months.
Finally, on Sept. 2, Sherry traveled to Ames to wrestle with his future team outside of Jack Trice Stadium.
It was his first step toward his next set of lofty goals.
“I’m trying to win some titles,” Sherry said. “In my opinion, wrestling’s too hard and too much work if you’re not out there to be the best person there all the time.
“I’m going there, and I’m trying to win a national title. I’m trying to be on the Olympic team eventually. I’m trying to do all that. I’m not just there to get the experience.”