As of 2015, 15 percent of Iowans consider high school wrestling to be their favorite sport, according to a poll conducted by the Des Moines Register. This makes it the second-most-popular sport in the state. The most popular sport among Iowans is NCAA men's basketball.
Iowa has had a strong wrestling culture for more than 25 years. The University of Iowa's wrestling team, the Hawkeyes, has won 23 NCAA titles as of 2015, and it is common for Iowan children to enroll in little league wrestling, then high school wrestling, with the goal of joining the Hawkeyes when they start university.