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High School Wrestling

Kylie Welker, No. 1 in the Class of 2022, is an Iowa Hawkeye

Pictured: Kylie Welker competing at the 2021 U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Photo courtesy of Kylie’s Instagram (kylie_welker24). 

This article is presented by Adidas Wrestling. 

Early Thursday, Junior World gold medalist Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisconsin) made Iowa Hawkeye wrestling history. The Wisconsin native is now the first-ever commit to the women’s program by signing her national letter of intent with Iowa. The pledge comes after a visit to Iowa City this past weekend. 

“I went on a visit last weekend, and it felt like home, it felt right… On top of it, I love coach Chun. I’ve been working with her since I was really little, so I trust her. I wanted to be the first to commit. I want to help build the program. This is the first Division I Power Five program. It’s history, and I think that’s really cool,” Welker said to Hawk Central.

Welker, the No. 1 pound-for-pound wrestler in the Class of 2022, has been competing at an elite level over the last 12 months.

After storming to the 76 kg Olympic Trials finals, in April 2021, as a high school junior, Welker spent the next seven months making three age-level World Teams (Junior, Senior, and U23). Not only did Welker make each team, but she also brought home hardware more often than not.

 In August, in Ufa, Russia, Welker left with a gold medal from the 2021 Junior World Championships at 76 kg. In November, Welker claimed bronze at the 2021 U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. These latest medals are in addition to a 2019 Cadet World bronze medal and a 2016 U15 Pan American Championships bronze medal. 

Domestically, Welker won the 164-pound Junior National title inside the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, in July. In Fargo, Welker was 5-0 and outscored opponents 45-0. Welker made quick work of her foes, with none of her matches surpassing 90 seconds. She recorded four techs and a fall en route to her stop sign.

Welker’s commitment comes less than three months after the University announced that two-time World/Olympic medalist Clarissa Chun would lead the women’s program as its first head coach. In September, Iowa Athletics announced it would be the first Power Five institution to add women’s wrestling.

According to Iowa, Welker will train in Iowa City and compete unattached in 2022-23. The women’s team is slated for its inaugural season in 2023-24. 

Since Chun’s hiring, Welker has been one of many high school standouts to visit Iowa City. Wyoming Seminary stars Kennedy and Korina Blades have visited. Plus, two-time WCWC national champ Emma Bruntil (currently in the transfer portal) has also made an appearance in Iowa City in recent weeks. 

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