The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s wrestling reflects on Carver-Hawkeye Arena debut, growth of the sport

The Hawkeyes took the mat in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the first time in program history in front of a record-setting crowd.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa’s No. 2 136-pound Nanea Estrella takes a picture with fans after the Trailblazer Duals between No. 3 Iowa, No. 6 Sacred Heart, No. 13 Presbyterian, and No. 11 Lindenwood at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. Iowa women’s wrestling made history on Sunday, hosting the first women’s wrestling dual in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated Presbyterian, 44-1, Lindenwood, 43-0, and Sacred Heart, 40-4. (Ayrton Breckenridge/The Daily Iowan)

Nov. 12, 2023, is a day that the Iowa women’s wrestling program will always remember. 

For the first time, they ran out of the Carver-Hawkeye Arena tunnel with the Black and Gold faithful cheering them on. 

The announced attendance was 8,207, which is believed to be the world record for a women’s wrestling dual. 

“To be part of something this big and historic is just so meaningful for the whole scene of women’s wrestling,” fifth-year Felicity Taylor said. 

The record crowd did not go home disappointed, as the Hawkeyes demolished Presbyterian, Lindenwood, and Sacred Heart to win the Trailblazer Duals, an event that honored past, present, and future women’s wrestlers. 

Iowa only allowed three points over its three duals and shut out Lindenwood, 43-0. 

Following the meet, Iowa wrestlers and coaches were overcome with emotion. 

Taylor has waited a long time for this moment. She was one of the first notable female wrestling stars in the state of Iowa, and the first female in her conference to capture a state title. 

Following the meet, Taylor was still in disbelief. 

“It’s more than anything I could have ever dreamed of. It’s the best feeling in the world to have all of the Hawkeye fans cheering you on,” Taylor said. 

The state of Iowa is known as a wrestling hotbed, and Carver-Hawkeye Arena has been known as a death trap when the men’s wrestling team hosts duals. 

But, in some states, wrestling hardly makes its way into the conversation. 

First-year Emily Frost is from New York, a state that is primarily focused on lacrosse, baseball, and football. Despite this, Frost was well aware of Iowa’s obsession with wrestling. 

“I’ve always known that Iowa was a big wrestling state because you see all of the guys and girls from Iowa placing the highest in national championships,” Frost said. 

In her first-ever home dual, Frost was able to experience the raucous Iowa crowd right from the start, when she pinned Presbyterian’s Olivia Waller with 10 seconds left in the match. 

“I was down the whole match, but you can have 10 seconds left, and the match is never over,” Frost said. “The fans have been awesome.”

Following the meet, head coach Clarissa Chun was overwhelmed with joy and received a big hug from her parents. She said that her dream had finally become a reality. 

“When I woke up this morning, I didn’t wake up nervous. I just woke up thinking this is real, this is really happening,” Chun said. 

In a sport historically dominated by males, the sport of women’s wrestling continues to grow throughout the nation. 

When Chun first started her own wrestling career, she recalls the few opportunities that she had, and she is grateful the sport continues to grow. 

“It’s amazing, and it gives me time to reflect on what it was like 20-25 years ago,” Chun said.

Before Sunday’s event, most of the Hawkeye wrestlers had competed in sparse crowds during their careers. Most have wrestled in front of just a few family members. 

But, one thing is for certain — Sunday was the biggest crowd any of them have ever faced. 

“My first national tournament was in a college gym,” Taylor said. 

Iowa was the first university to add a women’s wrestling program. Chun hopes that other schools do the same. 

“Who will be next?” Chun said. “Hopefully someone adds a team and then others follow.” 

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.