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’s Emilie Gonzalez, Kylie Welker lead Hawkeyes on day one of national championships

Twelve Hawkeyes earned All-American status.
Sahithi Shankaiahgari
Iowa’s No. 1 170-pound Kylie Welker wrestles Lindenwood’s Katt Mossinghoff during the NCWWC Regionals at Cowles Fieldhouse in Indianola, Iowa, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The Hawkeyes advanced all 15 wrestlers to the national championships and led the team race with 222 points. Welker defeated Mossinghoff by fall, 0:26.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Iowa women’s wrestling team competed in the first two sessions of the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships on Friday inside the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Ten Hawkeyes reached the semifinals and 12 earned All-American status, led by second-years Emilie Gonzalez and Kylie Welker who had dominant showings on the competition’s opening day. Iowa sits in second place in the team race behind North Central College. The Cardinals, who are reigning NCWWC Champions, sent 11 wrestlers to Saturday’s semifinals. 

The semifinals will begin at 11 a.m. followed by consolation matches for 3rd, 5th, and 7th place. The All-American parade will start at 6:30 p.m. with championship bouts directly after. With wins in the blood round, Lilly Luft and Ella Schmit earned All-American status.

Hawkeyes advancing to the semifinals

101: Sterling Dias, Gonzalez

109: Ava Bayless

116: Brianna Gonzalez, FelicityTaylor

143: Reese Larramendy

155: Marlynne Deede, Bella Mir

170: Kylie Welker

191: Jaycee Foeller

Gonzalez scored points in bunches in the first two rounds, earning a 10-0 technical fall over Morgan Bethea and Gina Bolognese.

Gonzalez has had a fantastic season for Iowa, losing just one match all season and amassing a 13-1 record. Her lone loss of the season came to teammate Dias. 

After session one, Iowa head coach Clarissa Chun said she liked what she saw from her wrestlers but made it clear there’s plenty of wrestling left in the tournament. 

“I think our women are doing great,” Chun said. “They’re looking for points on the board – if not points, pins.” 

Gonzalez didn’t miss a beat to begin session two as she secured her third straight technical fall, beating Avery Kibelbek in under two minutes in the 101-pound quarterfinals. 

The Hawkeye faithful rose to their feet and gave Gonzalez a cheer as she got her hand raised and injected energy into the fresh crowd.

With the win, Gonzalez advanced to the semifinals, in which she will face Lizette Rodriguez from McKendree on Saturday. 

Chun wants to ensure her wrestlers stay focused through the weekend, not get ahead of themselves, and “take care of what’s in front of you.” 

Welker had a dominant opening day in her own right.

The 170-pounder earned a pin in just 28 seconds in her first match of the competition against Caylee Collins. Welker followed that up with a technical fall in under a minute against Schyler Caringi in round two. 

“She knows she’s a scorer for the team,” Chun said on Welker’s hot start in the tournament. “She has individual goals for herself [too]. She’s not overlooking the college competition by any means but always finding ways to challenge herself to bring more out of her.”

Chun added that it’s hard to continue to challenge yourself in that way when you’ve been so good at the collegiate level but said Welker remains committed to filling out the gaps in her game and finding new ways to adapt and progress. 

Welker made her intentions known out of the gate of her quarterfinal matchup against Schyler Carnigi when she landed a punishing takedown to score four points in the first five seconds of the match. 

Welker wasn’t satisfied, though, as she continued her dominant display and put an exclamation mark on her quarterfinal matchup with a pin in 90 seconds. Welker will face Kami Senlycki of Wartburg on Saturday in the semifinals.

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About the Contributor
Isaac Elzinga
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.