IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kylie Welker, a 2021 Junior World Champion from Franksville, Wisconsin, has signed a national letter of intent to become the first commit in the history of the University of Iowa women’s wrestling program. Iowa women’s wrestling head coach Clarissa Chun made the announcement Thursday.
“This is an incredible moment for Kylie, her family and the Iowa wrestling program,” Chun said. “She is the complete package — competitively, socially, academically — and the perfect ambassador for the university and this program. We continue to make history in Iowa City. The work doesn’t stop for me or for Kylie with this commitment. This is only the beginning for her and Iowa women’s wrestling.”
Welker is considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in the country. She won a gold medal at the 2021 Junior World Championships, leading Team USA to its first Junior world team title, and was a bronze medalist at the U23 World Championships in 2021. In 2019, she won a bronze medal at the Cadet World Championships.
“One of the biggest reasons I chose Iowa is because of coach (Clarissa) Chun,” Welker said. “I have worked with her since a young age, and I have a lot of trust and respect for her. She also has a lot of faith in me. She believes I am capable of achieving my goals and more, and she’s willing to help me get there. That means a lot to me.
“I love how much support is behind Iowa wrestling. It feels like I’m stepping into a family. I believe that Iowa has everything that I need to help me along my journey to becoming an Olympic Gold medalist. I want everyone to know that I wouldn’t be here without the people that have been helping me since Day 1 and believing in me. It’s a huge opportunity and I couldn’t be more grateful to further my wrestling and academic career as a Hawkeye.”
Welker represented the United States at 72 kg at the 2021 Senior World Championships and nearly made the U.S. Olympic team in March of 2021, falling to eventual Olympic silver medalist Adeline Gray in the finals at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Welker will train in Iowa City and compete unattached in 2022-23. Iowa announced in September 2021 it would become the first Division I Power Five school to add women’s wrestling. The Hawkeyes begin competing in 2023-24.