University of Iowa To Add Women’s Wrestling Program
In the state where wrestling is nearly a religion, it make sense that the most successful college in wrestling history makes even more history. The University of Iowa has announced that it will officially add a women's wrestling program. Hawk Central reports that The Des Moines Register has learned that the school is set to become the first Division 1 Power 5 school to offer women's wrestling.
A press conference is scheduled for later today to provide more details, but The Register has also learned that a women's coach will not be hired until the spring, and that the team will start competition in the 2023-2024 season. Hawk Central points out that the move is huge for the sport of wrestling, and for the continued growth of women's college wrestling. The writing was on the wall for the new team, as just last year, Iowa AD Gary Barta said that he was interested in adding a women's wrestling team.
And where else but Iowa would you want to start such a ground breaking program? The Iowa wrestling program has won 24 NCAA titles, with their most recent coming in 2021. Iowa has led the nation in wrestling attendance for the past 14 years. It means a lot when college wrestling's most visible program adds a team for women. There are now over 100 colleges that have added women's wrestling programs, but Iowa is only the third Division 1 school to offer it. Several other Power 5 schools are getting ready for women's wrestling, but Iowa is the first to pull the trigger.
Girls wrestling has also exploded at the high school level in the state. Five years ago there were barely 60. But now that number is over 700. The first state championship was held in 2019. However, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has yet to sanction the sport.