Photo: Iowa Athletics

Welker named NCAA Women's Wrestler of the Year

The Open Mat presents awards annually in three categories for each division of college wrestling at the conclusion of the season. Awards are presented for Freshman of the Year, Coach of the Year and Wrestler of the Year.

During the 2023-24 season, Iowa's Kylie Welker was the nation's best wrestler on the nation's best team.

On Monday, Welker was announced as The Open Mat's 2024 NCAA Women's Wrestler of the Year.

Welker helped the Iowa Hawkeyes secure the national team title in the program's first season.

The Franksville, Wisconsin native had a dominant season at 170 pounds, compiling a record of 23-1, with 16 technical falls and six pins. Her lone blemish came against a non-collegiate athlete, Dymond Guilford.

Welker notched two wins this season over The Open Mat's 2023 NCAA Women's Wrestler of the Year Yelena Makoyed of North Central, a three-time national champion. The first win came at the NWCA National Duals in January. Just over two months later, Welker defeated Makoyed by technical fall in the finals of the NCWWC National Championships to clinch Iowa's national team title. She was one of six national champions for the Hawkeyes.

The 20-year-old Welker has built a strong resume in international competition. She has won three age group world medals, including a junior world gold in 2021. Welker placed 10th at the Senior World Championships in 2021. Most recently, Welker placed fourth at the 2024 Olympic Team Trials at 76 kilograms to earn a spot on the senior national team for the third time.