Women In Wrestling - A Legacy Inspiring Generations

Girls and women's wrestling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States and around the world.

The United States is a leader in women’s wrestling at the international level, with vibrant growth at the youth, high school and college levels as well.

Here are some of the milestone events that show the rich history of growth for the sport in America. If there is an event or achievement that you feel should be included, please submit it to info@nwhof.org for consideration.

Our mission is to continue to help promote the history of wrestling for women and girls and work to add to the sport's legacy.

Women In Wrestling – A Legacy Inspiring Generations was made possible through generous donations from former and current United States Olympic Women’s National Team Leaders Kyra Tirana Barry, Jim Bennett, Christina 'Kiki' Kelley, Jeff Levitetz, the Martori Family, Steve Silver, and Stan Zeamer.

  • 2024

    Audrey Jimenez

    Audrey Jimenez of Sunnyside High School in Tucson, Arizona becomes the first girl to win an Arizona state wrestling title against boys, capturing the Division I title at 106 pounds.

  • 2024

    National Collegiate Athletic Association

    The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics voted to recommend Divisions I, II and III sponsor legislation to add a national collegiate women's wrestling championship, with its projected first NCAA championship occurring in winter 2026.

  • 2023

    USA Wrestling

    Piper Fowler and Morgan Turner capture gold medals while Jaclyn Bouzakis, Heather Crull, Haylie Jaffe and Jasmine Robinson win bronze medals at the U17 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey

    The United States women's team placed second as Karlee Brooks placed fifth and Rianne Murphy placed 10th.

  • 2023

    Eliana Bommarito

    Eliana Bommarito wins a gold medal at the United World Wrestling Beach World Series Constanta to become the first U.S. Senior wrestler to win a gold medal at a United World Wrestling international Beach Wrestling event.

  • 2023

    USA Wrestling

    Kennedie Snow wins gold medal while Isla June Pyles-Treser places fourth and Lilly Reese places sixth as United States girls team finishes third at the U17 Beach World Championships in Constanta, Romania.

  • 2023

    Patricia Miranda

    Patricia Miranda becomes the fifth woman inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member.

  • 2023

    Eliana Bommarito

    Eliana Bommarito becomes the first United States wrestler to win a U20 Beach World Championships gold medal in Constanta, Romania.

    Bommarito becomes the first American wrestler to own two UWW Beach gold medals, having also won the Senior-Level Beach World Series Constanta.

    The United States women's team placed third as Maura White placed fourth; Katelyn Lewis, Josephine Wearmouth and Halley Wheeler placed sixth; Taylor Colangelo placed seventh; and Kaylee Anderson placed eighth.

  • 2023

    Amit Elor

    Amit Elor wins her third U20 World Championship while Audrey Jimenez earns a silver medal and Kennedy Blades, Alexis Janiak and Amani Jones win bronze medals in Amman, Jordan.

    It is the seventh overall World medal and sixth gold medal across all age divisions for the 19-year-old Elor.

    She is a Senior World champion, a U23 World champion, a three-time U20 World champion and a U17 World champion.

    The United States women's team placed third as Katie Gomez and Isabella Mir placed fifth, Adaugo Nwachukwu placed seventh, Cristelle Rodriguez placed 12th, and Maddie Kubicki placed 15th.

  • 2023

    USA Wrestling

    The United States won the U20 Women's Pan American Championships.

    Virginia Foard, Haley Ward, Mia Palumbo, Sarah Savidge, Ella Schmit, Alexandra Szkotnicki, and Kylie Welker won gold medals while London Houston captured silver, SaVannah Cosme won bronze, and Shelby Moore finished fourth.

  • 2023

    USA Wrestling

    The United States won the U17 Women's Pan-American Championships.

    Carley Ceshker, Cadence Diduch, Isabella Marie Gonzales, Francesca Gusfa, Harlee Hiller, Sarah Henckel, Belicia Manuel, Katelyn Valdez and Charlie Wylie won gold medals while Mishell Rebisch picked up a silver medal.

  • 2023

    Eliana Bommarito

    Eliana Bommarito wins gold medal at the UWW Beach World Series Final in Mugla, Turkey.

    It is her second UWW Beach World Series gold medal in as many events.

    No other American owns a single beach wrestling gold medal on the Senior level.

  • 2023

    Southern Oregon University

    Southern Oregon University wins inaugural NAIA Women's National Wrestling Championship.

  • 2023

    Eliana Bommarito

    Eliana Bommarito becomes the first American athlete to be declared a Senior Beach World champion.

    Bommarito became the first U.S. wrestler to win a Senior Beach World level event in Constanta, Romania in September and added second gold medal at Beach World Series Final in Mugla, Turkey in October.

  • 2023

    Emily Shilson

    McKendree University teammates Emily Shilson and Sydnee Kimber become the first four-time National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships champions.

    Shilson won her first three titles wrestling for Augsburg University and also captured a Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association national title, making her the first five-time national champion.

  • 2023

    Amit Elor

    Amit Elor wins her second Senior World Championship.

    It is the eighth overall World medal and seventh gold medal across all age divisions for the 19-year-old Elor.

    She is a two-time Senior World champion, a U23 World champion, a three-time U20 World champion and a U17 World champion.

    The United States women's team placed third and won seven medals, matching the record for medals shared by the 2003, 2021 and 2022 teams.

    The American medalists were gold medalist Elor, silver medalists Macey Kilty and Jacarra Winchester and bronze medalists Adeline Gray, Sarah Hildebrandt, Helen Maroulis and Jennifer Page.

  • 2022

    Amit Elor

    Amit Elor becomes the first United States wrestler of any style or gender to win three United World Wrestling titles during the same year, capturing the U20 World Championships, the Senior World Championships and the U23 World Championships.

    She also became the youngest American wrestler ever, at 18 years old, to win Senior Gold. She replaced Kyle Snyder, who was 19 years old when he won his first Senior World title in 2015.

    It was her second-consecutive U20 gold medal, giving her five UWW World titles and one World bronze medal in her short career.

  • 2022

    Melissa Simmons

    Melissa Simmons becomes the first woman to receive the Medal of Courage award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

    For the second time in history the Hall of Fame honors a record three women, Simmons and Distinguished Members Clarissa Chun and Sara McMann.

    It also marks the first time in history that more than one female Distinguished Member has been inducted.

  • 2022

    National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

    The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics becomes the first college multi-sport organization to fully grant championship status to women's wrestling, starting with the 2023 competition.

  • 2022

    Clarissa Chun and Sara McMann

    Clarissa Chun and Sara McMann become the third and fourth women inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as Distinguished Members.

    It marks the first time in history that more than one female Distinguished Member has been inducted.

    For the second time in history the Hall of Fame honors a record three women, Chun, McMann and Medal of Courage recipient Melissa Simmons.

  • 2021

    Ashley Flavin

    Life University head coach Ashley Sword Flavin becomes the first female to lead a team to a dual meet or tournament national championship in women’s wrestling as Life beat Campbellsville to win the NAIA division of the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 2021

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock becomes the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in women's freestyle wrestling at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, claiming the 68 kg title.

    She also becomes only the second American Olympic women's wrestling champion.

    Helen Maroulis wins a bronze medal at 57 kg and becomes the first U.S. woman wrestler to win two Olympic medals. Maroulis was the first American woman to win Olympic gold in 2016.

    The USA won four women’s wrestling Olympic medals, doubling its previous best result of two medals in 2004.

  • 2021

    Adeline Gray

    Adeline Gray wins her sixth Senior World title, claiming the 76 kg crown.

    She becomes the first United States athlete of any style or gender to win six World Championship gold medals.

  • 2021

    USA Wrestling

    The USA Wrestling women’s program wins the World Team title in both the Cadet (U17) and Junior (U20) divisions.

    It marks the first time in history that the United States has won two women's team titles in the same year.

    USA Wrestling’s National Developmental Coach Jessica Medina is a coach for both teams.

  • 2021

    Clarissa Chun

    The University of Iowa announces it will add women's varsity wrestling in 2023-24, becoming the first school from a Power Five conference to add the sport.

    The Hawkeyes tab 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and National Wrestling Hall of Fame Distinguished Member Clarissa Chun as the program's first head coach.

  • 2021

    USA Wrestling

    For the first time in history, Team USA has multiple Junior World champions in women’s freestyle as Emily Shilson, Amit Elor and Kylie Welker win gold at the 2021 Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia.

  • 2020

    National Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championships

    The National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships is created for NCAA colleges and universities in all three divisions.

    The inaugural event is held at Adrian College in Michigan, and McKendree University wins the first national title.

  • 2020

    Joan Fulp

    Joan Fulp is elected as Second Vice President for USA Wrestling, becoming the first woman elected to serve as an officer for the National Governing Body for the sport of wrestling in the United States.

  • 2019

    USA Wrestling

    Jacarra Winchester (55 kg), Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg) and Adeline Gray (76 kg) win gold medals at the Women's Senior World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, the first time in history that the United States wins three women's freestyle gold medals.

  • 2019

    National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

    The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics hosts its first Women’s Wrestling National Invitational, making it the first major multi-sport college organization to host a women’s college nationals.

    Menlo College wins the team title and has five individual champions.

  • 2019

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock

    Tamyra Mensah-Stock becomes the first U.S. wrestler of any style or gender to win three titles at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix, one of most prestigious events in the world.

    Mensah-Stock won her titles in three consecutive years, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

  • 2019

    National Collegiate Athletic Association

    The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics recommends women’s wrestling for Emerging Sport Status, the first and most important step towards making women’s wrestling an official NCAA sport.

    The recommendation was passed on to each of the NCAA Divisions (I, II and III), all of which approved women’s wrestling as an Emerging Sport in 2020.

  • 2018

    Kristie Davis

    Kristie Davis becomes the second woman inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member.

  • 2017

    Presbyterian College

    Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina becomes the first NCAA Division I school to add a women's college wrestling team.

  • 2016

    Sally Roberts and Amy Zirneklis

    Sally Roberts and Amy Zirneklis co-found Wrestle Like A Girl, whose mission is to empower girls and women using the sport of wrestling to become leaders in life.

  • 2016

    Helen Maroulis

    Helen Maroulis becomes the first U.S. American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in women's freestyle wrestling in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

    She defeats three-time Olympic champion and 13-time World champion Saori Yoshida of Japan in the finals.

  • 2014

    Victoria Anthony

    Victoria Anthony of Simon Fraser University becomes the first four-time Women's College Wrestling Association national champion, winning the 109-pound title at the WCWA Nationals hosted by Missouri Baptist University.

    Later in the finals, Helen Maroulis of Simon Fraser wins the 130-pound title, becoming the second four-time WCWA national champion.

  • 2012

    Oklahoma City University

    Oklahoma City University becomes the first program to win four consecutive women's college national titles, winning the Women's College Wrestling Association Nationals, hosted by King University in Bristol, Tennessee.

    King University became the second team to win four straight national team titles, earning them from 2014 to 2017.

  • 2011

    Tricia Saunders

    Tricia Saunders becomes the first U.S. woman inducted into the United World Wrestling International Wrestling Hall of Fame.

  • 2010

    Alaina Berube

    Alaina Berube (University of the Cumberlands), 2004 Olympian Toccara Montgomery (Lindenwood University) and 2008 Olympian Marcie Van Dusen (Menlo College) become the first females to serve as head coaches for a women's college wrestling team.

  • 2008

    USA Wrestling

    USA Wrestling creates the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Oklahoma City.

    Event grows to become the largest and most respected age-group folkstyle event for girls on the youth and high school levels.

  • 2008

    Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association

    The Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association, an organization that oversees women’s college wrestling and hosts the annual national championships, is officially formed.

    The first WCWA Nationals were held at Oklahoma City University, with the University of the Cumberlands claiming the title.

  • 2007

    Nicole Woody

    Nicole Woody of Gambrills, Maryland becomes the first four-time USA Wrestling Junior Women's Freestyle National Champion.

  • 2006

    Michaela Hutchison

    On February 5, 2006, Michaela Hutchison of Soldotna, Alaska became the first girl to ever win a state high school wrestling championship competing against boys.

    In the finals, she beat Aaron Boss of Colony High School, 1-0. The difference in the match was an escape with 16 seconds left in the bout.

    Michaela finished the year with a 45-4 record, including 33 pins.

    It was also the first time that a brother and sister had ever won state titles side-by-side, as her sibling, Eli, also won the state title at 135 pounds.

    USA Wrestling has more about Michaela -> https://go.teamusa.org/2wYEh5X

    WATCH a video about Michaela from the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame -> http://bit.ly/2wdLBtQ

  • 2006

    Tricia Saunders

    Tricia Saunders becomes the first woman inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member.

  • 2005

    Ali Bernard

    Ali Bernard of New Ulm, Minnesota becomes the first female to win two Junior World gold medals for the United States, a 2003 Junior World title at 67 kg and a 2005 Junior World title at 72 kg.

  • 2005

    Iris Smith

    Iris Smith becomes the first Black woman to win a World Championship for the United States.

  • 2005

    National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals

    For the first time in history, women's wrestling is showcased at the National Wrestling Coaches Association's National Duals as females from the University of the Cumberlands, Missouri Valley College and the United States Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan compete.

  • 2005

    United States Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University

    USA Wrestling works with Northern Michigan University and the United States Olympic Committee to create a women's wrestling program at the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University.

    It becomes a training site for elite age-group girls and women.

    Although the program no longer exists, many of the athletes who trained there are still competing on the Senior level for Team USA.

  • 2004

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    Missouri Valley College hosts the first college women’s wrestling national championships.

    Led by four champions, Missouri Valley wins the team title, with champions crowned from four different universities.

  • 2004

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    Patricia Miranda wins the United State's first Olympic medal in women's wrestling, a bronze medal at 48 kg.

    Sara McMann becomes the first American woman to reach the Olympic finals, winning a silver medal at 62 kg.

    One of the official coaches of the team was a woman, Tricia Saunders, working alongside her husband, Townsend Saunders, and National Coach Terry Steiner.

  • 2004

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    The first United States Olympic women's freestyle wrestling team is created in Indianapolis, Indiana, as Patricia Miranda (48 kg), Tela O’Donnell (55 kg), Sara McMann (62 kg) and Toccara Montgomery (72 kg) earn their spots on the team.

    McMann (University of Minnesota Morris), O'Donnell (Pacific University) and Montgomery (University of the Cumberlands) wrestled on women's teams in college while Miranda (Stanford University) and McMann (Lock Haven University) wrestled on men's college teams.

  • 2004

    Toccara Montgomery

    Toccara Montgomery becomes first African-American woman to wrestle for the United States in the Olympics.

  • 2003

    USA Wrestling

    For the first time, USA Wrestling's women's freestyle resident program at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs trains and is coached by USA Wrestling national coaches for a full season.

  • 2003

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    The United States beats women's world wrestling power Japan, on its home mats in Tokyo, in the final dual meet to claim the title at the Women’s World Cup.

  • 2003

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    Women’s wrestling is included in the Pan American Games for the first time and the United States sweeps the gold medals, in the four Olympic weight classes, with Patricia Miranda (48 kg), Tina George (55 kg), Sara McMann (62 kg) and Toccara Montgomery (72 kg) standing atop the podium.

  • 2003

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    At Madison Square Garden in New York City, all seven American women win a medal as the United States ties Japan at the World Championships, ultimately finishing second following tiebreaker.

    Kristie Davis wins her second World championship, becoming only the second American female with two or more World titles.

  • 2002

    International Olympic Committee

    The International Olympic Committee announces that women’s wrestling has been added to the Olympic program, to start at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece.

  • 2002

    Terry Steiner

    USA Wrestling hires Terry Steiner as its first National Women’s Coach, a position he still holds today, making him the only head coach for USA Wrestling’s women’s program to date.

  • 2002

    Junior National Championships

    The prestigious Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota add a girls division.

    Minnesota's Rachael Holthaus became the first USA Wrestling Junior Women's Freestyle national champion, winning the title at the tournament's lightest weight, 95 pounds.

    Cadet National Championships add a girls division in 2011.

  • 2001

    Toccara Montgomery

    Toccara Montgomery becomes the first African-American woman to win a medal at the World Championships with a silver medal.

  • 1999

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    United States wins Women's World Championships team title, beating international power Japan by one point in Boden, Sweden.

    All six U.S. wrestlers place in the top six of their weight classes: Tricia Saunders (gold at 46 kg), Sandra Bacher (gold at 68 kg), Kristie Davis (silver at 75 kg), Stephanie Murata (fourth at 51 kg), Lauren Lamb (fifth at 52 kg) and Tina George (sixth at 62 kg).

    It is the first time that America has had two World champions in women's wrestling in the same year.

    Coaches were USA Wrestling Freestyle Developmental Coach Mike Duroe and Rob Eiter.

  • 1998

    Clarissa Chun

    Hawaii holds the first official girls state high school wrestling championship.

    Their first champion ever was Clarissa Chun of Roosevelt High School in Honolulu at 98 pounds.

    An Olympic medalist and a Senior World champion, Clarissa was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in 2022.

  • 1998

    USA Wrestling

    The United States wins its first age-group World gold medals, with Micah Kelly of Pennsylvania taking gold at 43 kg at the Cadet World Championships and Kristie Davis winning gold at the Junior World Championships at 75 kg.

  • 1998

    Sandy Stevens, Sue Siar and Sally Stanford

    The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors three women in its Class of 1998, the most women honored in a single year by the Hall of Fame.

    Sandy Stevens becomes the first woman to receive the Order of Merit award, voted by the Distinguished Members of the Hall of Fame to receive honor as an ambassador for wrestling

    Sue Siar and Sally Stanford become the second and third women to be honored as Meritorious Officials.

  • 1997

    United States Girls Wrestling Association

    Kent Bailo founded the United States Girls Wrestling Association.

    USGWA conducted a series of state and regional folkstyle events for high school girls that culminated in a national tournameht.

    For over two decades, the USGWA provided girls an opportunity to compete in girls-only tournaments.

  • 1996

    USA Wrestling

    USA Wrestling hosts its first age-group national championships for female wrestlers in Las Vegas, New Mexico, the United World Wrestling Cadet Nationals for ages 15-17 years old.

  • 1996

    United States Senior Women's National Team

    The United States wins a trophy at the Senior Women’s World Championships for the first time, placing third at the World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    Tricia Saunders wins a gold medal, and Jackie Berube and Kristie Davis add silver medals.

  • 1995

    Sheila Wager

    Sheila Wager becomes the first female honored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, receiving the Meritorious Official award.

  • 1993

    University of Minnesota Morris

    The University of Minnesota Morris creates the first varsity women’s wrestling team at the college level, competing for the first time during the 1993-94 academic year.

    The program wrestled on the USA Wrestling circuit as well as against Canadian college programs.

  • 1992

    Tricia Saunders

    Tricia Saunders wins the gold medal at 50 kg at the Women’s World Championships in Villeurbanne, France, the first U.S. woman wrestler to claim a Senior World title.

    Saunders went on to win four Senior World titles, the most among U.S. women for 27 years, until Adeline Gray won her fifth World title in 2019.

  • 1992

    USA Wrestling

    For the first time, the U.S. Senior Women's Nationals and World Team Trials are held alongside the Senior Nationals for men in freestyle and Greco-Roman.

    Held in Las Vegas, the event is an amazing showcase to to expose the U.S. wrestling community to women's wrestling and its star athletes.

  • 1990

    USA Wrestling

    The first official U.S. Senior Women’s World Team Trials event is held in Vallejo, California.

    Winners qualify for the 1991 Women's World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, where Marie Ziegler (Prado) and Shannon Williams win silver medals for the U.S.

  • 1990

    National Federation of State High School Association

    National Federation of State High School Association tracks high school girls who participated in wrestling for the first time, reporting 112 girls from 101 teams nationwide. 

    Girls were members of the boys teams at their high school. 

    Number of girl wrestlers nationally increased every year for three decades, until pandemic but have returned to growing each year.

  • 1989

    Leia Kawaii

    Leia Kawaii became the first African-American female wrestler to win a World Championship medal when she earned a silver medal at 70kg at the 1989 World Championships in Martigny, Switzerland.

    Leia returned to the World Championships in 1991 and finished in sixth place.

  • 1989

    Afsoon Roshanzamir Johnson

    Afsoon Roshanzamir wins the first World medal for USA Wrestling, a bronze at 47 kg.

    The USA wins three medals, with silver medals from Asia de Weese (50 kg) and Leia Kawaii (70 kg).

    This was the first Women’s World Championships in which Team USA had entered.

  • 1988

    Sheila Wager

    Sheila Wager becomes the first U.S. female to referee at the Olympics, working the 1988 Seoul Olympics. She also went on to officiate at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

  • 1982

    Sandy Stevens

    Sandy Stevens becomes the first female to announce the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

    Known throughout wrestling as "that lady announcer," she has worked at every level from high school dual meets to the Olympic Games while also serving as the voice of the Junior Nationals, beginning with the first tournament in 1971.

    Stevens became the first female to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum's Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa in 2002 and the first female inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2017.

    She was voted by the Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame to receive the Order of Merit award in 1998 as an ambassador for wrestling.

Our Mission: To honor the sport of wrestling by preserving its history, recognizing extraordinary individual achievements, and inspiring future generations