Iowa sophomore Kylie Welker has her hand raised after defeating Yelena Makoyed of North Central College in the NWCA National Duals finals.
Andy Hamilton / FloWrestling

Iowa sophomore Kylie Welker has her hand raised after defeating Yelena Makoyed of North Central College in the NWCA National Duals finals.

Athlete of Week

Kylie Welker named USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wis./University of Iowa) has been named USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week on Jan. 10, 2024.


The top-ranked 170-pounder in the NCAA division was instrumental in Iowa’s run to a historic NWCA National Duals crown, the first in program history. Welker, a sophomore for the Hawkeyes, went 3-0 during the event with wins over second ranked Tiffani Baublitz of King University and three-time NCWWC national champion Yelena Makoyed of North Central College in the process.


The University of Iowa women’s program entered the UNI-Dome as the top-ranked team with much to prove, and it did just that. Iowa found itself in the championship dual thanks to a 49-1 win over Adrian College, a 39-4 win against No. 13 Presbyterian College, and a 31-8 thumping of No. 3 King University. The championship match against No. 2 North Central College, the defending national champions, was largely decided by Welker’s decisive win over Makoyed, who is the reigning USA Wrestling Women’s College Wrestler of the Year. The Hawkeyes earned the win by a single point, 21-20.


Prior to diving headfirst into the college season, Welker had a busy 2023 campaign. She earned U.S. Senior National Team status at 76 kg by winning a true third match at Final X. Internationally, Welker represented the U.S. at the prestigious Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, where she came in seventh place at 76 kg. She also topped the podium at the U20 Pan American Championships last summer. On the domestic front, Welker placed third at the Senior World Team Trials Challenge, fifth at the U.S. Open and second at the U20 Women’s Nationals last year.


Welker is one of the top young prospects on the U.S. women’s wrestling scene. She represented the U.S. at the Senior World Championships in 2021, finishing in 10th place overall. On the age-group levels, Welker owns three World medals, including a gold medal honor from the 2021 U20 World Championships.


To nominate a wrestler for this honor please email the athlete's name, wrestling program, weekly accomplishments, and career accolades to communications@usawrestling.org.

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