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Katie Kriebel named Assistant National Women’s Coach by USA Wrestling

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestliing

Coaching photo of Katie Kriebel by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Two-time World bronze medalist Katie Kriebel of Pendleton, Ind. has been named Assistant National Women’s Coach for USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States.

She joins USA Wrestling’s National Teams Department, working on the National Women’s Coaching staff, led by National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner and alongside National Women’s Developmental Coach Jessica Medina. She will be based in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center and USA Wrestling national headquarters are based.

“She was a two-time World medalist for us as an athlete. Since then, she has been around the sport at the high school level for a long time. It is great to have her back as part of Team USA. She brings a wealth of knowledge, both from a technical standpoint and an experience standpoint, for the athletes. Katie was a leader 20 years ago when I met her. She was somebody who people gathered around. She is someone who the athletes will respect and believe in. We are excited to have her and her family with USA Wrestling’s team.”

Kriebel, who competed under her maiden name Downing, won World bronze medals for Team USA in 2005 and 2007. She was a five-time World Team Trials champion and three-time U.S. Open champion. Kriebel added a Junior World silver medal in 1999. She was a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center resident athlete in Colorado Springs, Colo., from 2003-09, where she will return to coach with USA Wrestling.

Kriebel attended the University of Minnesota-Morris, which was the first college to sponsor a varsity women’s wrestling program and had the top athletic achievements for the UM-Morris team. She competed during the era before there were college women’s national tournaments, earning medals on the USA Wrestling senior circuit as well at the international level. She received the Willis Kelley UMM Outstanding Female Athlete Award in 2002, and also was given a Women’s Academic Honor Award, also in 2002. She competed in high school for her boys team , Kriebel was elected to the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

She also has extensive coaching experience at a number of levels. She has served as an assistant coach at Pendleton Heights High School in Indiana since 2013, first coaching the boys team, then a co-ed team and their growing girls team. She is the founder and head coach of Krieb’s Club for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling in Indiana.

She served as an assistant coach for the women’s wrestling team at Oklahoma City University from 2011-12. She has been an active coach with USA Wrestling nationally, as well as with the Indiana State Wrestling Association (ISWA), the USA Wrestling state association in Indiana. She coached USA Wrestling’s Senior Pan American team in 2011, and the U.S. team that wrestled in the Klippan Lady Open in Sweden in 2014. Kriebel also coached Team Indiana for the Junior/16U National Duals in 2021.

“I came back to my hometown when my friend and coach Eric Kriebel passed away unexpectedly. I started in his old assistant coaching position here and started a club in his name to keep his legacy alive. It has been wonderful to be here. I married his nephew and had my babies here in my hometown with family around. It is equal part sadness to say goodbye, but I am so excited for this next step for my family. I get to share Colorado with them, and the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where I came the very first year it was opened for women’s wrestling,” said Kriebel.

“To think about those first days in 2003 until now, with everything that is happening with women’s wrestling is amazing. I get to come back to a place where I had some of my biggest moments and best times as a competitor and to get to work with these amazing women. I am excited that I get to come from my era and coach this new era of women, to keep climbing internationally and go chase down the Japanese team. I am also excited I have the opportunity to be a woman who can support her family in the sport of wrestling. The last time I was there, that was not being done yet,” she continued.

Among her other wrestling leadership posts was serving a Coaches Education Manager for Wrestle Like A Girl in 2019, developing educational materials for coaches of girl wrestlers and conducting education clinics to support the sanctioning of high school girls wrestling. She served as a leader with Sanctioning Indiana Girls High School Wrestling from 2020-21. Kriebel was a member of the USA Wrestling Athletes Advisory Committee in 2005 and 2006, and is a current member of USA Wrestling’s Board of Directors.

She received a bachelor’s degree in history and social sciences from UM-Morris in 2002 and achieved a master’s degree in history from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 2006. Katie is married to Jay Kriebel, and they have two daughters.

“I want to bring some perspective. Wrestling very quickly got into my blood and has always been there. I have a lot of energy for the sport and am glad I am in a place where it can do some good. I am amazed by the human spirit, and the women I got to go through this sport with as teammates. I am inspired by the young women who are continuing to be more and more incredible. I believe in their potential. I can’t wait to help them be as amazing as they can possibly be. I want to help them be whole human beings who can be ready to get the most out of themselves as competitors, but also come out of the sport ready to take on the next steps of their lives as well,” she said.