Ava Bayless, a two-time national high school champ, signs with the Iowa women's wrestling program
The roster for the Iowa women's wrestling program now stands at eight after Ava Bayless signed on Thursday to join head coach Clarissa Chun and the Hawkeyes.
Bayless, a senior from Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania, is yet another talented lightweight, currently ranked No. 12 nationally at 112 pounds by USA Wrestling. She is also a two-time national prep champion, winning titles in both 2020 and 2021.
“I chose to attend the University of Iowa because of the academic and athletic opportunities,” Bayless said in a release, announcing her signing. “There is no better place to become the best wrestler I can be than under Coach Clarissa Chun and the support of the Iowa Hawkeye fans, community, and University.
"I am extremely grateful to be a part of this historic team!”
Bayless has steadily been one of the nation's top lightweight wrestlers over the past five years:
- In 2018, she made the Cadet women's freestyle national finals at 94 pounds.
- In 2019, she finished sixth at the Cadet national tournament, then third at the UWW Cadet world team trials.
- In 2020, she took third at the UWW Junior women's national championships at 50 kilograms (110 pounds).
- In 2021, she took fourth at the Junior world team trials and fifth at the Junior national championships.
“Ava is a silent, hard worker who goes about her business,” Chun said in a release. “I have been around her at various overseas and domestic camps at development age groups with USA Wrestling.
"She is a good student, a great person and comes from a family of wrestlers. I am excited to get the opportunity to work with Ava again.”
Bayless is the latest wrestler from Wyoming Seminary to commit to the Hawkeyes, joining fellow Iowa women's signee Reese Larramendy, currently the No. 1-ranked 144-pounder in the country according to USA Wrestling.
Two more Wyoming Seminary wrestlers will join the men's wrestling program soon: Kolby Franklin, a 2022 signee, and Gabe Arnold, who's committed as part of the Hawkeyes' 2023 recruiting class.
In addition to Bayless and Larramendy, the other six Iowa women's signees include:
- Kylie Welker, the No. 1 pound-for-pound high school wrestler in America
- Ella Schmit, a three-time Iowa state champion and Junior All-American
- Nyla Valencia, a California state champ and star lightweight
- Emilie and Brianna Gonzalez, twin lightweight stars from California
- Nanea Estrella, an NAIA national finalist who is transferring in from Menlo
"A huge shoutout to everyone who has been supporting women’s wrestling and to the women paving the way for girls like me to have these amazing opportunities," Bayless wrote in an Instagram post, announcing her signing.
"I can’t wait to continue to be a part of this sports (sic) growth!"
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.