BETTENDORF, Iowa — Iowa women's wrestling added another big name to their roster after Bettendorf High School's Ella Schmit announced her decision to join the team Saturday via Instagram, becoming the first in-state commit for the new program.
Schmit is a three-time state champion in girls wrestling. The senior finished her high school career with a perfect 16-0 record and 13 pins at 125 pounds.
She previously won two state titles at 106 pounds in Class 3A, where she also qualified for the Iowa boys state tournament, becoming one of four girls in Iowa wrestling history to qualify.
Over four years, Schmit earned a 70-18 record in matches against boys and girls.
It's a dream come true for the hometown standout who grew up going to Hawkeye wrestling meets.
When the University of Iowa announced the addition of women's wrestling as a sanctioned sport in September 2021, things couldn't have lined up any better for Schmit.
"A few years ago, you would've never thought Iowa would have a women's team," Schmit said. "It's super cool to not only see that but be on it (the team). It means the world to me."
Schmit joins the nation's No. 1 recruit Kylie Welker, who was announced as the program's first-ever commit on Feb. 3.
Both athletes are well-decorated and will be coached by another pioneer in the sport, former Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun.
Chun was in attendance at the 2022 Iowa girls wrestling championships when Schmit claimed her third title.
“It’s totally Iowa style in here,” said Chun, via HawkCentral. “These ladies are gritty and they scrap and they’re tough. I think they take pride in wrestling hard. It’s ingrained in the fabric of Iowa, and it shows here. I love it.”
This is just the beginning of history in the making at Iowa City. The Hawkeyes became the first Power Five school to sanction the sport, paving the way for a future generation of wrestlers to follow in the footsteps of athletes like Schmit.
"I've had girls ask me about (wrestling)," Schmit said. "I think it shows the influence it has. I hope all the girls watching do think they're capable because they totally are."
Iowa women's wrestling will officially hit the mats for their first season beginning in 2023-24.