AH podcast: Hawkeye Wrestling Club helping to build champions in the women's division

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Rarely a day goes by where Alli Ragan doesn't feel uncomfortable living and training in Iowa City, and that is just fine with her.

In fact, that's what she prefers in her quest to become a world champion in the rising sport of women's wrestling.

Ragan and fellow women's wrestlers Forrest Molinari and Kayla Miracle all credit their growing success to training in the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. All three of them moved to Iowa City to train and to learn under the guidance of Mark Perry and Tom and Terry Brands, and the results have been impressive to say the least.

Ragan, Molinari and Miracle all won U.S Open titles in late April in convincing fashion, and now they hope to conquer the world at their respective weights as they will represent the United States at the world championships in September in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The three talented wrestlers took time off from their grueling schedules on Wednesday to join us in the KCJJ studio as part of the All-Hawkeye radio show and podcast.

The interview lasted for about 45 minutes and featured all three wrestlers talking about their rise in a sport that continues to grow in popularity.

They also explained why they chose to train with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, and for Ragan, it was largely due to the culture and the environment. Ragan likes being taken out of her comfort zone when she trains because she knows that ultimately will make her better.

That happens on a daily basis in the Hawkeye Wrestling Club due to the extensive training and the winning culture. All of the wrestlers, both men and women, push each other to the limit on a daily basis.

Ragan, a six-time Senior World Team member, rolled to her third U.S. Open crown, and first since 2014. After a first-round pin, she won three-consecutive technical falls by scores of 10-0, 12-2 and 10-0 to win at 59 kilograms (130 pounds). 

Miracle won her second consecutive U.S. Open crown in similar fashion at 62 kilos (136 pounds). She recorded a 36-second pin in her first match, then won back-to-back-to-back matches by 10-0 technical fall. She outscored her four opponents by a combined 34-0.

Molinari’s march to the title at 65 kilos (143 pounds) was also a display of dominance in a bracket that was filled with talented performers. After a first-round win, Molinari, a 2018 Senior World Team member, defeated Macey Kilty, a 2018 Junior world silver medalist, by a 7-3 decision, then beat Maya Nelson, a 2017 Junior world champ, in the finals by a 5-1 score.

Ragan grew up in Illinois and started wrestling at a young age.

Molinari's first love growing up in California was football, but she eventually found her passion in wrestling. However, it took some time as Molinari struggled in the early stages of her wrestling career. But she stuck with it and is now reaping the benefits, with help from the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

Miracle attended high school in Indiana where she became the first girl to qualify for the Indiana State Wrestling Tournament.

All three wrestlers now serve as inspiration for the next generation of female wrestlers. They also are on a mission to help the sport grow at the collegiate level.

Ragan even predicted on Wednesday that the University of Iowa will have a women's wrestling team within two years.

We also learned a little bit about each of the three wrestlers from a personal standpoint, including their favorite restaurants in Iowa City and what band or performer they would pick to fill Kinnick Stadium.

This interview was a lot of fun and we think you'll enjoy it. 

So give it a listen.