Women's Weekly

Women's Weekly: The Ultimate Wrestling Showdown

Women's Weekly: The Ultimate Wrestling Showdown

A #1 vs #1 match is happening this Sunday, while the Hawkeyes are the front-runner for the 2024 National Duals title — if they attend.

Jan 12, 2023 by Kyle Klingman
Women's Weekly: The Ultimate Wrestling Showdown

What happens when the top-ranked NAIA wrestler faces the top-ranked NCAA wrestler?


That’s what’s happening on Sunday, January 15 at 2 p.m. Central when Iowa Wesleyan faces Augsburg in Minneapolis.

Tiger sophomore Adaugo Nwachukwu (NAIA) takes on Auggie sophomore Nina Makem (NCAA) for bragging rights in the 136-pound division.

Both enter the match at the top of their games. 

Nwachukwu, a 2022 NAIA Invitational champion, won a bronze medal at the 2022 World Championships and has looked stellar this college season. She has dominated everyone so far and recently pinned NAIA #2 Paige Respicio at the National Duals. 

Makem, a 2022 NCWWC finalist, suffered an early-season setback to North Central’s Yele Aycock but has defeated her three times since, including a fall in the Midlands finals. She dominated both her matches at National Duals. 

Each enters the match with a story that is uniquely hers. 

Nwachukwu was recently sworn into the Iowa National Guard after serving in the California Army Reserves. She moved from Nigeria to the United States in 2018 and didn’t start wrestling until her sophomore year of high school.

Makem moved from Cameroon to the United States in 2015 and was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on November 29. 

This should be a good one. 


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Top-ranked Adaugo Nwachukwu pinned #2 Paige Respicio at the National Duals


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Nina Makem had a big win over Presbyterian's Paige Wehrmeister at the National Duals

Campbellsville vs Life On Flo

What’s the best women’s college rivalry right now? It might be Campbellsville University versus Life University. Both teams have a championship rivalry highlighted by last year’s back-and-forth battle throughout the season. 

The two square off on Friday, January 15 LIVE on FloWrestling at 4 p.m. Central. Click here to learn more about the rivalry and what you can expect.

Iowa Changes Things

This year’s National Duals final between North Central and King came down to the final match with the Tornado pulling out a 23-21 win. Both teams have powerhouse line-ups highlighted by North Central’s 170-pound superstar Yelena Makoyed. 

The University of Iowa is building its team for next year, which begs the question: Will the Hawkeyes be at the 2024 National Duals? If so, it’s fun to speculate what Iowa vs King and North Central might look like this year.

Here are potential match-ups IF Iowa entered a team (based on its current line-up and next year’s recruiting class) and IF King and North Central had their best line-ups this year. Again, this is all speculation, and, remember, North Central is Division III and King is Division II — so this is a testament to how strong their teams are. 

Iowa vs North Central
101: Sterling Dias (Iowa) vs Madison Avila (North Central)
109: Nyla Valencia (Iowa) vs Sydney Petzinger (North Central)
116: Felicity Taylor (Iowa) vs Jaslynn Gallegos (North Central)
123: Emily Frost (Iowa) vs Amani Jones (North Central)
130: Nanea Estrella (Iowa) vs Sara Sterner (North Central)
136: Ester Han (Iowa) vs Yele Aycock (North Central)
143: Reese Larramendy (Iowa) vs Kendall Bostelman (North Central)
155: Bella Mir (Iowa) vs Tiera Jimerson (North Central)
170: Kylie Welker (Iowa) vs Yelena Makoyed (North Central)
191: Sam Calkins (Iowa) vs Traeh Haynes (North Central)

Iowa vs King
101: Sterling Dias (Iowa) vs Jessica Corredor (King)
109: Nyla Valencia (Iowa) vs Sage Mortimer (King)
116: Felicity Taylor (Iowa) vs Samara Chavez (King)
123: Emily Frost (Iowa) vs Vayle-rae Baker (King)
130: Nanea Estrella (Iowa) vs Montana Delawder (King)
136: Ester Han (Iowa) vs Viktorya Torres (King)
143: Reese Larramendy (Iowa) vs Ana Luciano (King)
155: Bella Mir (Iowa) vs Tiffani Baublitz (King)
170: Kylie Welker (Iowa) vs Cheyenne Bowman (King)
191: Sam Calkins (Iowa) vs Nia Crosdale (King)

— The most compelling match — by far — is a showdown between Welker and Makoyed. Welker is 6-1 against Makoyed but the two haven’t wrestled since the North Central star’s stellar 2022 international season that included golds at three international ranking tournaments and a fall over the reigning World champion at the World Cup. 

— Taylor won a national title for McKendree in 2021 and reached Final X in 2022 so she seems like a solid bet no matter who she faces. 

— The Hawkeyes currently don’t have a 123-pounder listed, so Frost gets the nod even though she’s in high school. Jones and Baker are formidable either way.

— We haven’t seen much of Ester Han or Sam Calkins so it’s hard to know how they will fair against quality opponents. Mir is still figuring out freestyle but her improvement was apparent at Soldier Salute on December 29-30. 

— Estrella won the U.S. Open at 59 kg (approximately 130 pounds) but competed at 136 at the Missouri Valley Invite and Soldier Salute, so there’s a possibility she moves to the heavier class. 

— Bostelman and Larramendy were teammates at Wyoming Seminary. 

— Petzinger lost to Valencia 1-1 at the U20 World Team Trials but lots has happened since, but there’s potential for that to be a good match. 

On paper, it looks like Iowa would win both duals — but that’s why they’ll eventually settle it on the mat. 

Fresh Pound-For-Pound Rankings Are Here

Holiday tournaments and the National Duals caused quite a shakeup in the third pound-for-pound rankings of the season. 

Girls High School Roundup

USA Wrestling’s Gary Abbott wrote a girls' high school roundup that you’ll want to check out here. 

Women’s Spotlight: Marlynne Deede

Women's Spotlight: Marlynne Deede

Marlynne Deede loves her wrestling journey at Augsburg as she seeks a national title during her senior season.

Star Power

There are 14 World medals in this group with 1996 Olympic silver medalist Townsend Saunders trying his best to be included in the background. From left: Vickie Zummo, Marie Ziegler, Shannon Yancey-Williams, Afsoon Roshanzamir Johnston, and Tricia Saunders.