Since Carver Hawkeye Arena officially opened on January 3, 1983 with a Hawkeye victory over the Oklahoma Sooner wrestling team, it has become the country’s wrestling mecca. It’s likely that more Americans have watched wrestling in CHA than any other venue – by a wide margin. It has hosted Big Ten and NCAA Championships and four of the six most attended duals have been there.
Two Olympic Trials have been in Carver – 1984 and 2012. The 2012 Trials saw a new Olympic Trial attendance record and the introduction of women’s wrestling to this hallowed arena.
October 12, 2014 will see another ground-breaking event – the first all-girl wrestling tournament in Carver Hawkeye Arena. Thanks to the efforts of Charlotte Bailey, the Women’s Director of Iowa/USA Wrestling and founder of Female Elite Wrestling, the War of the Roses: First Conflict will be held in conjunction with the Conflict at Carver boy’s event.
There will be folkstyle divisions for elementary (K – 5), middle school (6 – 8) and high school (9 – 12) girls and an open (all-age) freestyle division. Entries for this first-time event will be limited to 200, but Ms. Bailey expects it to grow.
According to her, “Girls tournaments have been sprouting up all over the country, in large part because USA wrestling is sanctioning the War of the Roses Girls Wrestling Series. Bubblegum pink singlets and rose-covered wrestling t-shirts are just part of the appeal of all-girl wrestling events. Girls and young women in wrestling want to compete against other females more than just once or twice a year.”
“When I established Female Elite Wrestling there were only a FEW girls wrestling nationally and internationally representing Team Iowa. We were a close knit group of families, supporting our daughters’ aspirations. If you showed up for a USA Wrestling National Tournament, we welcomed you to our women’s wrestling family but if you didn’t have the connections or resources to reach Fargo or Oklahoma City, we didn’t meet.”
“First Conflict, at Carver Hawkeye Arena is going to change all that! We’ll still be an elite group, female wrestlers trained in Iowa by some of the best coaches in the United States. We’ll be stronger though, and different as a result of bringing girls an opportunity to wrestle other girls in Iowa. Girls will see this great venue as their home, they’ll welcome the family reunions here year after year, and one day a few of them will hear the roar of the crowd in Carver Hawkeye Arena as they are called to the mat of a future Olympic or World Team Trials.”
This post was contributed by Jim Brown with help from Charlotte Bailey. You can find FEW on Facebook here, and Jim Brown’s foundation Wrestling for Life page here.