USA Wrestling brings freestyle, Greco-Roman Nationals to Iowa

One of the country’s first wrestling competitions will be played here in Iowa this fall.

USA Wrestling and Think Iowa City announced Thursday that the 2020 Senior Nationals will be held October 9-11 at Xtream Arena and GreenState Family Fieldhouse in Coralville.

The tournament will feature the country’s best wrestlers in men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman, the Olympic disciplines. It will also be the first major event organized by the national governing body since the novel coronavirus pandemic virtually wiped out the entire spring and summer calendar.

“USA Wrestling is very pleased to partner again with Think Iowa City on another of our country’s important wrestling competitions,” said Rich Bender, executive director of USA Wrestling, in a statement. “With their long history of hosting some of the best wrestling events in our sport, we are confident that the Senior National Championships will be another such great experience for our sport.

“Obviously, we will be working closely with the local organizing committee, local public health officials and others to ensure that the safety of the athletes is paramount. We hope this will be an important milestone for our sport as we fight this global pandemic. “

The Iowa City / Coralville area has long been a location for major wrestling events in the United States. Recently, the 2018 UWW Men’s Freestyle Skiing World Cup was held at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena, as well as the Olympic Trials in 2012 and 2016.

The region has previously hosted senior US National Championships in 1975 and 1977, as well as the United States Senior Greco-Roman National Championships in 1978 and the World Freestyle Team Trials in 1983. Carver also has previously hosted the NWCA National Championships, Big Ten and NCAA Championships.

“The Senior Nationals will be one of the very first major events that we look forward to hosting in the Xtream Arena,” Coralville Mayor John Lundell said in a statement. “Our athletes and coaches know this location well as it is less than 100 meters from the hotel they used during the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Team Trials and the 2018 UWW Freestyle World Cup.

“I look forward to welcoming them all to Coralville in October.”

Xtream Arena will host other notable wrestling events in the future, including the Dan Gable Donnybrook, a new high school wrestling tournament that organizers hope to become one of the country’s elite preparation competitions, and the tournament. Iowa Girls Wrestling State 2021, hosted by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.

Much of the wrestling fanfare is due in large part to Iowa’s wrestling program, which has won 23 NCAA tag team titles. Last season, the Hawkeyes went 13-0 in doubles, won the Big Ten Championships and were the big favorites to win another NCAA title while leading the nation in attendance for the 14th consecutive year.

More so, two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee of Iowa won the 2019 U.S. Senior Nationals at 57 kilograms (125 pounds) in December to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials, which were later postponed due to the coronavirus.

“We are delighted to welcome our friends back to USA Wrestling,” said Josh Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City. “Our community has been recognized many times as Wrestling City USA and we aim to keep it that way by helping USA Wrestling host another memorable event.”

Xtream Arena plans to open in September with a capacity of 5,100 seats. The floor will fit six mats. The competition schedule will be finalized by next week. The event will be broadcast on Flowrestling. Tickets will go on sale at noon on August 3 at

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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Robert J. King