Grace Brown needed just one college visit. Grand View University had everything Brown needed. Strong history with wrestling. Great campus. And it was close to home.
“I fell in love with the campus and the team and the coaches are really nice, too,” Brown said. “Grand View was my first option, and I just kind of got in there. I wanted to live in the metro.”
Living in the metro and competing in women’s wrestling didn’t give Brown many options in Iowa. There are a handful of programs to choose from right now and Des Moines is by far the biggest city among the choices.
“It will be good. It’s always good to get into a program early and help build it from the ground up,” Newton wrestling coach Adam Hale said. “And it’s local so mom is close by, too.”
Grand View’s men’s wrestling program has already won several NAIA championships. The women’s program began in 2019. Brown also is hoping to make some history with one of the Vikings’ newest athletic programs.
“I was excited to be part of something new and create some history at that school,” Brown said. “It’s a very good school. I think they are just looking to build it up and getting as many girls in there as they can.”
Brown is in her second season as a Newton Cardinal grappler. She finished second at heavyweight at the girls’ state wrestling tournament last season.
I was excited to be part of something new and create some history at that school. I fell in love with the campus and the team and the coaches are really nice, too.— Newton's Grace Brown on choosing to wrestle for Grand View University
Girls wrestling is still not sanctioned in the state of Iowa at the high school level. Hale and Brown hope that changes soon and they both feel girls choosing to wrestle in college will help speed up the process.
“It’s a big deal. We are trying to get girls’ wrestling sanctioned in Iowa and having more and more colleges starting programs will help,” Hale said.
Brown is currently ranked second at heavyweight and plans to compete in her second state tournament next weekend.
To compete at Grand View, she will have to get down to 191 pounds.
“That’s the highest I can be in college,” Brown said. “I am working on that right now. I just want to grow as a wrestler.”
Grand View’s program currently has 27 girls listed on the program’s online roster. Six of those grapplers are seniors this season and two of those 27 are listed at 191 pounds — one freshman and one sophomore. The program is led by Angelo Crinzi. The assistant coach is Arelys Valles.
Brown plans to go into Grand View’s five-year athletic training program that includes both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.
Her long-term plan is to maybe coach wrestling at the AAU or high school level some day.