Gary Mayabb becomes associate head coach of the Iowa women's wrestling program

Cody Goodwin
Hawk Central

The Iowa women's wrestling program now has a two-person coaching staff.

Iowa women's wrestling coach Clarissa Chun announced Friday that Gary Mayabb, a longtime USA Wrestling coach and successful high school wrestling coach from Missouri, has joined the program as an associate head coach.

"I saw firsthand the work Gary did with USA Wrestling and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with and alongside him in building this program," Chun said in a release. "We worked in different programs (at USA Wrestling), but I got to see all the work he put into building men’s Greco in the U.S.

"Gary is a hard worker, unites people and is well-connected. He has trained the development age group all the way to senior level athletes for decades, so he knows how to relate to different athletes.

"During the interview process it was clear that our values aligned in how we wanted to build this program. Gary has high integrity and will serve our student-athletes well."

Gary Mayabb, left, joined the Iowa women's wrestling program as an associate head coach. He has worked as a top assistant with USA Wrestling and was a successful high school wrestling coach over a coaching career spanning more than four decades.

More:Two future Iowa Hawkeyes win titles at USA Wrestling's women's nationals

Mayabb — pronounced MAY-ab — joins the Hawkeyes after serving as the manager of USA Wrestling's Greco-Roman programs from 2017-22, where he oversaw day-to-day operations for the greco program as well as the development in the U20, U17, and U15 age groups. He is also a past member of the U.S. Olympic Team Training Camp staff.

As a high school coach, Mayabb led two separate Kansas City high schools, Oak Park and Staley, to seven combined Missouri state team championships. Under his guidance, Oak Park won six state team titles and Staley won one, and he coached 44 individual state champs and 130 individual state medalists combined between both schools.

Mayabb has been named USA Wrestling's Regional Developmental Coach of the Year, the Junior National Greco-Roman Coach of the Year, and the Cadet National Greco-Roman Coach of the Year. He also coached Missouri's Cadet and Junior greco national teams from 1987-2016, resulting in 17 champs and 71 All-Americans.

More:Ava Bayless, a two-time national high school champ, signs with the Iowa women's wrestling program

Now Mayabb will join Chun in Iowa City to continue building the first Division I Power 5 women's wrestling program. Already, Chun has locked in 10 recruits as part of her inaugural signing class, all of whom will redshirt next season. The Hawkeyes will begin competing in the 2023-24 season.

"The University of Iowa is a special place for wrestling," Mayabb said in the same release, announcing his hire. "I am excited for the opportunity to work with coach Chun and the history-making women who have committed to grow our sport."

More:Nanea Estrella, an NAIA national finalist, is transferring to the Iowa women's wrestling program

Nyla Valencia, from California's Bulldog Wrestling Club, won USA Wrestling's High School National Recruiting Showcase at 106 pounds back in March. Valencia is ranked third nationally at 106 pounds by USA Wrestling.

Incoming recruit Nyla Valencia qualifies for Senior world team trials

Last week, Nyla Valencia turned in a breakout performance at USA Wrestling's women's national championships, finishing third at the U20 world team trials and winning the U23 national title.

This week, Valencia, an incoming Iowa women's wrestler, qualified for the Senior world team trials.

Valencia won USA Wrestling's Last Chance Open on Friday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She went 3-0 to win at 50 kilograms (110 pounds). She outscored her three opponents by a combined 34-0.

Valencia joins Nanea Estrella, who won the U.S. Open, as future Iowa women's wrestlers who have qualified for the Senior world team trials, set for May 21-22 at Xtream Arena in Coralville.

More:California state champ Nyla Valencia becomes fourth commit for Iowa women's wrestling team

Minnesota state champ Jude Link commits to Iowa wrestling program

The Iowa men's wrestling program picked up a commitment on Friday from Jude Link, a state champion from Minnesota’s Dassel-Cokato-Litchfield. He is now the 12th member of the Hawkeyes' 2022 recruiting class.

Link projects at 165 pounds. He is a three-time state finalist in Minnesota’s Class AA. This past season, he went 38-3 and won a state title at 160. He produced a four-year prep record of 155-16, including a 122-6 mark in his final three seasons.

"I'm excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career through the University of Iowa," Link wrote in an Instagram post, announcing his commitment. "I would like to thank my family and every single one of my coaches for making this possible."

Iowa wrestling team’s 2022 recruiting class

Link joins a recruiting class that was recently tabbed as No. 15 nationally by MatScouts, and includes a heavy in-state presence. He is just the third out-of-state wrestler in the Hawkeyes' 2022 recruiting class.

The other 11 members of Iowa’s 2022 haul include:

  • Aiden Riggins, Waverly-Shell Rock
  • Kolby Franklin, Wyoming Seminary (PA)
  • Bradley Hill, Bettendorf
  • Mickey Griffith, Des Moines Lincoln
  • Easton Fleshman, West Lyon
  • Joel Jesuroga, Southeast Polk
  • Carson Martinson, Southeast Polk
  • Carter Martinson, Southeast Polk
  • Drake Rhodes, Billings West (MT)
  • Jace Rhodes, Mason City
  • Cade Siebrecht, Lisbon
  • Jude Link, Dassel-Cokato-Litchfield (MN)

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