Iowa Hawkeyes’ Alivia White, a Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, executes a rare five-point throw that went viral during the NWCA National Dual Meet Championships on Jan. 5 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (Jerod Ringwald/hawkeyesports.com)

Iowa Hawkeyes’ Alivia White, a Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, executes a rare five-point throw that went viral during the NWCA National Dual Meet Championships on Jan. 5 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (Jerod Ringwald/hawkeyesports.com)

Marysville Pilchuck grad is a rising, viral star at wrestling-mad Iowa

Alivia White is learning what it’s like to sign autographs, receive an NIL opportunity and have her feats viewed by millions online.

Alivia White is quickly learning what it means to be a wrestling star in the country’s most wrestling-mad state.

It means competing before more than 8,000 screaming fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa.

It means having videos of her most impressive moves going viral on social media.

It even means having to learn new modes of transportation, as her electric scooter is ineffective during the midwest’s snowy winters.

But White hit the ground running, as the Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate found instant success in her first year of collegiate wrestling.

“I feel like I’ve done pretty well,” White said via cell phone from Iowa City, Iowa. “I think I’ve exceeded my own expectations, but I’m still wanting more.”

White has had plenty of success on the mat. Competing at 191 pounds, she needed just 1 minute, 16 seconds to record a pin during Sunday’s home dual against Missouri Valley College, improving her season record to 14-4. She won her first collegiate tournament when she claimed the 191-pound title at the Princeton Tiger Collegiate Open in November, and she helped Iowa win the 2024 NWCA National Duals championship earlier this month. FloWrestling currently has White ranked as the ninth-best 191-pound college wrestler in the country.

White was a three-time state champion at Marysville Pilchuck, as well as an All-American at the club level, so the success was expected. What was perhaps less expected was the attention.

This is Iowa’s first season with a varsity women’s program as the Hawkeyes, who are the gold standard in men’s college wrestling, became the first school from a Power Five conference to offer varsity women’s wrestling, making this is a new experience for everyone. So White is a pioneer, one of the athletes who’s defining what it’s like being a women’s wrestling star in Iowa.

She’s gone viral. A video of White executing a rare five-point throw at National Duals — a suplex that looked like something straight out of WWE, with her teammates’ amazed reactions in the background — was posted on Instagram. It currently has more than three-million views and more than 145-thousand likes.

“It’s kind of a little trick I have in my back pocket,” White said about the throw. “It doesn’t always work. I tried one at the Missouri Valley tournament (in November) and the ref told me it was two low to be five points, so he had to give me four, and I was a little disappointed. So I had to redeem myself.

“It was pretty cool seeing the video go viral. I’ve never had anything get that many views, it just kept growing and growing.”

She’s signed autographs. Prior to arriving at Iowa White had never been asked for an autograph. Now after home matches she signs dozens of autographs for youthful fans and aspiring elite wrestlers.

“I think that’s when it really all set in, when you have hundreds of little girls and their parents lining up for autographs,” White said about the attention that goes with being an Iowa wrestler. “That is just so heartwarming.”

Alivia White, a Marysville Pilchuck High School grad and current University of Iowa women’s wrestler, during the Trailblazer Duals on Nov. 11, 2023, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. (Anna Moore/ hawkeyesports.com)

Alivia White, a Marysville Pilchuck High School grad and current University of Iowa women’s wrestler, during the Trailblazer Duals on Nov. 11, 2023, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. (Anna Moore/ hawkeyesports.com)

She’s also received opportunity. In 2021 the NCAA began allowing its athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). White recently received her first NIL deal. It’s a modest one, as sports drink Liquid I.V. (a product White already used) offered free product in exchange for a handful of social media posts endorsing the drink. But bigger opportunities could be available in the future.

“My teammate just got a car and I was so jealous,” White said.

“It’s really exciting,” White added about the NIL possibilities. “I have an amazing opportunity in my hands that I really want to get the most out of. I would love to work with some of my favorite brands. It’s kind of hard, it’s so new and there aren’t a lot of resources out there yet. I think they just hired someone to help with that, but I haven’t been able to reach out to them yet. It’s all very new and we’re still figuring out everything here at Iowa.”

But White still has plenty left to accomplish on the mat this season. Her goal is to reach nationals, which take place March 8-9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To do that she’ll need to finish in the top four at regionals, which won’t be an easy task. Among the wrestlers in her path is teammate Jaycee Foeller, who in a strange twist of fate became eligible to compete in December as a two-time transfer thanks to the lawsuit another Marysville Pilchuck alum, West Virginia men’s basketball player RaeQuan Battle, brought against the NCAA.

As for the future, White would like to win a national championship at some point during her college career. Based on her first season with the Hawkeyes, she believes Iowa is the place where she can do it.

“I really feel like I fit in here at Iowa,” White said. “I love Iowa City, it feels like home for me.”

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