A Storm’s A-Brewin’: BVU Adds Women’s Wrestling under Coach Paige Storm


Joshua Woolcott, Contributing Writer

On July 14, 2022, BVU’s athletics department officially announced the addition of a new varsity sport in the form of Women’s Wrestling. The new addition sparked conversation across campus once students returned. Several months later, on Sept. 22, 2022, BVU announced a head coach for this team, none other than BVU Alum Paige Storm. Athletic Director of BVU, Scott Brown, discussed the new hire. 

“What impressed me most was her passion for the sport and for mentoring young women combined with her enthusiasm for coming home to Buena Vista University,” Brown said. Storm has a lengthy history with wrestling, dating back to when she was still in the first grade.  

“My dad was a wrestling coach in Spencer, my brother started wrestling when he was three… my mom was actually a wrestling cheerleading coach in Spencer too. I went to my brother’s first [wrestling] tournament dressed as a cheerleader, and I was really upset when he was wrestling and I wasn’t,” Storm said. Starting with wrestling at such a young age, it shows that Storm has had time to learn all the ins and outs of what makes someone a good wrestler. Shortly after this tournament, Storm began to wrestle herself. 

“I told my dad I really wanted to wrestle… back in 1993 and 1994 it wasn’t considered ‘the norm’ but they never mentioned anything to me about it, so I just thought it was normal,” Storm said. With a strong foundation in place, Storm had set herself on a journey that allowed her to become a pioneer in women’s wrestling now in 2023.  

Amy Maier, the assistant athletic director at BVU, has high hopes for what will come from the new program. “By adding women’s wrestling we are offering more opportunities for women to be involved in athletics. The state of Iowa has a strong wrestling history and women’s wrestling has seen continued growth. We are excited for this opportunity to see more women compete and attract more female students to BVU,” Maier said in an official statement. 

In the context of choosing to hire Coach Storm, Maier thought it was a no-brainer. “When looking for our first women’s wrestling head coach, Coach Storm was a natural choice as her familiarity with BVU as an alum and growing up in Northwest Iowa gives her the unique ability to recruit the right student-athletes to campus and our team. Her passion and drive for the sport and dedication to her athletes are invaluable to starting this new program,” Maier said.  

Clayton Van Horn, a BV alum and wrestling enthusiast, has had the pleasure of meeting Coach Storm while also being close to several others who are vital in the birth of the program. Van Horn created a short documentary series titled “Unsanctioned” during his senior year at BVU following the Ridge View High School girl’s wrestling team, the year girl’s wrestling became a sanctioned sport in the state of Iowa. Upon hearing that BVU was adding a women’s wrestling team, Van Horn felt incredibly hopeful for the future. “It makes me more proud to be a Beaver… if you invest in both men’s and women’s wrestling then you’re invested in double the wrestling,” Van Horn said with a chuckle.  

Not only is it great for the university, but Van Horn believes it is great for the athletes in high school that want to continue to wrestle after they graduate. “[Girl’s wrestling] blew up in high school and [women’s wrestling] has yet to see that happen at the college level, but with programs popping up around the country, we’re probably going to see that in the next few years,” Van Horn said.  

The incoming class of recruits has been exceeding expectations, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of it slowing down. “We so far have 14 that are incoming. There’s 14 brand new on campus, and two that are currently on campus. A total of 16, recruiting season isn’t over yet… hopefully, we have more,” Storm said.  

This start to the program only makes Van Horn hopeful for continued success. “They’re off to an amazing start… they seem to be on the right track when it comes to the vision for their program. As far as I can tell, they are recruiting based on character, which is what wrestling is all about… it’s promoting people to be better people and better wrestlers.” 

Coach Storm has ensured that one of her biggest goals is to create the right culture and atmosphere for the athletes on the team. “A family culture. That’s kind of what we’re aiming to build this first year… college is hard, it’s hard to move away from home, and then you add sports on top of that… it’s just hard… being able to depend on your teammates… I think that’s something that really builds that solid foundation for the program to be built on,” Storm said. 

There are impacts that this program can have beyond just the University. The program already has begun to turn heads outside of BVU. “My husband and I were out to dinner and there were people that didn’t know that we had a women’s wrestling team. I think it’s good,” Storm said. With the addition of this program, BVU is showing the opportunities that are available to it, including the ability to show an increased level of inclusion in the sports world.  

“I know there’s a lot of communities that are adding [wrestling] and getting used to having women in that, especially in a combat sport,” Storm said.  

“It says a lot about the women who wrestle. It says a lot about their toughness and grit. I think in terms of this scenario, where this program is new, I think it is a big deal that these girls are going to have the opportunity in Northwest Iowa to wrestle at a bigger scale outside of high school,” Van Horn said.  

Coach Storm knows the beginning of the program is important to its lasting success and is aware the women who join the team have an important role in that. “You’re the start of something. People are going to be watching you, people are going to look to you, you’re a trailblazer,” Storm said.  

With next school year marking the historic beginning of a new sport in BVU’s athletics program, all eyes are on a trailblazing group of young women.