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Hanover-Horton High School wrestler Danni Swihart, center, was all smiles after signing a letter of commitment to wrestle at the University of Iowa next year.  Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(November 18, 2022 4:45 PM) Hanover-Horton High School wrestler Danni Swihart had to chuckle at a Facebook memory that popped up today. 

It was her first wrestling practice … eight years to the day.

Friday, Swihart became the first female wrestler in Michigan to sign a Division 1 letter of commitment to wrestle at the University of Iowa in the newly formed women’s team. 

Last year Iowa become the first NCAA Division I, Power Five conference institution to offer the sport of women’s wrestling.

Swihart will get onto the ground floor as the Hawkeyes begin competition in the 2023-2024 season. 

“I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet … it’s huge,” Swihart said after signing the commitment to Iowa. “Iowa has all of my academic interests.”

Swihart said she hopes to “pave the ground for other women in Michigan who also want that dream.”

The Hanover-Horton senior won a state title at the Michigan High School Athletic Association all-girls state final a year ago. She says that tournament helped pave the way for a wave of girls to become interested in the sport.

“Michigan blew it (the sports of female wrestling) up,” Swihart said.
“So many new girls are coming out for the sport because they now have the option to wrestle only girls. 

“The MHSAA individual state tournament gave them the opportunity.”

Swihart said she has always felt welcomed by her teammate and coaches at Hanover-Horton. Last year she was a captain on the Comets’ team and wrestled most of her matches against male competition. 

“I have always had a lot of respect from the boys on my wrestling teams,” Swihart said. “Being able to grow up in that environment has helped me in the sport.

“My coaches have always respected me as an athlete … they never gave up on me.”

Swihart spent part of her summer training with Ben Giles at Simons Academy of Wrestling and being a part of Team Michigan for Michigan Revolution. 

She plans to study pre-veterinarian to become a large animal vet. Swihart is second in her class with a 3.99 grade point average.  

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