#TeamUSATuesday: Women’s Freestyle National Team member Rachel Watters

By JR Rader, USA Wrestling | Feb. 26, 2019, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Rachel Watters secures a leg attack against Erin Clodgo at the 2018 Final X at State College. Photo by Richard Immel.

Rachel Watters is currently the No. 2 wrestler at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. for USA Wrestling’s Women’s National Team.

While in high school, the Ankeny, Iowa native was a three-time Fargo champion (1x Cadet, 2x Junior), and a two-time Junior World Team member.

Since deciding to attend Oklahoma City University in the fall of 2016, she has made an additional Junior World Team, made two U23 World Teams, and wrestled at Final X in State College. She has also been a two-time All-American for OCU, by placing seventh in 2017 and third in 2018 at WCWA Women’s College Nationals.

In November, Watters suffered a knee injury. She underwent a successful surgery shortly after but has been sidelined since the injury.

Watters took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions. Here are her top 15 answers.

What is your favorite food when you’re not watching your weight?
Taco Bell. I had actually never had it before I came to college, just Taco John’s, but now I really like Taco Bell.

What is your favorite sport to watch other than wrestling?
This is weird but I like watching wakeboarding nationals. We have a place up at the lake, so I like to pretend that I can do that stuff.

What is your favorite thing about wrestling?
It gets me to a point that nothing else can. Like when you are sprinting, and you feel like you can’t do one more at 110 percent. I just love that feeling. When you feel like you can’t do anything else and you have to do one more sprint.

Who is your favorite wrestler (past or present) to watch?
I was a really big David Zabriskie fan when he was at Iowa State. He was really fun to watch.

What is your favorite place you’ve travelled to?
Spain was a lot of fun. We were there for about two weeks, so we got to experience the city and stuff. Normally you just see the inside of a wrestling room when you go overseas. It was really fun to go experience Madrid.

How did you get involved in wrestling?
My dad put me in jiu-jitsu as a little kid because he had three daughters and wanted us all to be able to defend ourselves. Then one day I was talking the Ballard counselor about jiu-jitsu and he told me he was the wrestling coach and I should go to wrestling practice. My mom was okay with it, so I went in socks and laid on my back the whole time.

What is your major in college?
I’m currently a marketing major. I want to be a college wrestling coach, and I thought it would be good to market your team and get people in attendance.

What is something on your bucket list?
Wrestling related, I definitely want to go to the Olympics. Otherwise, I’d like to get a flip on a wakeboard. That would be pretty awesome.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?
No, but I do have a post-match ritual – I always drink a Mountain Dew. I used to drink them after weigh-ins, but that started to catch up with me.

What are some of your hobbies you enjoy doing off the mat?
I normally just hang out with friends. I’m also trying to get into weightlifting and actually like it.

What kind of advice would you give a younger wrestler?
Always be the hardest working person in the room. Even when you think you’re the hardest working person in the room, you’re not, work harder.

What would you tell a young girl who is considering wrestling?
I would say go for it. I have a lot in life I owe to wrestling: I found the love of my life, I’m going to college for it, and I found a lot of my friends through it. So, I would so go for it.

What motivates you?
I have this internal want to get better. I can’t just sit back and watch, I have to go out there and do it myself.

What has been your favorite moment as a wrestler?
One thing that really made me happy was senior night at Ballard, but now I would say it was Final X. (Final X) was an awesome experience and I had never seen that many people in a gym for wrestling before.

What has being injured been like and how have you dealt with it?
It’s rough. At first, I was thinking this would be awesome. I’d get a little bit of a break. I wouldn’t have to worry about my weight and could eat whatever I wanted over Christmas, but then I had to sit on the side at practice. I can’t take it. It’s hard to just sit out and watch.

The Watters File
Born: October 24, 1997
High School: Huxley, Iowa (Ballard)
College: Oklahoma City University
Residence: Ankeny, Iowa
Club: New York AC/Aires WC
Twitter: rachelthedachel
Instagram: rachelthedachel
• 2018 Final X runner-up
• 2018 Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion
• 2017 and 2018 U23 World Team member
• 2017 and 2018 WCWA Women’s College Nationals All-American
• 2015, 2016, and 2017 Junior World Team member
• 2015 and 2016 Junior Nationals champion
• 2014 Cadet Nationals champion