Wilmington College is starting wrestling as an intercollegiate varsity sport beginning in fall 2018.
The College will hire a full-time wrestling coach and designate a training space in its athletics complex especially for the sport, which will become its 19th varsity-level program. WC will field the Ohio Athletic Conference's eighth wrestling team.
Dr. Terry Rupert, vice president for athletic administration, said the combination of wrestling's popularity in Ohio high schools and the recent expansion of the College's athletics facilities makes starting a wrestling program a proposition with a "great opportunity" for success.
"Wilmington College is geographically located in the center of outstanding, high school wrestling programs in the greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus areas," he said. "We believe many of those high school athleties will wish to take advantage of the opportunity to continue competing in the sport they love on the NCAA Division-III level."
Rupert said the College's recent acquisition of the former Wilmington YMCA, which is adjacent to WC's athletics complex, will allow for a dedicated space for the wrestling program's training activities.
"The College is committed to hosting a top-level, college wrestling program based on the Division III commitment to the concept of the student-athlete," he added. "Wrestling, as with our other athletics programs, will not only offer students the opportunity to compete in their sport as a college student, but it also will provide those distinct educational, leadership and character-building components that are unique in D-3 intercollegiate athletics."
While this program will be new in 2018, Wilmington College has a long history with the sport, which it placed on hiatus in fall 2011. A number of Fightin' Quaker wrestlers have won conference championships and advanced to the national tournament. Indeed, 2003 graduate Jimmy Wallace won the 2002 national title in the 157-pound weight class and was selected as that tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Rupert said the College will begin recruiting student-athletes immediately.