SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota – The University of Sioux Falls announced today that it will add Men’s and Women’s Wrestling to be the 18th and 19th sports teams at the university, with competition to begin in the fall of 2023.
“We are thrilled to announce the return of men’s wrestling and the addition of women’s wrestling at USF.” “With wrestling’s popularity in the Midwest, we look forward to recruiting outstanding student-athletes to compete both at the regional and national level. Wrestlers train with a passion and resiliency that make them successful on and off the mat, so we think they will be a great fit and addition to our athletic department.”
Pam Gohl, USF Director of Athletics
The search for two different head coaches is underway now, one for the Women’s Wrestling team (freestyle wrestling) and one for the Men’s Wrestling program (folk-style wrestling).
USF competes in NCAA Division II Athletics in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Because the NCAA currently categorizes Women’s Wrestling as an NCAA Emerging Sport, USF will be exploring all options in regards to conference affiliation as the landscape continues to evolve. The NCAA emerging sport designation is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women as well as more sport-sponsorship options for institutions while helping the sport achieve NCAA championship status. Right now there are 16 NCAA schools from Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and Colorado that are sponsoring and competing in Women’s Wrestling in 2022-2023.
The USF’s Men’s Wrestling team will be competing in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), which currently has nine charter members and one affiliate member competing. NSIC Men’s Wrestling has had six team national championships and 18 individual champions all time, including 79 All-American honors since 2018.
“USF is proud of its broad array of co-curricular programming in athletics, performing arts, campus-based clubs, and faith formation activities.” “At USF, these opportunities serve to enhance the college experience for our students and align well with our mission-centric purpose. The addition of these new wrestling programs will serve to further perpetuate the rich traditions of excellence in all programming offered at the University of Sioux Falls.”
Brett Bradfield, USF President
Wrestling is the seventh most popular men’s high school sport with over 245,000 participants nationwide, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association; however, there are only 65 NCAA Division II Men’s Wrestling programs. NCAA Division II wrestling is considered an individual sport with 10 different weight classes. Women’s Wrestling is growing and is now an Olympic sport, with over 32,000 young women wrestling in high schools nationally. Currently, there are only 115 collegiate women’s teams across all levels of competition.
What others are saying:
I know I can speak for the NWCA Board of Directors when I congratulate the University of Sioux Falls administration for being the FIRST school in South Dakota to add both an intercollegiate men’s and women’s wrestling program. It is these kinds of trailblazing efforts that open doors for countless young men and women student-wrestlers, many of which are First Generation College Bound Students, to pursue their academic and athletic careers in college. This announcement represents the 321th and 322th new intercollegiate wrestling program added since 2000. Most importantly, these programs provide more opportunities for young men and women, which is something we should all celebrate.
Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director
It is exciting to see the University of Sioux Falls is adding a men and women’s wrestling to their athletic department. I know the great value that the sport can have on our youth, and I am excited to see that the board of trustees at the University of Sioux Falls also sees that value. There is no doubt that the student / athletes, the university, and the community of Sioux Falls will all benefit from these additions. The hot bed in the sport in America comes from the heartland. Wrestling is built on Midwest values and work ethic. This is a win for everyone involved!
Terry Steiner, USA Women’s National Team Coach