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KCAC Announces Inaugural Season for Women's Wrestling

August 17, 2017
By Alan Grosbach, NAIA Associate Director of Athletic Communication

Article provided by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

WICHITA, Kan. - The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) revealed the addition of women's wrestling today as its newest varsity sport. This announcement takes the conference up to 23 varsity sports - 11 for men and 12 for women.

The KCAC joins the Mid-South Conference, based in Kentucky, as the first two conferences to offer women's wrestling as this sport continues to grow within the NAIA. The conference will blend five programs to begin competition in the 2017-18 school year. Three associate member programs, the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, North Dakota, Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, and Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri, will join the two full-member KCAC institutions, Ottawa University and the University of Saint Mary, in this inaugural year. Midland University and Missouri Valley College are already KCAC associate member schools in lacrosse.

"Following our associate member sport model developed for men's and women's lacrosse, I am pleased to have the collaboration from these five programs coming together for the further development of women's wrestling," stated Dr. Scott Crawford, KCAC Commissioner. "This effort puts the KCAC and these five programs at the forefront of helping the NAIA take women's wrestling from an emerging sport to an eventual championship sport."

Ottawa University's Athletic Director, Arabie Conner, said, "Over the last two years, women's wrestling has been a great addition to our athletic department sports offerings at OU. We're very pleased to see the growth of the sport at the high school level and regionally with more and more collegiate opportunities for women. Having other regional institutions that sponsor women's wrestling join the KCAC in partnership to enhance the experience for the student-athletes is a great to see."

"We are thrilled to find a conference home for our women's wrestling program. Now our student-athletes can compete for a conference championship as a team and as individuals", Sean Johnson, Athletic Director at University of Jamestown said. "This is an important step in the history of our program."

What is being said about KCAC Women's Wrestling....
"We're pleased that the KCAC has chosen to add Women's Wrestling as a sponsored sport. This decision puts our conference at the forefront of a movement that's expanding nationally. The response to our Women's Wrestling program—launched in 2016—has been overwhelmingly positive."- Rob Miller, Athletic Director, University of Saint Mary

"We are excited about the opportunities this partnership will provide our women's wrestling team."- Dave Gillespie - Dave Gillespie, Athletic Director, Midland University

"Missouri Valley is very excited to be joining the KCAC in its inaugural season of women's wrestling. This is a big step in growing the sport of women's wrestling and we are thankful for the KCAC for taking that important first step." - Carl Murphree, Head Coach, Missouri Valley College

"We, here at the University of Saint Mary, are extremely proud to be a part of the inaugural group of institutions that are forming the KCAC in women's wrestling. Women's wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports at the collegiate level and I believe our conference recognizing it as a sponsored sport will pave the way for other conferences and associations to do the same." "Our student/athletes who participate in women's wrestling deserve to be a part of this great conference." - Chuck Kearney, Head Coach, University of Saint Mary

"I am very excited to be a part of growing women's collegiate wrestling. Joining a conference gives my athletes and university more opportunities for recognition, as well as more exposure for our sport to the public." - Shauna Kemp, Head Coach, University of Jamestown

"The formation of conference-level competition gives our women's wrestlers the opportunity to compete for a conference individual and team championship which was not possible before. It's all about growing the sport and experience for our female athletes whose passion is in a sport that is still in its infancy. It's great to see NAIA institutions that have athletes in women's wrestling with tremendous talent and Olympic aspirations competing on our campuses." - Arabie Conner, Athletic Director, Ottawa University

"Starting a Women's Wrestling program has allowed us to meet the needs of another student segment—one that is rapidly growing. Our program gives some very deserving student-athletes a new choice and a new path to achieve their goals and dreams—and the KCAC's decision to add women's wrestling as a sponsored sport will only further benefit these students." - Sister Diane Steele Ph.D., University of Saint Mary President