SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — The University of Sioux Falls announced today that it will add men’s and women’s wrestling to the university’s 18th and 19th athletic teams, with competition slated 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 to USF.”
“With the popularity of wrestling in the Midwest, we look forward to recruiting outstanding student-athletes to compete regionally and nationally. The wrestlers train with a passion and resilience that allow them to succeed on and off the mat, so we believe they will be a great addition to our athletic department.
– Pam Gohl, USF Director of Athletics
The search for two different head coaches is currently underway, one for the women’s wrestling team (freestyle wrestling) and one for the men’s wrestling program (folk wrestling).
USF competes in NCAA Division II athletics at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Since the NCAA currently classifies women’s wrestling as an emerging NCAA sport, USF will explore all options with regards to conference affiliation as the landscape continues to evolve. The NCAA Emerging Sports designation is intended to help schools provide more athletic opportunities for women as well as more sports sponsorship options for institutions while helping the sport achieve championship status in the NCAA. Currently, 16 NCAA schools from Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and Colorado are sponsoring and participating in women’s wrestling in 2022-23.
The USF men’s wrestling team will compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), which currently has nine founding members and one affiliate member competing. NSIC men’s wrestling has had six national tag team championships and 18 all-time individual champions, including 79 All-American honors since 2018.
“USF prides itself on its wide range of after-school programs in athletics, performing arts, campus clubs, and religious education activities.”
“At USF, these opportunities serve to enhance our students’ college experience and align well with our mission-centered purpose. The addition of these new wrestling programs will serve to further continue the rich traditions of excellence in all programs offered at the University of Sioux Falls.
– Brett Bradfield, USF President
Wrestling is the seventh most popular high school male 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 nationwide. Currently, there are only 115 collegiate women’s teams at all levels of competition.
What others say:
I know I can speak for the NWCA Board of Trustees when I commend the administration of Sioux Falls University for being the FIRST school in South Dakota to add both an intercollegiate men’s wrestling program and feminine. It is these types of pioneering efforts that open doors for countless young student-wrestlers, many of whom are first-generation college students, to pursue their academic and athletic careers in college. This announcement represents the 321st and 322nd new intercollegiate wrestling programs added since 2000. More importantly, these programs provide more opportunities for young men and women, which is something we should all celebrate.
– Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director
It’s exciting to see the University of Sioux Falls adding men’s and women’s wrestling to its athletics department. I know the great value sports can have on our youth, and I’m thrilled to see that the University of Sioux Falls Board of Trustees sees that value as well. There is no doubt that the students/athletes, the university and the community of Sioux Falls will all benefit from these additions. The hot bed of sports in America comes from the heart. The fight is based on Midwestern values and work ethics. It’s a win for everyone involved!
– Terry Steiner, Coach of the United States Women’s National Wrestling Team
About Sioux Falls University
Founded more than 138 years ago, the University of Sioux Falls is a transformative Christian liberal arts college serving approximately 1,500 students through traditional undergraduate programs as well as graduate, evening, and online, including a doctorate in leadership. USF is committed to academic excellence and the development of mature Christian people for the service of God and humanity in the world through its more than 90 programs in business, education, healthcare nurses and many others, including the Center for Professional Development. A recent survey showed that an impressive 99% of graduates land a job in their chosen field or go on to graduate school within six months of graduation. Additionally, 73% of graduates began their careers in South Dakota, and of those, 93% lived in Sioux Falls or within 30 miles. Learn more at www.usiouxfalls.edu