Future is Bright for Women’s Wrestling
July 28, 2010
It was another exciting summer of women’s wrestling in the US. As a member of the women’s wrestling community, we have much to look forward to. In the summer of 2010, the development of women’s wrestling at the grassroots level and the success at the international level has synergized like never before. The continued commitment from prominent organizations like the NWCA and USA Wrestling will bring many visions to fruition in the near future.
Cadet & Junior National Championships
A landmark decision has been made within USA Wrestling and was unanimously supported by the women’s wrestling community to add a separate Cadet National Championship tournament for female athletes. This is a giant step forward as it will allow many new and eager athletes to participate. Previously, the freestyle national tournament held in Fargo, ND has included only Junior level athletes. Although this includes most of the high school athletes, it excludes a large number of 8th grade students who are in the Cadet age level. I believe this will help grow the national tournament because many females chose not to continue with the sport once they reach high school. This way, some of those athletes will have the opportunity to compete on our country’s largest stage. My guess is that they’ll be hooked.
New college programs
Every year, more and more universities are interested in the addition of women’s wrestling programs. This year we will see 3-5 new programs. What is unique about this summer is women’s wrestling coaches are beginning to effectively network with each other and many programs have started working together to see continued growth. It’s very exciting because many college coaches believe recognition of women’s wrestling as an emerging sport within the NCAA and/or the NAIA will open the flood gates of high school participation as well.
Female coaches taking the lead
Three of the most successful and historic women’s wrestling programs took a tremendous step in supporting women’s programs by hiring females as their head coaches. University of the Cumberlands, Menlo College and Lindenwood University called on some of our country’s greatest female athletes to assume the leadership responsibilities of their programs. Olympians Marcie Van Dusen (Menlo) and Tocarra Montgomery (Lindenwood), along with world team member Alaina Berube (Cumberlands), were named head coaches of their respective institutions in May.
The future is bright for women’s wrestling in the United States. Take initiative in your local club or community to encourage female athletes to take advantage of the many new opportunities. We’re all in a position to be pioneers in the sport.