Graphic and release courtesy of Christopher Intoppa, Montreat College Athletics.
MONTREAT, N.C.— Vice President of Enrollment Management and Athletics, Jose Larios, announced Cabinet’s recent approval to add women’s wrestling as a varsity sport at Montreat College beginning in the fall of 2022. Current wrestling assistant coach Norman Manning will be the first head coach of the women’s wrestling program, while Jake Britt, the head wrestling coach, will serve as the assistant coach for the program and the Director of Wrestling for the college.
The sport, which became an NAIA invitational sport during the 2018-19 school year, consisted of 21 teams when it was first recognized by the association. Following three years of growth, there are now 38 schools that sponsor women’s wrestling in the NAIA. These wrestlers compete for individual national championships in ten weight classes and a team championship based on individual wrestler finishes. Double elimination format is used at the championships to determine the top six wrestlers in each weight class, who earn NAIA All-American honors.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to coach the women’s [wrestling] team and feel we can push in a forward direction to excel both athletically and academically to give opportunities to these young ladies,” said Coach Manning. “It is a great push for wrestling in general to have this sport at this institution and provide a chance for young ladies to compete at the next level.”
Like men’s wrestling in the NAIA, the women wrestle throughout the winter season- from around early November to the championships in mid-March; however, there are scoring differences in the rulebook. The sport utilizes the Olympic (or freestyle) scoring style, which is slightly different than scoring in men’s wrestling. Instead of capturing points on takedowns and with riding time, women’s wrestlers can earn points by pushing an opponent outside of the circle (1 pt.), earning a takedown or exposing an opponent’s back to the mat (2 pts.), taking an opponent from their feet to their back (4 pts.) or throwing an opponent over their head to the mat (5 pts.).
The first-year women’s program will have a healthy schedule composed of several collegiate programs within a three-hour radius. Since women’s wrestling has an invitational championship, the Cavaliers will have the opportunity to send up to 12 athletes, with a maximum of two per weight class, to the national invitational championship in March of their first season.
“I am excited to announce the addition of women’s wrestling as an athletic offering at Montreat College,” stated Larios. “Based on our college’s strategic plan, the additional facility space, and a strong existing coaching staff, this decision was an easy one to make. Again, we’re thrilled to provide another offering where students can choose our Christ-centered education, while also continuing their athletic passions.”
Montreat has opened its recruiting and is searching for talented women to take the mat when the Cavaliers open their inaugural season in the winter of 2022. In addition to recruiting for athletes, the Montreat athletic department is actively searching for a graduate assistant to help with the women’s wrestling program in the fall. Contact Coach Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org or Coach Britt at email@example.com for more information.