EMORY, Va. - Emory & Henry College Director of Athletics Anne Crutchfield has announced the addition of men's and women's wrestling as intercollegiate sports which will begin competition during the 2020-21 academic year. The teams expand the College's varsity sports offerings to 22 NCAA Division III programs, IDA and IHSA equestrian teams and competitive cheer and dance squads.
"The popularity of wrestling in the region, as well as across the country, will provide Emory & Henry with a new pool of student-athletes to join our athletic programs," said Crutchfield. "We are in the process of hiring our coaching staff, and we are excited to grow our department. Our new programs will allow these dedicated student-athletes to continue their career and sport they're passionate about while in college."
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and its 2018-19 High School Participation Survey, girls' wrestling has climbed to the 17th-most popular high school sport and boys' wrestling remains seventh at the high school level in terms of participants. The combined number of high school wrestlers nationwide, including both boys and girls, grew to 268,565 - an increase of 6,439 athletes (or 2.5%) - in 2018-19.
Wrestling has become a growing sport in NCAA Division III for both men and women. However, Emory & Henry will be just the second school in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) to offer both men's and women's wrestling. Currently, only Ferrum College provides both. Washington and Lee University currently offers men's wrestling while Roanoke College and Shenandoah University have recently made announcements to add the sport.
"As wrestling continues to grow, we hope to see more ODAC schools add wrestling to allow us to compete on a conference level," added Crutchfield. "Until then, we will continue to offer high-level competition at matches on the regional and national levels."
Crutchfield says the College plans to have a head coach for both men's and women's wrestling hired by the start of February. For more information on the teams, please contact Anne Crutchfield (email@example.com) or call the Admissions staff at 1-800-848-5493.