Presbyterian College Director of Athletics Danny Sterling announced Thursday the addition of men’s and women’s wrestling programs to the college’s athletic department. Furthermore, the men’s wrestling program has accepted an invitation to join the Southern Conference (SoCon) as an associate member beginning with the 2019-20 academic year.
"We are extremely excited to be able to add these two programs to our athletic department,” said Sterling. “We are also pleased that our men's wrestling program has been accepted into the Southern Conference. The SoCon is a strong wrestling conference, and puts us in a geographic footprint that makes sense for us. We look forward to the challenge of competing in the SoCon and expanding the brand of PC wrestling. We are also excited to be the first Division I institution to sponsor women’s wrestling."
The addition of men's and women's wrestling are the first new programs for PC since women’s lacrosse began competition in 2005 and pushes the college’s number of varsity sports to 17. There are currently 76 Division I men's wrestling programs, while PC will be the first Division I program to sponsor women’s wrestling, joining 38 other programs that currently compete under the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA).
"The Presbyterian College Athletics Administration should be applauded for its foresight and progressive actions leading to the implementation of Division I men’s and women’s wrestling programs, the first duo of its kind in the history of DI collegiate wrestling," said Mike Moyer, Executive Director, National Wrestling Coaches Association. "This a monumental moment for our sport."
The men’s squad will compete in a limited varsity schedule next season, before joining the SoCon as a full member in 2019. The women's wrestling team will compete as an independent, beginning next season.
Current SoCon wrestling members include Appalachian State, Campbell, Chattanooga, The Citadel, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, VMI, and SIUE, though the Cougars will move to the MAC in 2018.
“The Southern Conference has consistently addressed wrestling membership in a way to benefit the health of the sport, and we think the addition of Presbyterian fits with that philosophy," said league commissioner John Iamarino. "It gives a new program a conference home that makes sense geographically and restores our membership in 2019-20 to eight programs for purposes of scheduling and the conference championship. It’s a winning solution for all parties."
The 2018 SoCon tournament will be the 81st edition of the tournament, which originated in 1930. League individual champions get automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament. The SoCon sent 19 wrestlers to NCAAs last year.
Presbyterian College is located on a 240-acre campus in Clinton, between Columbia and Greenville, S.C. Offering challenging academics and a culture of honor, ethics, and service that prepares students to be leaders in communities, PC offers its students the benefit of engaging with an exceptional faculty who take individual interest in their students’ well-being, both personally and in the classroom. The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy is dedicated to the ideals of leadership, honor to the profession, and service to the community. For more information about Presbyterian College, visit www.presby.edu.