Augustana College has announced plans to add a new varsity sport. Starting in the fall of 2021, it will field a women's wrestling team.
Athletic Director Mike Zapolski says this has been in the works for more than two years, and the goal is to have a roster of 20 to 24, within three years.
"Our plan is to leverage Augustana's academic profile to hopefully make us a destination for young ladies interested in competing in wrestling and also wanting to get a quality small college education."
Zapolski says women's wrestling is one of the country's fastest growing sports, especially in the midwest, plus California and Texas. And it's already an Olympic sport.
Tony Willaert, who coaches the men's wrestling team at Augustana, will lead the new women's team.
"And over the course of the last six months, he's quietly let it be known that this was going to be coming down the pike. So as we make this formal announcement today, he's already been in touch with prospective recruits about attending Augustana."
Augustana will be the third member of the CCIW to host a women's wrestling team - North Central just completed its first season, and Carthage will add it next fall. Other Division-Three teams in the region include Iowa Wesleyan and UW-Stevens Point.