Simpson adds women’s wrestling, bringing number of varsity sports to 23


Simpsonian file photo

Women’s wrestling is coming to Simpson College.

by Morgan Flynn, Sports Editor

Simpson College announced another new sport on Nov. 2 – women’s wrestling. The announcement comes after both men’s and women’s gymnastics and men’s volleyball were added earlier this fall, bringing Simpson to 23 varsity sports to meet Title IX compliance.

“We are thrilled to add women’s wrestling to our growing family of high-impact athletic programs,” Director of Athletics Marty Bell said in a press release. “It provides another attractive avenue for strengthening our academic profile and culture of competitive excellence. We are always looking to create new and exciting opportunities for students to join our ONESimpson family.”

Simpson becomes the second Division III institution in the state to add women’s wrestling behind Wartburg College. As for the state of Iowa, there are seven other programs including Indian Hills Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Waldorf University, Grand View University, William Penn University, Iowa Wesleyan University and the University of Iowa. 

“I’m excited about the addition of women’s wrestling and think it’s great for the program overall,” senior wrestler Dylan McChesney said. “I think if we get a bigger room the two programs would be able to practice together, but other than that I don’t know how much interaction the two will have.”

In 2020, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) named women’s wrestling to the emerging sports for all three divisions. At the high school level, 32 states have sanctioned high school girl’s wrestling state championships. 

Some states, like Iowa, do not yet sanction girl’s wrestling at the high school level. However, participation continues to climb. According to Trackwrestling, 683 girls from at least 165 schools wrestled in the 2020-21 season and 457 girls took part in the Iowa state tournament sponsored by the Iowa Coaches Association.

According to a The Des Moines Register article, 15% of Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union member institutions – or about 50 schools need to be in support of the sport for it to be sanctioned. As of Sept. 29, Erin Kirtley, associate director at the IGHSAU, told the register that 34 schools plan to fund and support a girls’ wrestling team.

The growing popularity makes it a perfect fit for Simpson along with the already existing facilities. 

“Providing opportunities for young women in a sport with increasing momentum aligns perfectly with our mission and vision,” President Marsha Kelliher said in a press release. “We want to create innovative ways for future students to embrace and engage in the Simpson experience.”

The hunt for a coaching staff begins immediately with competition beginning in 2022-23.