A new varsity men's volleyball will also take to the gym floor next year at Hastings College.
With the addition of women's wrestling and men's volleyball, Hastings College will now field 26 competitive teams. Like the school's other varsity athletic teams, these new Broncos athletic programs will be affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).
School administrators are eager to welcome the two new sports programs.
"We're excited to launch these new athletic teams and provide opportunities for more student athletes to experience Hastings College," said Hastings College President Dr. Travis Feezell. "The teams are reflective of the institution, our athletic conference and where we want to go as a college."
Director of Athletics B.J. Pumroy said Hastings College recognizes intercollegiate athletics as an important component to the College's learning community.
"Women's wrestling is a fast-growing sport in intercollegiate and interscholastic levels across the country," said Pumroy. "We believe it's the right time to join the trend of schools adding the sport to meet an increasingly growing marketplace. We know Nebraska high schools traditionally have strong wrestling programs. We also believe with the national and state increase in participation in girls wrestling, the Nebraska School Activity Association may soon sanction the sport."
According to the Hastings College announcement, at the NAIA level, 20 schools competed in the inaugural NAIA National Invitational Women's Wrestling Championship held in Jamestown, North Dakota, in 2019, including two from the GPAC and three from the Nebraska.
There are 63 colleges and universities nationwide which sponsor women's wrestling at various levels. The NCAA's Committee on Women's Athletics also recently recommended women's wrestling to be recognized as an emerging sport, which is the first step to NCAA official championship sponsorship.
Eighteen states have women's wrestling championships at the high school level. In Nebraska, 168 girls competed for their high school teams in the 2018-19 school year, which is the 20th largest state participation number. Nationally there were 2,980 high school sponsoring teams and 21,124 girls wrestling at the high school level in 2018-19.
Hastings College is conducting national searches to find head coaches for both programs.
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a four-year, private college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Located (appropriately enough) in Hastings in south-central Nebraska, Hastings College has been named among "Great Schools, Great Prices" by U.S. News & World Report and a "Best in the Midwest" by The Princeton Review. The school has an enrollment of approximately 1,200 students.