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Greensboro College becomes first college in North Carolina to offer women's varsity wrestling

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Greensboro College will offer women's wrestling as a varsity intercollegiate sport beginning in Fall 2020. It will be the first college or university in North Carolina to do so.

The proposal was approved Feb. 12 by President Lawrence D. Czarda, Ph.D., on the recommendation of Robin Daniel, interim director of athletics.

"This is a great opportunity for young women wrestlers, especially in the state of North Carolina," said head wrestling coach Kevin Birmingham, who will coach both the men's and the women's teams. "The sport is really taking off at the high-school level, and where are those women going? I want them to come to Greensboro College."

Greensboro College, which competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III, began its men's wrestling program in 2015. Costs to add a women's team will be minimal, with space and equipment already on hand. Division III schools, typically among the smallest, do not offer athletic scholarships.

The NCAA has designated women's wrestling as an "emerging sport," one that it recognizes but for which it does not yet have sanctioned championships. Women's wrestling has been an Olympic sport since 2004.

High-school girls' wrestling is the fastest-growing girls' sport in the country, particularly in the southeastern U.S. Nationally, the number of high school girls participating in wrestling grew from 804 in 1994 to 21,124 in 2019, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Currently, 20 states have sanctioned women's state wrestling championships.

A regional high school girls' wrestling match this past weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum drew 180 competitors this year, up from 82 at the inaugural event in 2019.

Birmingham was named the Pride's head wrestling coach in 2019 after joining the staff as an assistant coach in 2017. Previously he had coached at Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C., where three of his wrestlers reached the state championships, while his team made the state duals for the first time in six seasons.

Birmingham wrestled collegiately at Division I Davidson College, where he tallied 54 wins and 34 pins and qualified for the 2014 national tournament.

For more information on Greensboro College women's wrestling, continue to follow www.greensborocollegesports.com.

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