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Lindenwood starts women's wrestling program to be led by former national champion
Joseph Parisi Lindenwood University
05/02/2008

Lindenwood University announced today that it has added women's wrestling as the 44th varsity athletic program at the school. Head coach of the new program will be Jake Dieffenbach, one of the top wrestlers in the school's men's wrestling history.

Lindenwood is the ninth university to offer women's wrestling as a varsity sport, including area schools in Missouri Baptist and Missouri Valley and a NCAA Division I school in Stanford. The team will be a member of the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association.

Women's wrestling was added as an Olympic sport in 2004 and it has seen an increase in participation in recent years. It is estimated that nearly 6,000 women wrestlers currently compete in the sport. Lindenwood will have a varsity and developmental squads and hope its top wrestlers have Olympic inspirations.

The Lindenwood squad will have a very experienced wrestler leading it. Dieffenbach, a native of House Springs, Mo., was a three-time NAIA All-American for the Lions, finishing second in 2005 and winning national championships in 2006 and 2007. Last year, Dieffenbach transferred to Oklahoma State for his final year of eligibility. He qualified for the NCAA Division I National Championship where he went 1-2 after having surgery less than a week prior to the event. For the year, he went 20-7 against NCAA competition, including eight victories over ranked opponents.

"I am thrilled to come back home and have this good opportunity to help start women's wrestling at Lindenwood," said Dieffenbach.

Women's wrestling will begin play during the 2008-09 school year, joining synchronized swimming and men's and women's table tennis as the newest sports at the school. With the addition of women's wrestling, Lindenwood now has 28 athletic programs that are Olympic sporting events. The school will have its first United States Olympian this summer when shooter Sean McLelland will compete in International Skeet at the China games.


 
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