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NCAA Div. III York College of Pennsylvania to add women's wrestling to varsity lineup

by Scott Guise, York College

YORK, PA – York College of Pennsylvania is proud to announce the addition of women's wrestling as the school's 24th varsity sport. Work will begin immediately on the first recruiting class as the Spartans prepare to compete in the fall of 2023. Wrestling will be the 13th varsity sport offered for women at York College.

Women's wrestling has been identified by the NCAA as an emerging sport for women-- intended to help schools provide athletic opportunities for women and sport-sponsorship opportunities for institutions, with the ultimate goal of achieving NCAA Championship status.

Nationally, women's wrestling has 113 intercollegiate programs, including Alvernia and Delaware Valley, fellow Middle Atlantic Conference members. Girl's high school wrestling in now sanctioned in 32 states and the state of Pennsylvania is working towards the PIAA requirement of 100 high school programs which will trigger a state championship tournament.

Assistant Dean for Athletics and Recreation Paul Saikia is happy to see women's wrestling joining the stable of Spartan sports offerings.

"We are excited to be among those sponsoring women's wrestling at the NCAA level," said Saikia. "We look forward to being active in growing women's wrestling, providing additional intercollegiate athletic opportunities for women on our campus, and competing at a high level. With the success of our men's program, we feel we have a solid foundation to work from as we add our 24th sport."

The women's program joins a men's program that is one of the most decorated in school history. The Spartan men have had 30 wrestlers earn All-American honors during their time in the Green and White. Head coach Duane Bastress is a two-time National Champion including an undefeated season as a senior in 2005-06. The men's program is consistently ranked in the top 25 and has produced multiple national qualifiers on a regular basis.

Bastress believes the Spartans will be competitive immediately.

"I am extremely excited for women's wrestling to be begin at York College," said Bastress. "The emergence of this program is something that I am passionate about and believe that we have the resources to become very successful in a short period of time. As a father of two young daughters, it excites me that they will have role models showing them that women can accomplish amazing things. I would like to thank Dr. Gunter-Smith and Paul Saikia for believing in and supporting me in my vision that York College women's wrestling can become a successful program both on and off the mat. Interest in women's wrestling is growing across the country and I am eager to see our program open up new doors for female student-athletes."

Mike Moyer, the executive director for the National Wrestling Coaches Association, is pleased to see York College join the ranks of institutions sponsoring women's wrestling.

"This extraordinary announcement represents the 114th intercollegiate women's wrestling program in all divisions and governing bodies that has been established since 1999," stated Moyer. "I know I speak for our NWCA Board of Directors and staff when I say that the York College administration has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in their efforts to establish the seventh new intercollegiate women's wrestling program in Pennsylvania. Creating this new opportunity for women wrestlers at a college with so much history and tradition in wrestling builds incredible momentum for our sport. Most important, this means more opportunities for more student-athletes. This is a win we should all be celebrating."

The Spartan athletic department will begin an immediate search for a full-time wrestling assistant who will support the women's and men's team. Bastress will serve as the head coach for both programs.