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Centenary University in New Jersey to launch new NCAA DIII women’s wrestling program

by Rose Duger, Erbach Communications Group

Graphic for Centenary Women's Wrestling
Leveraging its national reputation for men’s wrestling, Centenary will field its first competitive women’s team during the 2023-24 academic year.

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., Oct. 6, 2022—Centenary University today announced the addition of women’s wrestling as an intercollegiate sport. The team will bring the total number of NCAA DIII sports offered by the University to 14, including seven women’s teams.

“Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States,” noted Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., president of Centenary University. “Centenary’s new women’s wrestling team aligns with the objectives of our strategic plan to grow the University, while providing academic and extracurricular opportunities that enrich the experience for a more diverse group of students.”

Vice President for Enrollment Management Robert L. Miller, Ph.D., explained that the new team broadens Centenary’s recruitment pool of prospective students. “We’re excited to add women’s wrestling to our roster of DIII sports,” Dr. Miller said. “We anticipate strong interest from high school athletes in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as other areas of the country.”

An Olympic sport for nearly two decades, women’s wrestling has charted explosive growth. The National Wrestling Coaches Association estimates that more than 28,000 high school women wrestled in 2021, compared with just 804 in 1994—an increase of more than 3,300 percent. Recognized as an emerging NCAA sport in 2020 for all three collegiate divisions, women’s wrestling is sanctioned for high school competition in 36 states, including New Jersey. Centenary’s program will be one of two NCAA collegiate programs in the state, although several other colleges and universities offer the sport on the club level or allow women to compete on men’s teams.

Recruitment is underway for a Centenary women’s team coach and the first roster of players, which will debut for the 2023-2024 academic year. Associate Athletic Director Rose Haller said the University will leverage the success of its nationally-recognized men’s wrestling program to build the new women’s team, which will share training facilities with the men.

“Centenary has a long and proud reputation for men’s wrestling, producing many national qualifiers and All-Americans,” Haller noted. “We anticipate that the University’s new women’s program will follow in that proud tradition.”


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township.