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Centenary University to launch new NCAA DIII Women’s Wrestling program

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

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) —Centenary University Thursday 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,” said 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., said 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,” Miller said.

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 said. “We anticipate that the University’s new women’s program will follow in that proud tradition.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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