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Colorado Mesa University adds women’s wrestling team

Colorado Mesa University today announced the addition of women's wrestling to its portfolio of 28 varsity teams that compete at the Division II level. The Mavericks will field an all-female team beginning fall 2018.

CMU is the first university in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference to institute a varsity women’s wrestling program, one of only 15 in the West and fewer than 50 who offer the program in the U.S.

“We believe in the transformative power of athletics to propel women into positions of power in the future,” said CMU President Tim Foster.

In fact, 96 percent of women who are senior managers and executives played sports at some level during their education according to an Ernst and Young survey.

“We know that the leadership skills, confidence and self-esteem gained as a student-athlete have a powerful impact on young women long after their time as student-athletes is finished. We’re in this for the long-game,” Foster said.

The addition of a women’s team marks a new era for one of CMU’s longest standing sports programs. Initiated in 1939, CMU grapplers won nine conference championships from 1947 to 1988. The program was dropped in 1992, reinstated in 2006 and, in 2015, James Martinez earned CMU’s first NCAA national championship.

“As Mavericks, we pride ourselves on not settling for the status quo,” said Kris Mort, athletic co-director and senior woman administrator at CMU.

“The addition of women’s wrestling enables CMU to continue to be a leader in higher education and Division II athletics,” Mort said.

The addition of the women’s program will not affect the existing men’s program.

“We are and will become an even more sought-after wrestling program by diversifying our program and offering a female team that provides access and opportunities to young women that few other colleges do,” said Chuck Pipher, head men’s wrestling coach. “I am thrilled for this expansion of our program and the growth of popularity of a sport I dearly love,” he said.

A search for the inaugural head coach opened February 28.