NCAA Division III Univ. from Dubuque, Iowa adds women’s wrestling; World champion and Hall of Famer Dennis Hall named coach

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DUBUQUE, Iowa- University of Dubuque President Jeffrey Bullock, PhD announced the addition of women’s wrestling as a varsity sport beginning in 2023-24. UD joins Buena Vista University, Central College, Simpson College and Wartburg College who have all announced the addition of women’s wrestling to the American Rivers Conference.

“Women’s wrestling is an emerging sport in Iowa and across the country. The University of Dubuque is thrilled to announce the addition of collegiate women’s wrestling to UD Spartans Athletics,” said Bullock. “The University welcomes three-time Olympian and former world champion, Dennis room, for being the first female head wrestling coach in the school’s 170-year history. We look forward to opportunities for our student-athletes to excel and grow not only in the classroom, but on the mat as well.”

Women’s wrestling is UD’s 23rd varsity sport, and Iowa is one of 34 states that offer women’s wrestling in high school. Announced as an emerging sport by the NCAA in 2020, and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) voted unanimously to sanction women’s wrestling as the organization’s 11th sport in 2022.

The first IGHSAU-sanctioned season will be offered in the 2022-23 school year. The state wrestling tournament will tentatively take place February 2-3 at the Xtream Arena in Coralville. Xtream Arena, which is also the new home of the IGHSAU State Volleyball Tournament, has hosted the last two Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWOCA) Girls State Wrestling Tournaments.

Most college programs compete in freestyle wrestling, which is Olympic style and can compete as an Olympian. Weight classes for colleges are: 101 lbs, 109 lbs, 116 lbs, 123 lbs, 130 lbs, 136 lbs, 143 lbs, 155 lbs, 170 lbs and 191 lbs.

Hall will serve as the women’s head coach and the men’s assistant coach. Jon McGovern will serve as the Spartans’ men’s head coach and women’s assistant coach.

“I can’t wait to start building our women’s team into a top competitive team and look forward to watching competitions across the state and country to recruit the best female student-athletes to become Spartans,” said Lobby. “It’s an exciting time for college wrestling and the American Rivers Conference and I’m thrilled to join Jon McGovern in being able to offer everyone a chance to wrestle at UD.”

Hall, a former Greco-Roman wrestler from Neosho, Wisconsin. Hall was a 10-time US National Champion, World Champion and 3-time US Olympian. He won a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Hall attended Hartford Union High School and began his career by defeating a two-time senior state champion named Mark Riggs in the state finals as a rookie. Hall finished his prep career with a 146-1-1 record, including 110 bowling and three individual Wisconsin State titles. During his high school years, he was also a three-time Greco Junior National Champion and a member of the World Team. He was Wisconsin’s first All-American Dream Team.

Hall was named USA Wrestling Man of the Year in 1995 as well as three-time Greco-Roman Athlete of the Year in 1994, 1995, and 1996. In 2011, Hall was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member.

Women’s wrestling prospects interested in learning more about attending Dubuque University and the possibility of being part of the Spartan women’s wrestling team should contact the admissions office at [email protected] or (563) 589 -3000.

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