Des Moines to host 2014 NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals on January 11-12
Hyvee Hall, located next to the Wells Fargo Arena, hosted the NCAA Fan Fest at the 2013 NCAA Division I championships.
“We believe having this event back in Iowa isn’t just a statement of how well fans in the Midwest care about wrestling, but it’s also a statement of how much the city of Des Moines loves wrestling,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer.
“After last year’s NCAA Division I championships at the Wells Fargo Arena, I don’t think anyone can question the passion of wrestling fans in Iowa,” he said.
The event was held in Springfield, Ill., the past two years and returns to Iowa. The event was previously held along with the Division I teams in an 18-mat festival of wrestling at the UNI-Dome at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
“Having the event in Iowa has always been a positive for the schools outside of Division I,” said Moyer. “There’s a large collection of teams within a reasonable distance and the Iowa Conference is probably the premier wrestling conference in Division III.”
“We’re elated to host such passionate athletes, coaches and fans in Des Moines,” said Greg Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “With the city’s excellent community support, elite venues and outstanding fan base, Greater Des Moines embraces wrestling.”
The Division II field will feature four of the nation’s top five teams, including fifth-ranked St. Cloud State, which has won the event the last two years. Currently, the Huskies are riding a 52-match win streak, the longest in Division II wrestling history.
They’ll be challenged by one of the new kids on the Division II wrestling block, top-ranked Notre Dame College. The Falcons were third at least year’s NCAA Division II championships and lost 17-15 to St. Cloud State in last year’s final.
Third-ranked Central Oklahoma will return. The Bronchos and coach David James finished third last season.
Other ranked teams in the field include Ouachita Baptist, Indianapolis, Kutztown, Upper Iowa, Maryville, Minnesota State-Mankato and Lake Erie. Overall, 11 of the 16 teams are ranked by the NWCA Division II Coaches Association.
Also competing are Colorado State-Pueblo, Findlay, Fort Hays State, Truman State and UW-Parkside.
Wartburg topped Elmhurst in last year’s Division III final and the Knights will try to win the first title for Eric Keller, who fully assumed the head coaching position from now-retired Jim Miller. Keller was the co-head coach for Wartburg’s last few titles.
In Division III, 12 of the nation’s Top 25 teams will be in the field, led by No. 1 Wartburg and No. 2 Augsburg. Wilkes, Coe, Concordia-Moorhead and Wabash make it six of the nation’s Top 10. Also in the field are ranked teams: UW-La Crosse, Luther, UW-Whitewater, St. John’s, Mount Union and Springfield.
Centenary, Elmhurst, Loras and NYU round out the field.
In the NAIA, top-ranked Grand View will try to make it three in a row as Nick Mitchell’s Vikings have been juggernauts the two years, winning both the National Duals and the NAIA National Championships.
The Vikings will have a stiff challenge to defend the championship as 14 of the 16 teams in the NAIA field are ranked in the Top 20, including seven of the Top 10. Second-ranked Montana State-Northern has seen a resurgence in its program, as has third-ranked Missouri Valley.
Fourth-ranked Campbellsville and fifth-ranked Great Falls makes five of the top five teams in the mix
Other ranked teams competing are: Lindsey Wilson, Cumberland U., Midland, Indiana Tech, Baker, York, Wayland Baptist, Oklahoma City and Morningside. Also competing are Missouri Baptist and Dickinson State.
The NJCAA portion of the National Duals has been expanded to 16 teams. Last year, Labette won the title beating Colby 39-3 in the final.
All 16 teams in the field are ranked in the nation’s top 30 by the NJCAA, including four of the top five teams in the nation.
Northwest College of Wyoming is coming in ranked second, while NIACC is third, Clackamas is fourth and Lincoln College is fifth.
Rounding out teams in the top 10: Nassau, Ellsworth, Iowa Western, Muskegon and Neosho. Also competing: Western Wyoming, Rochester, Colby, Southwestern Oregon, Harper, Iowa Central and Labette.
“Whenever we get the opportunity to include more teams, it’s just a win-win for the wrestlers, coaches and fans,” said Moyer. “The junior college programs are starting to get more support, but now the entire division has shown they want to compete on this stage and it’ll continue to be positive, since we’ve seen growth in the NJCAA with new programs as well,” said Moyer.
Twelve women’s college teams will participate, making it the largest field for the WCWA portion of the National Duals.
Oklahoma City’s run of National Duals championships was ended last year by Simon Fraser, a school with NCAA Division II athletics in Burnaby, British Columbia in Canada.
The Clan come back ranked second in the WCWA in the most recent dual meet rankings. Top-ranked King University is eyeing its first WCWA duals title. All 12 teams in the field are the top 12 teams ranked in the country.
First-year programs at McKendree and Campbellsville will also make their debut.
Competing teams: King, Simon Fraser, Oklahoma City, Wayland Baptist, Lindenwood, Missouri Baptist, University of the Cumberlands, McKendree, Midland, Campbellsville and Waldorf.
“We’re seeing tremendous growth in schools willing to offer women’s wrestling as a varsity sport,” said Moyer. “The NAIA recently added more women’s teams, giving them enough to move toward sanctioning the sport. There’s also been additions by Division II teams. This bolsters a growing aspect of our sport to give women more opportunities to wrestle in college.”
Wrestling will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 11 and conclude with the finals on Sunday, January 12 at 3 p.m.
For the full schedule of events, click here.
The event will be streamed live on Flowrestling. Fans can access the stream or sign up by clicking this link: http://livecoverage.flowrestling.org/account/login?id=93
About the NWCA
Founded in 1928, the NWCA strives to promote and provide leadership for the advancement of amateur wrestling, primarily at the scholastic and collegiate levels. The association is headquartered in Manheim Pa. The three core competencies are coaching development, student-wrestler welfare, and promotion/advocacy. The NWCA has 10,000 members and educational programs that serve 230,000 students each year.
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