How to wrestle in college as a female athlete

By Jessica Medina, Team USA wrestler | March 10, 2017, 12:36 p.m. (ET)
This is your guide to becoming a collegiate female wrestler. Included is a list of programs, clubs, and training sites. You will also find general questions and a plan of action to take as you find the best college for you.

“Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports at the scholastic and collegiate levels. The NWCA is committed to growing women’s wrestling from the grassroots level to the colleges. The NWCA is currently in the process of pursing emerging sports status for women’s wrestling in the NCAA. “- National Wrestling Coaches Association

Key Points:
• Most women’s college programs compete in Freestyle Wrestling which is the Olympic Style.
• There are opportunities for athletic and academic scholarships depending on the institution.
• Since Freestyle Wrestling is an Olympic sport, college athletes can compete at Senior level open tournaments and qualify to represent Team USA at various levels.
• For more information check out
• Check out these stats on college wrestling and scholarship opportunities


1. WCWA- Women’s College Wrestling Association Attached is a list of the programs and contacts.

The members in the WCWA are comprised of NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA schools.
These programs are governed by WCWA and still adhere to the institution’s regulations. See links to rules and regulations.

Key points about WCWA:
• There are currently over 30 programs.
• Umpqua CC (OR) and University of Great Falls (MT) are to be added 2017-18 season
• Female partners/ practices
• Athletic scholarships available
• College funds the tournaments
• Can compete at USAW tournaments
• Weight classes:
a. College season: (Lbs) 101, 109, 116, 123, 130, 136, 143, 155, 170, 191
b. USAW: (Kgs) 48, 53, 55, 58, 60, 63, 69, 75

2. NCWA- National Collegiate Wrestling Association
These programs do not have a varsity women’s team instead they have club teams. This may be an option if you are pursuing your academic career at a specific institution and will allow the athlete to compete part time.

Provided Below is the “2016-2017 NCWA Plan; Rules, Policies and Regulations”

Links to list of members of the NCWA, rankings and FAQ

Key Points about NCWA:
• Contact club for inquires on current roster
• Limited competition schedule (Folkstyle)
• National Folkstyle Tournament
• Can compete at USAW tournaments (Freestyle)
• Female partners and practices
• Funding for various tournaments
• Weight classes: (Lbs) 101, 109, 116, 130, 136, 143, 155, 170, 191 (on pg 15 of Wrestling Plan)

3. U Sports- University sport in Canada Attached is a list of the programs and contacts.
Another option for female wrestlers is to attend a Canadian University. This would require obtaining a student visa and you would still be eligible to compete at USAW sanctioned events.

Key points about U Sports:
• As of 2016, 16 programs participated at the college national championships.
• Athletic scholarships are available
• Female partners/practices
• Some programs are members of the WCWA (see WCWA list)

4. RTC – Regional Training Center
USA Wrestling has provided opportunities for athletes to train Freestyle or Greco at various universities and colleges to help promote Olympic style wrestling in the U.S.

• The athlete must meet the criteria posted on USAW’s website.
• Most locations only have male athletes but women are welcome to train at these sites if they meet the criteria.
• Currently there are 2 sites that have women in the program. (ASU and U of Iowa)
• The link provided below is a list of locations with RTC’s.
• Contact the coach and communicate options for a female athlete at their site.
• No wrestling scholarships available.
• Male/Female practices and partners.
• Funding for competitions varies with each program and should be discussed.
• Eligible for USAW sanctioned events.

5. USOTC- United States Olympic Training Center- Colorado Springs
Athletes must submit an application to the national team coach for evaluation. Athletes train full time year round in Freestyle Wrestling.
National Team Coach: Terry Steiner Email:

• On site and off site residents have access to facilities and resources offered on campus.
• Facility Use is also an option that would grant an athlete access to training facilities and practices.
• UCCS and Colorado College are the local colleges in the area. If admitted into the program in-state tuition is granted to the athlete.
• Online Education is another option that is more flexible with training and competition schedule. Also, Devry is a sponsor of Olympic athletes and residents.
• Female partners and practices.
• No funding for competitions
• No wrestling scholarships available.
• Cannot compete in WCWA events, however, eligible for USAW age specific tournaments. I.e. University Nationals

6. What if you graduated high school and still want to wrestle? What if you are a transfer student? It is not too late!
• Bring your grades up, check if the classes would transfer to any of the colleges in the WCWA or NCWA.
• Bring up ACT and SAT scores.
• Stay in shape; find local clubs, MMA gyms, wrestling schools.
• Contact coaches and review future options.
• These athletes can compete in open tournaments and Senior USAW events.
• Apply for grants and scholarships in the meantime
• Another option would be to start a club at the intuition you attend by contacting the director of the NCWA. See rules and regulations of NCWA.
Contact Jim Giunta:

After evaluating options 1-6 every athlete will need to follow these next steps.


1. Questions to answer for each Institution
• Visit the College/University homepage
• What degrees, majors, minors, and classes do they offer?
• Do they line up with any of your interests?
• How much is tuition? Room and board? (In state and out of state)
• What is the cost to live off campus?
• Do you qualify for In-state tuition?
• How many matches do 1st string and 2nd string athletes get per season?
• Where would you potentially fit in the lineup?
• Do their programs goals line up with your goals as a student athlete?
• In case of injury during the season, will your scholarship be altered?
• What are the requirements?
 Essays

ACT testing- SAT testing-
• Start prepping early
• Take the tests multiple times for best results
• Some schools qualify for fee waivers. Ask your counselor!
• If you are income eligible (low income), you may qualify for a Test Fee Waiver. These will also you to apply to up to 4 colleges for free.

3. Get your FAFSA done ASAP!
What: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the government’s assessment of: a percentage of parent’s income and assets divided by number of kids in college plus a percentage of the applicant’s income and assets. This has to be done EVERY year.
When: October 1st-June 30th
Why: Getting your FAFSA submitted will help institutions and coaches put together a package of scholarships, grants, work study and other financial aid needed.

4. Submit your application
• Submit applications to the colleges you are interested in.
• Do not procrastinate and meet the deadlines.
• Utilize the “Recruit Me” button that is available on some websites.
• If you are a junior or senior, send an email letting the coach know you have submitted an application.

5. Important tournaments to attend

A. Girls State Tournament if available
• Current Sanctioned states by NFHS: HI, OR, MA, AK, WA, CA, TX and TN.
• Other states with non-sanctioned state tournament; AZ, IL, CO, FL, WI, KS, OR, MA… and more states are adding tournament to gauge participation numbers.

B. Girls Age Group National Tournament (formerly known as Body Bar)
• Cadet World Team Trials
• Junior World Team Trials
• School Girl Pan Am Trials

C. USAW Folkstyle Nationals (Oklahoma)

• A college fair is held at this event where athletes, parents, and coaches can receive information and meet the college coaches.

D. USAW Fargo Nationals (North Dakota)
• Freestyle tournament held annually in July
• Check with the director of your state for qualifications

E. If you cannot attend any of these tournaments
• Make a private YouTube channel of matches/highlights
• Assemble a video on a flash drive or DVD
• Make these resources available to the college coaches.

6. How to make the best Decision?
Which offer is the best? Evaluate each offer:
• Tuition cost – scholarship – grants – financial aid (excluding loans)
= what you’re responsible for
• How closely do they align with your academic goals, athletic goals and cost?
• Meet with the coach to determine if their coaching philosophy meshes with your athletic philosophy. Some coaches use positive reinforcement while others have a more aggressive coaching style. Know yourself and how you respond to each coaching style will help alleviate any challenges or stress in the future.
Timing is everything! Do not make a hasty decision. Do not allow anyone to pressure you to sign a contract if you’re not ready!
• Ask your parents, coaches, teacher, mentors, high school counselors for advice and questions.
• Ask former alumni, current college wrestlers.
Visit the college/university!! Some programs will cover costs. Talk to the coach for details.
• Time to commit! When it’s time to meet a deadline you can commit to a decision and begin planning for your future!

7. Other grants and scholarships
• There is free money out there! Start applying for them
• When? Start early- freshman and throughout HS and even while you are in college!
• Merit scholarships- performance based, not income based
• Need based scholarships- low income
• WHY apply? You will build your writing skills, increase your opportunities of winning money for school and you may be able to use these essays for your college applications!
• Resources and links to scholarships:

WCWA Programs 2017

Kelly Perry Email: Phone: 405- 626-8249

Adrian College, NCAA Div. III (MI)**
Head Coach: Bill Schindel
Email: Phone: 517-265-5161, ext 5018

Bacone College, NAIA (OK)
Head Coach: Brett Oleson
Email: Phone: 918-685-0650
Assistant Coach: Geneva Gray
Email: Phone: 918-360-2808

Brewton Parker College, NAIA (GA)
Head Coach: Brittany Gadd

Campbellsville University, NAIA (KY)
Head Coach: Lee Miracle
Email: Phone: 270-789-5123

Eastern Oregon University, NAIA (OR)
Head Coach: Dustyn Azure
Email: Phone: 541-962-3558

Emmanuel College, NCAA Div. II (GA)
Head Coach: Link Davis
Email: Phone: 918-520-6319

Ferrum College, NCAA Div. III (VA) **
Interim Head Coach: Ryan Riggs
Email: Phone: 540- 365-4284

Grays Harbor College, NJCAA (WA) also apart of NCWA
Head Coach: Andrew Cook
Email: Phone: 253-229-3555

King University, NCAA Div. II (TN)
Head coach: Jason Moorman
Email: Phone: 423-652-6346
Assistant coach: Julia Salata
Email: Phone: 423-652-6025

Lafayette College, NCAA I (PA) **
Head Coach: John Piper

Life University, NAIA (GA)
Head Coach: Ashley Sword-Buster

Lindenwood University-Belleville, NAIA (IL)
Head Coach: Angelo Crinzi
Email: Phone: 618-239-6281

Lindenwood University - St. Charles, NCAA Div. II (MO)
Assistant Coach: Brittany David
Phone: 925-813-9024

Lyon College, NAIA (AR)
Head Coach: Kevin Corbett
Email: Phone: 870-307-7249

MacMurray College, NCAA Div. III (IL)**
Head Coach: Peter Di Pol
Email: Phone: 217-479-7149
Assistant Coach: Randi Miller Email:

McKendree University, NCAA Div. II (IL)
Head Coach: Sam Schmitz
Email: Phone: 618-537-6947
Assistant Coach: Michaela Hutchison Email:

Menlo College, NAIA (CA) **
Head Coach: Joey Bareng
Email: Phone: 650-543-3778

Midland University, NAIA (NE) also apart of NCWA
Head Coach: Beau Vest
Email: Phone: 402-941-6320
Assistant Coach: Antonio Barber Email:

Missouri Baptist University, NAIA (MO)
Head Coach: Brian Jackson
Email: Phone: 314- 744-5317

Missouri Valley College, NAIA (MO)
Head Coach: Carl Murphree
Email: Phone: 660- 831-4090

Nassau Community College, NJCAA (NY)
Head Coach: Ty Scarlett

Oklahoma City University, NAIA (OK)
Head Coach: Matt Stevens
Email: Phone: 405- 606-4826

Ottawa University, NAIA (KS) *** also apart of NCWA
Head Coach: Mahdi Bigdely
Email: Phone: 785-248-2641

Pacific University, NCAA Div. III (OR) **
Head Coach: Severin Walsh
Phone: 503-352-2827

Simon Fraser University, NCAA Div. II, (BC, Canada)
Head Coach: Justin Abdou

Southern Oregon University, NAIA (OR)
Head Coach: Tony Champion
Email: Phone: 816-506-4508

Southwest Oregon CC, NJCAA (OR) also apart of NCWA
Head Coach: Josh White
Email: Phone: 541-761-0786

University of Jamestown, NAIA (ND)
Head Coach:Tony DeAnda
Assistant Coach: Danyelle DeAnda Email:

University of the Cumberlands, NAIA (KY)
Head Coach: Donnie Stephens
Email: Phone: 606-539-4511
Assistant Coach: Lorrie-Ann Ramos Email:
Assistant Coach: Shirley Stephens Email:

Waldorf College, NAIA (IA)
Head Coach: Tyreece Gilder
Email: Phone: 641-585-8595
Assistant Coach: Jessica Fresh Email:

Warner Pacific University, NAIA (OR)
Head Coach: Frank Johnson
Email: Phone: 503-734-6463

Wayland Baptist University, NAIA (TX)
Head Coach: Aaron Meister
Email: Phone: 806-291-3845
Assistant Coach: Chad Cook
Email: Phone: 806-291-3846

Wentworth Military Academy, NJCAA/USCAA (MO)
Head Coach: Shane Reickard
Email: Phone: 660-259-6051
Associate Head Coach: Don Schriemann Email:


Canadian College Programs

Brock University, ON
Head Coach: Marty Calder
Email: Phone: 905-688-5550 ext 4758

University of Calgary, AB
Head Coach: Mitch Otsberg
Email: Phone: 403-220-8677

University of Guelph, ON
Head Coach: Doug Cox

University of Saskatchewan, SK
Head Coach: Daniel Olver

University of Regina, SK
Head Coach: Leo McGee
Email: Phone: 306-585-4067

University of Alberta, AB
Head Coach: Owen Dawkins

University of New Brunswick, NB
Head Coach: Don Ryan
Email: Phone: 505-453-5191

University of Winnipeg, Manitoba MB
Head Coach: Adrian Bruce
Email: Phone: 204-230-4236

Concordia University, QC
Head Coach: Victor Zilverman
Email: Phone: 514-848-2424 ext 3863

Lakehead University, ON
Head Coach: Francis Clayton
Email: Phone: 807-343-8513

University of Western Ontario, ON
Head Coach: Ray Takahashi
Email: Phone: 519-661-2111 ext 85078

McMaster University, ON
Head Coach: Nick Cipriano

Queen’s University, ON
Head Coach: Gianni Vecchio
Email: Phone: 613-533-6000 ext 78860

York University, ON
Head Coach: Eamonn Dorgan

University of Toronto, ON
Head Coach: Michael Quinsey
Email: Phone: 416-880-3417

Laurentian University, ON
Head Coach: Joe Greer

Simon Fraser University, NCAA Div. II, (BC, Canada) Member of WCWA
Head Coach: Justin Abdou