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York College of Nebraska adds women's varsity wrestling program

By York College | Nov. 01, 2017, 3:31 p.m. (ET)

YORK - York College has announced that it is expanding the wrestling program to include collegiate competition for women, starting with the fall 2018 season.

York College men's wrestling has developed a national reputation as a strong NAIA team with numerous student-athletes finishing as All-Americans and a team that has had a presence in the top 25 of the NAIA. The new program will build on York College's reputation for excellence in wrestling, while expanding offerings for female representation in the sport.

Women's wrestling has experienced notable growth nationally and within the Midwest at the high school level, but colleges and universities have been slow to respond to the demand for next-level women's wrestling opportunities. The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference is an NAIA leader in the sport. Currently the conference has two member schools who compete, and with associate members, host a conference championship.

The statistics for the amount of participants on the high school level, especially when compared to the scarcity of collegiate programs, indicates an opportunity for York College to differentiate its offerings and provide a home for many new female athletes.

Jeff Albers, who currently serves as an assistant in the men's wrestling program at YC, will take the lead as head coach of the women's side.

"Coach Albers has established himself as a person of character that we can trust to build this side of our wrestling program," said Jared Stark, vice president for enrollment and athletics at YC. "Jeff is faithful to Jesus and an incredibly hard-working person. Furthermore he has the right level of motivation to make an impact on this level of collegiate wrestling. He is extremely knowledgeable in the sport of wrestling, communicates well with college students, and has a recruiting network that will generate interest at York College."

Recruiting and planning for women's wrestling will begin immediately and Coach Albers is excited about the role.

Albers said, "I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to be the first women's wrestling coach at York College. I look forward to helping these young women be the best they can be on and off the mat."

Stark said, "In the end, what we want to do is to expand the atmosphere of York College to as many people as possible. We believe that York College transforms lives, and positively impacting student-athletes is an enormous part of what we do. By expanding the wrestling program to include collegiate competition for women, we will open the the door for additional students to experience YC in a profound way."

Mike Moyer, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, was very excited to hear the news, ""On behalf of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the York College (Nebraska) administration for their extraordinary leadership and vision in establishing an intercollegiate women's wrestling program. This will be our 39th varsity women's program that has been added and it provides even more incentive for other colleges to follow."

About Coach Albers
Jeff Albers is in his first year as assistant coach for the men's wrestling team. Coach Albers was a high school state champion from Blackwell, Oklahoma. He was also a two-time freestyle state champion in Oklahoma and part of the 1998 and 1999 national freestyle championship team. He was a two year starter at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kansas, in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, Coach Albers was a graduate assistant coach at Labette Community College. Coach Albers was also an assistant coach at Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh, Kansas, for eight years (2007-2015), where he coached several state champions and a state runner-up team. Coach Albers had the privilege of coaching several women while at Shawnee Heights; one of them went on to win a state and national title after Albers had left to come to York College. Coach Albers returned to competition in 2015 to finish his wrestling career at York College at the age of 35. He was a two year starter for York College and graduated from York College in May 2017.