Alma Adds Wrestling, Bowling as Varsity Sports
New opportunities for learning and competition await both new and current students as Alma College expands its academic and athletic offerings.
Earlier this year, Alma announced the addition of new integrated science majors in biotechnology, health care administration and environmental studies along with the sponsorship of women’s and men’s lacrosse as varsity sports.
Most recently, the College has launched searches for coaches to develop new intercollegiate varsity programs for men’s wrestling and women’s bowling.
Alma College wrestling teams were among the best in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in the 1980s.
The addition of men’s wrestling and women’s bowling, along with women’s and men’s lacrosse, increases the number of varsity sports at Alma College from 18 to 22 — 11 for women and 11 for men. The new sports programs are expected to start competition in 2011-12 pending the successful hiring of coaches to develop the programs.
“Wrestling and bowling have the highest high school participation rates in Michigan of those sports that Alma College has not previously sponsored,” says Alma College Athletics Director John Leister. “Both sports are significantly under-represented at the college level. Adding these new sports programs will provide opportunities for students to maximize their college experience at Alma.”
More than 450 high schools in Michigan offer varsity wrestling, with approximately 11,300 participants in 2010, along with approximately 45,000 high school wrestlers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
Bowling is sponsored by more than 300 high schools in Michigan. High school girls bowling set a high participation mark in Michigan in 2010 with more than 2,900 participants, according to data from the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
Alma College has a wrestling legacy, with varsity teams competing through 1984. The 1980-81, 1981-82 and 1982-83 wrestling teams won consecutive league titles and are members of the Alma College Athletics Hall of Fame. Students and alumni have expressed interested in offering wrestling as a varsity sport again, says Leister.
Alma College, an NCAA Division III member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, currently sponsors varsity men’s teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field; and varsity women’s teams in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.
More than one-third of Alma students typically participate in intercollegiate athletics, and as many as 50 percent of all new students consider playing a sport, says Leister.
Posted: Tue, January 18th, 2011 at 4:44PM