Walnut Ridge, Ark. - The wrestling program at Williams Baptist College is about to expand. WBC's athletic department has announced the addition of Greco-Roman wrestling as an intercollegiate sport, beginning next fall.
"We are excited to build on the success we have enjoyed with wrestling at Williams, and Greco-Roman will provide an opportunity for 30 student-athletes to participate in a sport they love while they are attending Williams Baptist College. We look forward to getting a head coach in place and welcoming this new group of athletes to the Williams campus," said Athletic Director Jeff Rider.
Greco-Roman wrestling is one of two wrestling styles contested in the Olympics, and it is especially popular with wrestlers who aspire to compete at the Olympic level.
It differs from the standard collegiate form of wrestling, which is known as folk-style wrestling. The most notable distinction is that the Greco-Roman style restricts athletes to upper body techniques and does not allow grabbing below the waist or attacks with the legs.
Greco-Roman wrestling at Williams will function as an intercollegiate sport, separate from WBC's varsity wrestling team. While the WBC Greco-Roman squad will compete against other colleges, the style is not currently sanctioned as a varsity sport in the American Midwest Conference or the NAIA.
Williams added varsity wrestling in 2014 and has seen immediate success. In its two years of existence, the program has grown to over 40 wrestlers. The team has had three All-Americans and finished the 2015-16 season ranked in the NAIA polls.
Rider credited WBC wrestling Head Coach Kerry Regner with having the idea to start Greco-Roman at WBC and with helping guide the development process.
"The benefits for our existing wrestling program will be great," said Regner. "There is a specific niche to Greco-Roman wrestling that lends itself to success in all styles of wrestling, and our collegiate team will be exposed to these techniques. Though the teams will remain separate, it is a great step for not just Williams, but also for USA Greco-Roman wrestling."
Williams is currently seeking applicants for a head coach of the Greco-Roman wrestling team. More information can be found at www.williamsbaptistcollege.com/employment.
For all WBC athletic news, go to www.wbceagles.com.