MOSES LAKE — Wrestling fans across the Basin will have a collegiate program to root for this upcoming school year.
Big Bend Community College will resurrect its wrestling program — for men and women — for the 2018-19 school year. Wrestling was last active at Big Bend during the 1994-95 season.
Athletic director Mark Poth said the idea started to gain traction about five months ago.
“We felt that at this point we could add wrestling and build on it,” he said.
The plan is to begin a search for a head coach this week. Poth said the staff will depend on the amount of wrestlers recruited, but the ultimate goal is to have a head coach and assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s programs. About 30 wrestlers is the goal for this summer, with eventual roster sizes of 25-30 for each program.
The Columbia Basin is a wrestling hotbed with successful high school programs for boys and girls alike. However, options for high school wrestlers after graduation, especially girls, has dwindled over the years.
Insert Big Bend.
“I think there’s a huge potential there for women in wrestling,” Poth said.
The talent pool for women’s wrestling is deep with multiple state championships residing in Warden, a recently dominant Othello program, and Ephrata and Quincy that consistently crank out competitive individuals.
These additions do not affect Big Bend’s President’s Cup status. Big Bend will still be a member of the Dick McLain Division, which features schools with between one and seven sports, since wrestling will not be sanctioned by the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).
Both programs will compete in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA), while the women will also be able to compete in the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA), The WCWA focuses on freestyle as opposed to folk style in the NCWA.
Other community colleges, such as North Idaho, compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Poth did not dismiss an eventual move for the men’s program.
“In the future we’ll continue to evaluate,” he said.