INDIANAPOLIS – The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) will increase its sports sponsorship from 20 to 21 with the inclusion of men’s wrestling beginning in 2016-17, it was announced today by the Conference office. The addition of the league’s 21st sport was formally approved on May 25 by the GLVC Council of Presidents.
Seven member institutions will vie for the inaugural GLVC Championship next February, including Bellarmine University, Drury University, University of Indianapolis, Maryville University, McKendree University, Truman State University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
“The Great Lakes Valley Conference is pleased to expand our sports sponsorship with the addition of men’s wrestling for the upcoming 2016-17 academic year,” said GLVC Commissioner Jim Naumovich. “We are excited to provide the wrestling student-athletes in the league the opportunity to compete for a GLVC Championship and provide a conference home for the seven institutions that sponsor the sport.”
The GLVC begins its sport sponsorship with a significant amount of momentum. In November 2015, Drury announced its intention to sponsor wrestling starting with the 2016-17 school year, which at that time gave the GLVC the minimum six programs required by the NCAA to apply for sport sponsorship. Following the league’s formal vote on sport sponsorship in May, Bellarmine announced June 14 that it would absorb the former Saint Catharine College (NAIA) team, bringing the GLVC’s wrestling member to seven.
From a competition standpoint, GLVC members have excelled on the mat in recent years. At the 2016 NCAA Division II Championships, Maryville paced Conference members with a fifth-place finish, followed by UW-Parkside and McKendree in seventh and eighth, respectively, while Indianapolis placed 13th. Additionally, GLVC wrestlers claimed two of the 10 weight-class titles, as McKendree sophomore Darren Wynn earned the NCAA crown at 141 pounds and UW-Parkside redshirt sophomore Nick Becker placed first at 174 pounds. Becker was honored as the Midwest Region Wrestler of the Year by the Division II Wrestling Coaches Association following the national meet.
Maryville, which has spent several weeks at the No. 1 spot of the NCAA Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association poll in recent years, earned its second consecutive third-place finish at the 2015 NCAA DII Championships, while McKendree was seventh and UIndy was 24th. The Greyhounds were eighth overall and McKendree was 10th joining third-place Maryville at the 2014 event.
Overall, UW-Parkside has claimed four NCAA individual titles, followed by Truman State (2), Indianapolis (1), Maryville (1), and McKendree (1).
The 2016-17 schedule will be announced at a later date, however GLVC competition is expected to take place over a three-week period in January and February. The GLVC Champion shall be decided upon by winning percentage of league matches only. There will not be a postseason tournament.
For more information on GLVC wrestling, stay tuned online at GLVCsports.com and @GLVCsports on Twitter throughout the summer.