How to Wrestle in College as a Female Athlete

By: Jessica Medina, USA Wrestling Athlete

This is your guide to becoming a collegiate female wrestler. Included is a list of programs, clubs, and training sites. You will also find general questions and a plan of action to take as you find the best college for you.

Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports at the scholastic and collegiate levels. The NWCA is committed to growing women’s wrestling from the grassroots level to the colleges. The NWCA is currently in the process of pursing emerging sports status for women’s wrestling in the NCAA. “- National Wrestling Coaches Association

Key Points:

Part I- Programs and clubs

1.     WCWA- Women’s College Wrestling Association Attached is a list of the programs and contacts.

The members in the WCWA are comprised of NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA schools.

These programs are governed by WCWA and still adhere to the institution’s regulations. See links to rules and regulations.

Key points about WCWA:

  • There are currently over 30 programs.  
  • Umpqua CC (OR) and University of Great Falls (MT) are to be added 2017-18 season
  • Female partners/ practices
  • Athletic scholarships available
  • College funds the tournaments
  • Can compete at USAW tournaments  
  • Weight classes:
    • College season: (Lbs)  101, 109, 116, 123, 130, 136, 143, 155, 170, 191
    • USAW: (Kgs) 48, 53, 55, 58, 60, 63, 69, 75

2.    NCWA- National Collegiate Wrestling Association

These programs do not have a varsity women’s team instead they have club teams. This may be an option if you are pursuing your academic career at a specific institution and will allow the athlete to compete part time.  Provided Below is the “2016-2017 NCWA Plan; Rules, Policies and Regulations”

Links to list of members of the NCWA, rankings and FAQ

Key Points about NCWA:

  • Contact club for inquires on current roster
  • Limited competition schedule (Folkstyle)
  • National Folkstyle Tournament
  • Can compete at USAW tournaments (Freestyle)
  • Female partners and practices
  • Funding for various tournaments
  • Weight classes: (Lbs) 101, 109, 116, 130, 136, 143, 155, 170, 191 (on pg 15 of Wrestling Plan)

3.     U Sports- University sport in Canada  Attached is a list of the programs and contacts.

Another option for female wrestlers is to attend a Canadian University. This would require obtaining a student visa and you would still be eligible to compete at USAW sanctioned events.

Key points about U Sports:

  • As of 2016, 16 programs participated at the college national championships.
  • Athletic scholarships are available
  • Female partners/practices
  • Some programs are members of the WCWA (see WCWA list)

4.     RTC – Regional Training Center

USA Wrestling has provided opportunities for athletes to train Freestyle or Greco at various universities and colleges to help promote Olympic style wrestling in the U.S.  

  • The athlete must meet the criteria posted on USAW’s website.
  • Most locations only have male athletes but women are welcome to train at these sites if they meet the criteria.
  • Currently there are 2 sites that have women in the program. (ASU and U of Iowa)
  • The link provided below is a list of locations with RTC’s.

  • Contact the coach and communicate options for a female athlete at their site.
  • No wrestling scholarships available.
  • Male/Female practices and partners.
  • Funding for competitions varies with each program and should be discussed.
  • Eligible for USAW sanctioned events.

5.     USOTC- United States Olympic Training Center- Colorado Springs

Athletes must submit an application to the national team coach for evaluation.  Athletes train full time year round in Freestyle Wrestling.

National Team Coach: Terry Steiner      Email:  

  • On site and off site residents have access to facilities and resources offered on campus.
  • Facility Use is also an option that would grant an athlete access to training facilities and practices.
  • UCCS and Colorado College are the local colleges in the area. If admitted into the program in-state tuition is granted to the athlete.
  • Online Education is another option that is more flexible with training and competition schedule. Also, Devry is a sponsor of Olympic athletes and residents.
  • Female partners and practices.
  • No funding for competitions
  • No wrestling scholarships available.
  • Cannot compete in WCWA events, however, eligible for USAW age specific tournaments. I.e. University Nationals

6.     What if you graduated high school and still want to wrestle? What if you are a transfer student? It is not too late!

  • Bring your grades up, check if the classes would transfer to any of the colleges in the WCWA or NCWA.
  • Bring up ACT and SAT scores.
  • Stay in shape; find local clubs, MMA gyms, wrestling schools.
  • Contact coaches and review future options.
  • These athletes can compete in open tournaments and Senior USAW events.
  • Apply for grants and scholarships in the meantime
  • Another option would be to start a club at the intuition you attend by contacting the director of the NCWA. See rules and regulations of NCWA. 

Contact Jim Giunta:

After evaluating options 1-6 every athlete will need to follow these next steps.

Part II

1.    Questions to answer for each Institute

  • Visit the College/University homepage
  • What degrees, majors, minors, and classes do they offer?
  • Do their programs goals line up with your goals as a student athlete?
  • Do they line up with any of your interests?
  • How much is tuition? Room and board? (In state and out of state)
  • What is the cost to live off campus?
  • Do you qualify for In-state tuition?
  • How many matches do 1st string and 2nd string athletes get per season?
  • Where would you potentially fit in the lineup?
  • In case of injury during the season, will your scholarship be altered?  
  • What are the requirements?
    • GPA
    • ACT/SAT
    • FAFSA
    • Essays

2.    SAT/ ACT

ACT testing-       SAT testing-

  • Start prepping early
  • Take the tests multiple times for best results
  • Some schools qualify for fee waivers. Ask your counselor!
  • If you are income eligible (low income), you may qualify for a Test Fee Waiver. These will also you to apply to up to 4 colleges for free.

3.    Get your FAFSA done ASAP!

What: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the government’s assessment of:  a percentage of parent’s income and assets divided by number of kids in college plus a percentage of the applicant’s income and assets. This has to be done EVERY year.

When: October 1st-June 30th


Why: Getting your FAFSA submitted will help institutions and coaches put together a package of scholarships, grants, work study and other financial aid needed.

4.    Submit your application

  • Submit applications to the colleges you are interested in.
  • Do not procrastinate and meet the deadlines.
  • Utilize the “Recruit Me” button that is available on some websites.
  • If you are a junior or senior, send an email letting the coach know you have submitted an application. 

5.    Important tournaments to attend

A.    Girls State Tournament if available

  • Current Sanctioned states by NFHS: HI, OR, MA, AK, WA, CA, TX and TN.
  • Other states with non-sanctioned state tournament; AZ, IL, CO, FL, WI, KS, OR, MA… and more states are adding tournament to gauge participation numbers.

B.    Girls Age Group National Tournament (formerly known as Body Bar)

  • Cadet World Team Trials
  • Junior World Team Trials
  • School Girl Pan Am Trials

C.     USAW Folkstyle Nationals (Oklahoma)

  • A college fair is held at this event where athletes, parents, and coaches can receive information and meet the college coaches.

D.    USAW Fargo Nationals (North Dakota)

  • Freestyle tournament held annually in July
  • Check with the director of your state for qualifications

E.     If you cannot attend any of these tournaments

  • Make a private YouTube channel of matches/highlights
  • Assemble a video on a flash drive or DVD
  • Make these resources available to the college coaches.

6.    How to make the best Decision?

Which offer is the best? Evaluate each offer:

  • Tuition cost – scholarship – grants – financial aid (excluding loans) = what you’re responsible for
  • How closely do they align with your academic goals, athletic goals and cost?
  • Meet with the coach to determine if their coaching philosophy meshes with your athletic philosophy. Some coaches use positive reinforcement while others have a more aggressive coaching style. Know yourself and how you respond to each coaching style will help alleviate any challenges or stress in the future.
  • Timing is everything! Do not make a haste decision. Do not allow anyone to pressure you to sign a contract if you’re not ready!
  • Ask your parents, coaches, teacher, mentors, high school counselors for advice and questions.
  • Ask former alumni, current college wrestlers.
  • Visit the college/university!! Some programs will cover costs. Talk to the coach for details.
  • Time to commit!  When it’s time to meet a deadline you can commit to a decision and begin planning for your future!

7.    Other grants and scholarships

  • There is free money out there! Start applying for them
  • When? Start early- freshman and throughout HS and even while you are in college!
  • Merit scholarships- performance based, not income based
  • Need based scholarships- low income
  • WHY apply? You will build your writing skills, increase your opportunities of winning money for school and you may be able to use these essays for your college applications!
  • Resources and links to scholarships:

WCWA Programs 2017


Kelly Perry    Email:          Phone: 405- 626-8249


Adrian College, NCAA Div. III (MI)**

Head Coach: Bill Schindel

Email: bschindel@adrian.eduPhone: 517-265-5161, ext 5018        


Bacone College, NAIA (OK)

            Head Coach: Brett Oleson

Email:   Phone: 918-685-0650

Assistant Coach: Geneva Gray

Email:      Phone: 918-360-2808


Brewton Parker College, NAIA (GA)

Head Coach: Brittany Gadd



Campbellsville University, NAIA (KY)

            Head Coach: Lee Miracle       

Email:      Phone: 270-789-5123



Eastern Oregon University, NAIA (OR)

            Head Coach: Dustyn Azure 

Email:   Phone: 541-962-3558


Emmanuel College, NCAA Div. II (GA)

            Head Coach: Link Davis  

Email:       Phone: 918-520-6319


Ferrum College, NCAA Div. III (VA)- **

            Interim Head Coach: Ryan Riggs

Email:       Phone: 540- 365-4284



Grays Harbor College, NJCAA (WA) also apart of NCWA

            Head Coach: Andrew Cook   

Email:      Phone: 253-229-3555


King University, NCAA Div. II (TN)

Head coach: Jason Moorman

Email:       Phone: 423-652-6346       

Assistant coach: Julia Salata

Email:               Phone: 423-652-6025   


Lafayette College, NCAA I (PA) **

            Head Coach: John Piper




Life University, NAIA (GA)

Head Coach: Ashley Sword-Buster

Email:     Phone: 405-795-2779


Lindenwood University-Belleville, NAIA (IL)

            Head Coach:  Angelo Crinzi  

Email:      Phone: 618-239-6281        


Lindenwood University - St. Charles, NCAA Div. II (MO)

Assistant Coach: Brittany David

Phone: 925-813-9024


Lyon College, NAIA (AR)

Head Coach: Tom Erikson

Email:    Phone: 870-307-7249


MacMurray College, NCAA Div. III (IL)**

Head Coach: Peter Di Pol      

Email:    Phone: 217-479-7149

Assistant Coach: Randi Miller     Email:


McKendree University, NCAA Div. II (IL)

            Head Coach: Sam Schmitz     

Email:       Phone: 618-537-6947

Assistant Coach: Michaela Hutchison   Email:


Menlo College, NAIA (CA) **

Head Coach: Joey Bareng      

Email:           Phone: 650-543-3778


Midland University, NAIA (NE)  also apart of NCWA

Head Coach: Beau Vest  

Email:        Phone: 402-941-6320

Assistant Coach: Antonio Barber        Email:


Missouri Baptist University, NAIA (MO)

Head Coach: Brian Jackson   

Email:      Phone: 314- 744-5317


Missouri Valley College, NAIA (MO)

Head Coach: Carl Murphree

Email:     Phone: 660- 831-4090   


Nassau Community College, NJCAA (NY)

            Head Coach: Ty Scarlett



Oklahoma City University, NAIA (OK)

Head Coach: Matt Stevens 

Email:     Phone: 405- 606-4826


Ottawa University, NAIA (KS) *** also apart of NCWA

Head Coach: Mahdi Bigdely

Email:     Phone: 785-248-2641


Pacific University, NCAA Div. III (OR) **

Head Coach: Severin Walsh   


Phone: 503-352-2827


Simon Fraser University, NCAA Div. II, (BC, Canada)

Head Coach: Justin Abdou 



Southern Oregon University, NAIA (OR)

Head Coach: Tony Champion

Email:          Phone: 816-506-4508


Southwest Oregon CC, NJCAA (OR)   also apart of NCWA

Head Coach: Josh White 

Email:  Phone: 541-761-0786


University of Jamestown, NAIA (ND)

Head Coach:Tony DeAnda


Assistant Coach: Danyelle DeAnda  Email:


University of the Cumberlands, NAIA (KY)

Head Coach: Donnie Stephens

Email:    Phone: 606-539-4511

Assistant Coach:  Shirley Stephens      Email:


Waldorf College, NAIA (IA)

Head Coach: Tyreece Gilder

Email: Phone:  641-585-8595

Assistant Coach: Jessica Fresh          Email:


Warner Pacific University, NAIA (OR)

Head Coach: Frank Johnson

Email:        Phone: 503-734-6463


Wayland Baptist University, NAIA (TX)

Head Coach: Aaron Meister

Email:            Phone: 806-291-3845

Assistant Coach: Chad Cook

Email:         Phone: 806-291-3846


Wentworth Military Academy, NJCAA/USCAA (MO)

Head Coach: Shane Reickard 

Email:                         Phone: 660-259-6051

Associate Head Coach: Don Schriemann    Email: 



Canadian College Programs

Brock University, ON

Head Coach: Marty Calder

Email:      Phone: 905-688-5550 ext 4758


University of Calgary, AB

Head Coach: Mitch Otsberg

Email:      Phone: 403-220-8677



University of Guelph, ON

            Head Coach: Doug Cox




University of Saskatchewan, SK

Head Coach: Daniel Olver



University of Regina, SK

Head Coach: Leo McGee

Email:      Phone: 306-585-4067   


University of Alberta, AB

            Head Coach: Owen Dawkins




University of New Brunswick, NB

            Head Coach: Don Ryan

            Email:          Phone: 505-453-5191



University of Winnipeg, Manitoba MB

Head Coach: Adrian Bruce

Email:        Phone: 204-230-4236    

Concordia University, QC

Head Coach: Victor Zilverman

Email:         Phone: 514-848-2424 ext 3863   


Lakehead University, ON

            Head Coach: Francis Clayton

            Email:   Phone: 807-343-8513



University of Western Ontario, ON

            Head Coach: Ray Takahashi

            Email:        Phone: 519-661-2111 ext 85078




McMaster University, ON

            Head Coach: Nick Cipriano




Queen’s University, ON

            Head Coach: Gianni Vecchio

            Email:     Phone: 613-533-6000 ext 78860



York University, ON

            Head Coach: Eamonn Dorgan




University of Toronto, ON

            Head Coach: Michael Quinsey

            Email:     Phone: 416-880-3417



Laurentian University, ON

            Head Coach: Joe Greer





Simon Fraser University, NCAA Div. II, (BC, Canada)** Member of WCWA

Head Coach: Justin Abdou