Women’s Wrestling to Become 26th CCIW Sport; Aurora, Lakeland Join as Associate Members

| By: Bryan Moore, Associate Executive Director
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) will begin sponsoring women’s wrestling in 2022-23 as the league’s 26th sport, according to an announcement from Executive Director Maureen Harty on Tuesday. The CCIW will become the first NCAA Division III conference to sponsor women’s wrestling.
Five schools will participate in CCIW women’s wrestling this winter when core members Augustana, Carthage and North Central are joined by Aurora University and Lakeland University. Women's wrestling was selected for the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program on August 1, 2020.
“This is an important step for the CCIW and the sport of women’s wrestling,” Harty said. “We have seen tremendous growth in the sport over the last several years. Being the first Division III conference to sponsor the sport shows we are committed to providing these student-athletes a competitive conference experience. We are excited to have Aurora and Lakeland join us on this journey to grow women’s wrestling at the Division III level and in the Midwest."
Aurora and Lakeland now compete in the CCIW as associate members in three sports – men’s wrestling, women’s wrestling and women’s bowling.
The CCIW will be just the third NCAA Division III conference to sponsor at least 26 sports when competition for the 2022-23 academic year began earlier this month.
The recent announcement marks the fifth time the CCIW has added sponsored sports since the 2014-15 academic year. Men’s and women’s lacrosse were introduced prior to the 2015 season, men’s volleyball was sponsored beginning in 2020 and women’s bowling began competition in 2021.
What the CCIW head coaches are saying:
"The addition of the Carthage College women's wrestling team, among others, to the CCIW adds values, tradition, and loyalty to our conference and to the sport. As women's wrestling and conference affiliations continue to grow, constructive rivalries become more established and this helps the fan base grow too. It adds more exposure and support for female wrestlers everywhere. It's an incredibly fun time to be part of the wrestling community while it grows to new heights!" –Jake Calhoun, Carthage women’s wrestling head coach
“We are super excited that the CCIW has elected to sponsor women’s wrestling beginning with the 2023 Championships. The sport has grown at the national level in recent years, as well as within the CCIW, and we are grateful that the conference administration, along with the Presidents and ADs, have voted in favor of this. It’s awesome that our women will have the opportunity to compete for a CCIW Championship alongside our men’s team.” –Joe Norton, North Central women’s wrestling head coach
“The last few years have been extremely exciting for the sport of women’s wrestling both at the high school and college levels. Just since the addition of women’s wrestling as a varsity sport at Augie, we have seen both Illinois and Iowa sanction the sport for their respective high school leagues as well as the University of Iowa becoming the first major program adding it. Augustana is honored and excited to be a part of the very first women’s conference championships this upcoming season.” –Tony Willaert, Augustana women’s wrestling head coach.

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The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) was founded in 1946 and currently has nine member institutions including Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), Carroll University (Waukesha, WI), Carthage College (Kenosha, WI), Elmhurst University (Elmhurst, IL), Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL), Millikin University (Decatur, IL), North Central College (Naperville, IL), North Park University (Chicago, IL) and Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL).    

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