By Matt Kroschel
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4)– When you think of a university wrestling team, young men in singlets is the image that probably first comes to mind. But, Colorado Mesa University is set to break that stereotype.
This fall, the Mavericks will field an all-female team, the first in Colorado.
It’s also the first university in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference to institute a varsity women’s wrestling program, one of only approximately 15 in the West and fewer than 50 that offer the program in the U.S.
“We believe in the transformative power of athletics to propel women into positions of power in the future,” said CMU President Tim Foster in a statement.
Grapplers on the Maverick’s men’s team practiced in the wrestling room on Tuesday afternoon.
Head coach Chuck Pipher pushed for the creation of the women’s team all along. His niece, currently a basketball player at the university, grew up wrestling and plans on trying out for the new team in the fall.
“We are and will become an even more sought-after wrestling program by diversifying our program and offering a female team that provides access and opportunities to young women that few other colleges do,” Piphere told CBS4.
Just across the Grand Valley at Central High School, freshman wrestler Myah Arrieta has dreams of taking her winning streak with her to college.
“I never thought college wrestling was a reality, now it is something to work hard towards with Mesa starting a program,” Arrieta told CBS4. “I like competitiveness to give me a challenge, it helps me of overcome things in life.”
Mesa is in the process of hiring a women’s wrestling coach with plans to begin training in the fall.
“I think it’s going to help the sport grow. A lot more girls are going to be interested now that they don’t have to give up after high school… they have something to look forward to,” said Arrieta.