Re: NJCAA Wrestling in the Northwest
Posted by Justin Springer on 12/26/2018, 3:41 pm, in reply to "Re: NJCAA Wrestling in the Northwest "
There has been a trend in recent years to grow the sport of college wrestling with additions to NJCAA and NAIA Divisions for both Male and Female programs in the Great Northwest! Much of this is from the grassroots efforts of Restore College Wrestling Oregon, in collaboration with current college wrestling programs, athletes, and fans regionally and nationally. |
Unfortunately, it has been brought to our attention there are a few individuals looking to stymie the growth of college wrestling here in the Great Northwest. The athletic director at North Idaho College, Al Williams, has been reaching out to Junior Colleges in the Northwest to try and drop affiliation with the NJCAA.
Williams has heavily pursued the Athletic Director from Highline Community College, John Dunn, in an attempt to garner steam for a push to convince their Athletic Department to drop affiliation of the NJCAA.
Williams has said this is an attempt to grow the sport of wrestling in the Northwest by adding wrestling as a Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) sport. The NWAC is comprised of Junior Colleges within the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Williams is saying if wrestling became an NWAC sponsored sport, more schools affiliated to the NWAC would add wrestling. Williams has not provided any confirmation from other schools within the NWAC to back up his claim.
Currently, there are four Northwest Athletic Conference schools with participating wrestling programs which are listed in the NCWA, National College Wrestling Association, not to be confused with the NWAC, Northwest Athletic Conference, which they are part of as well.
The NWAC sports programs DO NOT compete for a national title. These programs compete within the NWAC Conference. Because the NWAC currently does not recognize wrestling as a sport, Gray's Harbor has competed in the NCWA national tournament.
Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake added wrestling as a club sport this past year. I have emailed and called the athletic director, Mark Poth, but have not received a reply. There has not been a release of information for Big Bend CC to transition to NJCAA.
In 2015, Gray's Harbor Community College added wrestling which participates in the NCWA. In the past, GHCC has voiced opinion to not transfer to the NJCAA. I'm not sure if this has changed.
Treasure Valley Community College in Caldwell ID added a club team this year which will participate in the NCWA. There have been no press releases or mention from TVCC to transition to NJCAA.
Columbia Basin Community College made an attempt to add wrestling as a club for the 2013-2014 season, however the program has been inactive since 2015.
Williams' theory of having the Northwest Athletic Conference create an additional/official sport of wrestling would mean there would currently be a total of nine programs (assuming all current NJCAA programs dropped into the NWAC). I'm not sure what kind of season could be put together with these low numbers of wrestling programs.
If our current Northwest NJCAA programs dropped into the NWAC, there would be huge negative side effects. This would impact all college wrestling in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Colmbia (SFU). Programs in these mentioned states and province compete against the five current NJCAA programs. This means these programs would likely be impacted and forced to travel further to replace dual meets and competition causing financial burdens for these programs.
Four year programs are also less likely to recruit from NCWA or club programs. Athletes and coaches know this. As a result, we would likely not retain as many local high school wrestlers looking to compete at the next level within the junior college ranks. Compounding the problem is NWAC programs have a difficult time recruiting from the midwest and east coast. This would again directly impact the quality and diversity of competition within the current NWAC programs.
The draw for better and higher qualified coaching candidates would also diminish greatly. How many upper level coaches with experience want to coach a program unable to compete for a national title?
Can you imagine the impact this would have on a tournament like Tri-State? Almost every high school program attending this tradition rich tournament has a direct tie to NIC. I would be willing to bet the Tri-State tournament would dissipate to nothing within a couple of years. This would be a major impact as a funding resource to NIC, and local businesses.
How about the NIC Wrestling Camp? One which regularly has more Olympian clinicians attend than any other camp in the US? Again, another massive source of funding for NIC.
How about booster clubs for these programs? How many boosters will continue to support a program without an opportunity to compete for All-American status or a national championship?
It has been clear from the beginning of Al Williams' tenure at NIC as Athletic Director he does not support wrestling. With the tradition and national recognition the NIC program has worked hard to earn, one would think the athletic director would embrace and support it rather than throw up constant roadblocks.
Currently there are a total of 14 colleges with men's wrestling programs in the Northwest, including the province of British Columbia and the state of Montana. Here is a breakdown of these programs:
North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene ID
Highline Community College, Des Moines WA
Clackamas Community College, Oregon City OR
Southwestern Oregon College, Coos Bay OR
Umpqua Community College, Roseburg OR
Warner Pacific College, Portland OR
Corban University, Salem OR
Southern Oregon University, Ashland OR
Eastern Oregon University, La Grande OR
University of Providence, Great Falls MT
Northern Montana University, Havre MT
Pacific Oregon, Forest Grove OR
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby British Columbia
Oregon State University, Corvalis OR
Since 2013, we have seen an addition of the following programs in the state of Oregon:
Corban University, Salem OR (NAIA)
Umpqua Community College, Roseburg OR (NJCAA)
Eastern Oregon University, La Grande OR (NAIA)
Warner Pacific University, Portland OR (NAIA)
This growth and addition of college wrestling provides more opportunities for our athletes, locally, nationally, and internationally. These student athletes attending these programs choose to attend these colleges as an option for academic growth and to participate in wrestling at the college level.
Currently, two of the five NJCAA affiliated programs in the Northwest, Noth Idaho College and Clackamas Community College, are among the best programs in the country.
Since 1997, head coach Pat Whitcomb has been at the helm of North Idaho College, one of the most storied and decorated programs of all time and boasts the following NJCAA RECORDS:
14 NJCAA TEAM NATIONAL TITLES
34 NATIONAL TOURNAMENT TOP THREE FINISHES
54 INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Recently, North Idaho College just notched their record setting 700th dual win!
Clackamas Community College, under the guidance of head coach Josh Rhoden, has in the past 12 years become a national powerhouse compiling a dual record of 130-33-2, 108 national qualifiers, 68 All-Americans, 20 national finalists, 9 national champions, 88 academic All-Americans, and six national dual meet titles. Rhoden's squad has created a rivalry with national powerhouse Noth Idaho College, which is a healthy rivalry good for the sport!
Highline Community College has been lead by head coach Scott Norton since 2003. Coach Norton has done an incredible job behind the wheel when you consider the resources available to the Highline CC Wrestling program. With only enough funds to cover 60% of one "full ride", Highline manages to be competitive both on and off the mat. Highline also holds records for academic achievements, and has won four NJCAA National Academic Team Championships, most recently in 2018 and back to back 2014-2015, the first NJCAA team to accomplish this feat! Norton has won the Region 18 coach of the year award four times. Norton has produced six national tournament finalists and 26 All-Americans.
Southwestern Oregon Community College is lead by head coach Adam Whitlatch. SWOCC has a listed total of 38 All-Americans and three national finalists!
Umpqua Community College is lead by head coach Kyle Temple. With the recent addition of an NJCAA Wrestling program, look for the Riverhawks to add more depth and tradition to the Region 18 wrestling conference!
Lastly, I encourage all of you to call and email the presidents of these schools to show your support of NJCAA Wrestling in the Northwest. Feel free to CC the athletic directors but make sure your voice is heard at a higher level. If you only contact the athletic directors, your support for NJCAA Wrestling might fall on deaf ears.
North Idaho College President Rick MacLennan:
Highline Community College President John Mosby:
email@example.com (Special Asst. To The President Danielle Slota)
Clackamas Community College President Tim Cook:
Southwestern Community College President Patty Scott:
Umpqua Community College President Debra Thatcher: