Urbana University continues its growth plan with the addition of wrestling and men’s volleyball, raising the school’s number of NCAA Division II athletic teams to 17. UU revives wrestling after sponsoring an NAIA program for nearly 20 years, as the two sports, along with acrobatics and tumbling, are set to begin D2 competition in the 2018-19 season.
The integration of wrestling and men’s volleyball align with the popularity of the sports in the region and provide the opportunity for the region’s high school athletes to continue their passion for their sport while earning a degree.
“Wrestling has such a strong level of performance here in the area and men’s volleyball aligns perfectly within the framework of our athletics structure,” said a UU spokesman. “This is exciting evidence that our academics and athletics programs are moving forward together by providing opportunities to students in areas of interest that are currently underserved.”
“Wrestling and men’s volleyball are two sports that are growing at the club and high school level while being under-represented at the collegiate level,” Executive Director of Athletics Larry Cox said. “We look forward to incorporating both sports into our Blue Knight family while remaining focused on our continued commitment to excellence in competition, the classroom and the community.”
The Blue Knights are eager to bring back wrestling, a program that produced two UU Hall of Fame members – Jim McCracken (‘78) and Thomas Bemmes (‘83). With the sport carrying immense popularity in the surrounding communities, UU becomes the sixth D2 school in Ohio to provide a wrestling team.
Other schools in the region include Alderson-Broaddus, Ashland, Bellarmine, Cumberland, Davenport, East Stroudsburg, Findlay, Gannon, U-Indy, King, Kutztown, Lake Erie, Mercyhurst, Millersville, Notre Dame College, Ohio Valley, Seton Hill, Shippensburg, Tiffin, West Liberty and Wheeling Jesuit.
Volleyball has grown in popularity, with more than 55,000 youth participants nationwide, making it the second fastest growth rate in boys’ sports.
The sport has produced NCAA success both inside and outside the classroom. Out of 19 men’s sports listed in NCAA research on academic performance, men’s volleyball ranks third, behind only hockey and gymnastics. On the court, local success is evident after The Ohio State University recently captured the 2016 men’s volleyball national championship.
UU will schedule against D1 and D2 programs, which compete for the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship. Regional opponents include Alderson-Broaddus, Ball State, Charleston (WV), Fort Wayne, George Mason, Grand Canyon, Lewis, Lindenwood, Loyola (IL), McKendree, Ohio State, Penn State, Quincy and St. Francis (PA).
Graham wins in golf
Graham defeated Indian Lake, 168-205, in CBC boys golf.
For the Falcons, Andy Milligan had a 39, Logan Black a 41, Jim Stickley a 44, Josh Lewis a 44, Matt Goddard a 44 and Chasen Poole a 46.