SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference will add Presbyterian College as an associate member for wrestling for the 2019-20 season, Commissioner John Iamarino announced Thursday. The addition of the Blue Hose, who are launching their program next season, will bring the SoCon wrestling membership back to eight following the departure of associate member SIUE after this season.
“The Southern Conference has consistently addressed wrestling membership in a way to benefit the health of the sport, and we think the addition of Presbyterian fits with that philosophy,” Iamarino said. “It gives a new program a conference home that makes sense geographically and restores our membership in 2019-20 to eight programs for purposes of scheduling and the conference championship. It’s a winning solution for all parties.”
Presbyterian is a private liberal arts college with an undergraduate enrollment of just over 1,000. Located in Clinton, South Carolina, PC fits neatly into the Southern Conference’s geographical footprint. The Blue Hose will join full SoCon members The Citadel, Chattanooga and VMI as well as associate members Appalachian State, Campbell, Davidson and Gardner-Webb in comprising the eight-team league. Presbyterian, which is also adding women’s wrestling to bring its total to 17 varsity sports, is a full member of the Big South Conference, alongside Campbell and Gardner-Webb.
“We are extremely excited to be able to add men’s wrestling to our athletic department,” Presbyterian Director of Athletics Danny Sterling said. “We are also extremely pleased that our men's wrestling program has been accepted into the Southern Conference. The SoCon is a strong wrestling conference and puts us in a geographic footprint that makes sense for us. We look forward to the challenge of competing in the SoCon and expanding the brand of PC wrestling.”
The Blue Hose are in the process of hiring a coach and will compete in a limited, independent schedule in 2018-19. PC will be eligible for SoCon team and individual titles immediately upon its entry into the league.
The Southern Conference boasts a long and rich wrestling tradition that stretches back to the first league championship in 1930. This season’s championship, slated for March 3, 2018, at The Citadel’s McAlister Field House in Charleston, South Carolina, will be the 81st edition of the tournament.
Between automatic qualifiers and at-large selections, the SoCon sent 19 student-athletes to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship last season, with a league-record three – Appalachian State’s Denzel Dejournette, Campbell’s Nathan Kraisser and SIUE’s Jake Residori – earning All-America status.