Women’s wrestling moving to NCAA status


Photo by James Tananan Kamnuedkhun

Women’s wrestling head coach Mike Mena watches on from the Lindenwood bench while his team competes against MacMurray College on Jan. 24, 2020.

Lucas Boze, Reporter

The Lindenwood women’s wrestling team has been moved from a Student Life Sport to a varsity athletic sport. 

The announcement came out on Feb. 12 from Lindenwood athletics.

According to the women’s wrestling head coach Mike Mena, the move to NCAA status will allow the program to compete in the Women’s Wrestling National Championships that the NCAA holds every year. 

“It means that we, as a program, can compete at the NCAA Women’s Wrestling National Championships,” Mena said in an email. “Therefore, kids that aspire to become an NCAA All-American or NCAA Champion in women’s wrestling, will have an opportunity to accomplish their athletic goals at Lindenwood University.” 

Mena said that the move to NCAA status will also give the program a platform to attract some of the top talent in the country for women’s wrestling. 

NCAA status will allow the program to compete with some of collegiate women’s wrestling’s top schools and show what the program is capable of. 

“As a whole, we get to compete at the highest collegiate level and attract NCAA level competitors. Overall, our championship culture can be visible,” Mena said. 

Mena says the decision to make the move to NCAA status was up to the university officials. 

Another reason why Mena said the move to NCAA status was so important was because it gives the athletes an opportunity to gain titles like All-American or National Champion.  

“Those accolades are important for kids, regardless of time they can’t be taken away,” Mena said in a phone interview. “They are lifetime achievements. Whether you are employed or unemployed you will always be a National Champion.” 

One athlete in the program has already taken advantage of the move to NCAA status.  

Lindenwood senior Mia Dow placed eighth in the 155 pound weight class at the Cliff Keen National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships on March 6. The eighth place finish earned Dow All-American status for the year. 

Mena believes that accomplishments like Dow’s are critical for the athletes involved in the program. 

“It is critical that kids like Mia have the opportunity to accomplish lifetime achievements. This institution put her in the position to do that,” Mena said. 

Dow’s All-American title wouldn’t have been possible had Lindenwood not moved the program to NCAA status. 

Mena said that he is honored and privileged to be a part of the program during their growth and the move to NCAA status. 

“Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and our recruiting is going very well,” Mena said. “I am happy for the current team and future teams, even after my time. This was a historical moment. It has always been an SLS sport and now it’s a varsity sport.”