Maine Maritime Academy, a school of approximately 900 full-time undergraduates in Castine, Maine, has announced the elevation of their club wrestling team to varsity status for the 2024-2025 season. The school plans to hire a head coach who will start this summer to prepare for the transition to varsity status. Maine Maritime has had a club team that competes in the NCWA since 2018 and had 18 wrestlers on the roster last season. The Mariners previously fielded a men’s team from 1967-1979.
CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy announced the addition of men’s and women’s wrestling to its roster of varsity sport offerings. The move was announced by Maine Maritime President Jerry Paul ’89 on Tuesday morning.
Men’s and women’s wrestling is currently a club sport at the Academy, competing in the National Club Wrestling Association (NCWA). The program will continue in the NCWA for one more year before moving to NCAA competition in the 2024-2025 season.
Last season, the club fielded 18 wrestlers, including the Academy’s first female wrestler, Jenna Willard. In the 2021-2022 campaign, the team competed in five regular season Invitationals before qualifying for the NCWA Northeast Conference Championship. At the tournament, six wrestlers qualified for the NCWA National Championship held in Texas, and Willard was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler in the Women’s Division.
Wrestling is part of the sports tradition at the Academy. Maine Maritime fielded a men’s wrestling team from 1967 to 1979. The Academy has five Hall of Fame members that were associated with wrestling, including William J. Mottola, who the Mariners Athletics Hall of Fame is named after. The Mariners restarted wrestling as a club program for the 2018-2019 season.
Maine Maritime will look to hire a coach for each team this spring with a planned start date in July to continue to expand the rosters as the programs transition into varsity sports.