Fort Hays State expanding opportunities with addition of women’s wrestling

The Kansas university becomes the first in the state to announce the growing woman's sports program.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - Fort Hays State University is making Kansas history with Wednesday’s announcement that it will be the first state university in Kansas to offer women’s wrestling.

The Fort Hays State University women’s wrestling team will kick off its inaugural season in 2024. With the new team comes multiple opportunities, especially with the growth of girls’ wrestling at the high school level in Kansas last year.

“We’re hoping for rosters of 35 to 50 right out of the gate. We’re going to have a scholarship. We’re going to do everything right to make this a big-time program,” said FHSU Head Wrestling Coach Erik Wince.

Preparations for the new program include upgraded facilities.

“We’re looking at renovations in the women’s general locker room to put walls up, make it their own space for them,” Wince said.

He said the time is right to expand the wrestling program.

“I’ve seen the growth of women’s wrestling and I feel like it’s the next big thing for collegiate athletics,” Wince said.

World champion Olympic wrestler Jacarra Winchester attended Wednesday’s news conference at Fort Hays State, showing her support for the future program.

“It’s really big for me because like I said before, when I was younger, I didn’t have opportunities like this. And it shows and demonstrates that it’s growing traction,” Winchester said.

She said she hopes seeing the sport of wrestling grow continues to inspire young female athletes.

“Some people are like, ‘I can’t do it, that’s not possible.’ But then they see more women doing it and more opportunities like this, and then they want to strive for greatness,” Winchester said. “I think it makes a dream a reality and every step closer that you get to that is awesome.”