Women’s wrestling joins roster of club sports

By Zachary Klein

Rider added to its extensive repertoire of club sports, announcing womens’ wrestling as the newset option at the school. Women’s wrestling is something that is not found on many college campuses, and its addition is a monumental step in creating gender equality in all sports at Rider.

Women’s wrestling has been a rare option for a club or varsity sports at colleges, said Timothy Trivisonno, head coach of the women’s wrestling club. However, women’s wrestling is starting to flourish on a collegiate level with colleges such as Princeton University, Rutgers University, New Jersey City University and East Stroudsburg University adding the sport at either the club or varsity level.

“There are 34 states that sanction girls’ high school wrestling as a sport,” said Trivisonno. “There’s so many girls who wrestle at the high school level and there’s not enough opportunity for them to wrestle at the next level, and it kind of hurts the growth at the lower levels where there’s just nowhere to go at that upper level.”

Director of Recreation Programs Dianna Clauss agreed with Trivisonno about the necessity of founding this club sport.

“We need to do this,” she said. “Universities and colleges need to provide opportunities for women to compete in sports such as this.”

It was Clauss’ idea to pitch a women’s wrestling team to the club sports council, who make the final decision on what should and should not become a sanctioned club on campus.

“Similar to what we did with the esports club, we saw the growth across the country,” Clauss said. “Before we even had the students in place we started creating the club constitution, budget and contacts on campus.”

The club sports council was able to help with the creation of these three important elements, and the women’s wrestling club was born.

According to Trivisonno, the club hopes to be competing by the 2022-23 season, as they are actively recruiting several incoming freshmen. They are also looking to recruit any girls on campus who might be interested in competing.

“We are recruiting people through the process of admissions, and my goal is to have a full team down the line, whether that’s 10, 15, 20 girls,” Trivisonno said. “We just are trying to get these girls through admissions and getting them into practice.”

Clauss added that the club is not ready to go yet as they are in what she called an “active recruitment phase.” Currently, they are just searching for interested students and have not practiced nor competed in any tournaments.

Once a team can be formed, they need to find opponents. There are several schools in the area that could be possible matchups, but Trivisonno also expressed interest in attending a large competition, including the Southern Scuffle, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Clauss said that women’s wrestling was a sport where high school state champions had nowhere to go. In any other sport, state champions normally compete a collegiate level. Rider is trying to change that by being open, inclusive and ahead of the game by creating this unique opportunity.

There are about 70 Division I men’s programs, said Trivisonno, a former wrestler at Rider himself.

“Having wrestled for 22 years, it is probably the most inclusive sport,” Trivisonno said. “There was a men’s wrestler who won the national tournament with one leg. I just saw someone in Virginia who won the state tournament with no legs. Everybody can do it … and this is an opportunity that we can provide to females to wrestle and continue their athletic careers, not just their academic careers.”

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