09/07/18 — COLLEGE: UMO adding wrestling, women's field hockey in 2019-2020

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COLLEGE: UMO adding wrestling, women's field hockey in 2019-2020

By UMO Media Relations
Published in Sports on September 7, 2018 5:51 AM

By UMO Media Relations

MOUNT OLIVE -- The University of Mount Olive's athletics program grew by two sports Thursday.

Jeff Eisen, vice president for athletics, announced the school will add women's field hockey and wrestling, raising its total to 20 sports offered by the NCAA Division II school. The two programs will begin competition in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Members of Conference Carolinas, the Trojans will compete under the umbrella of the South Atlantic Conference after the two leagues merged to sponsor field hockey. Belmont Abbey, Converse (SC), Limestone (SC) are from Conference Carolinas, while Coker (SC), Newbery (SC) and Queens-Charlotte participate in the SAC.

The SAC handles the league championship.

"Adding field hockey is a natural fit for us as it is a conference sport and has a lot of the same appeal that lacrosse had when we added it," Eisen said. "We look forward to field hockey bringing the same excitement and quality student-athletes that lacrosse brought to campus. I want to thank USA Field Hockey for its assistant in the planning process."

Plans are under way to start the head-coaching search in November with a full-time assistant coach to be hired prior to the start of the season.

UMO will play its home matches on the artificial turf inside the Ray McDonald Sr. Lacrosse/Track & Field Complex. The school anticipates adding lights to further enhance the facility that houses its nationally-recognized lacrosse and track & field teams.

Wrestling will compete under the Conference Carolinas umbrella that includes Belmont Abbey, Emmanuel (GA), King (TN), Limestone (SC), Coker (SC), Newberry (SC) and Queens-Charlotte. Currently, 62 Division II schools offer wrestling.

"Wrestling is a conference sport with ready-made competition and the ability to compete for a championship," Eisen said. "North Carolina ranks in the top 10 nationally in terms of the number of high school participants in wrestling, and there is a void in opportunities to compete on the national level in the Southeast.

"We want to help fill that void."

The National Wrestling Coaches Association [NWCA] aided the school in its planning process.

Eisen plans to hire a coach as soon as possible, along with a full-time assistant prior to the start of the season.

The Trojans will host matches at Kornegay Arena.

UMO last added new sports in the 2012-13 academic year, when men's and women's lacrosse began competition.