WHEELING - Since the announcement that wrestling would become the 20th varsity sport at Wheeling Jesuit last December, the athletics department has been busy putting all the pieces in place to launch its newest program later this year.
Following the announcement of the launch of wrestling, Sean Doyle was selected as the program's head coach.
Now, the university has transformed a portion of the second floor of the McDonough Center into a state-of-the-art wrestling room/practice facility. Doyle has spent the past few months putting the pieces into place. Resilite, the nations No. 1 source in wrestling mats/padding, spent the past week installing the wall pads, and in the near future the wrestling mats will be laid on the floor.
"We want people to be excited and support Wheeling Jesuit wrestling," Doyle said. "The university is located between two powerhouse states for wrestling - Ohio and Pennsylvania. We have attracted student-athletes from seven states, have a top-notch venue for competition and intend to compete at high level in our first year.
"Wheeling Jesuit has been built on a tradition of excellence, which is a great partnership with the sport of wrestling, because of the character, discipline, work ethic and leadership skills the sport demands," said Doyle. "We hit the ground running and identified student-athletes that fit the institution's mission perfectly. We currently have 30 student-athletes committed to our first recruiting class. The inaugural team includes state finalists and qualifiers from West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York and North Carolina."
The Cardinals inaugural schedule includes 17 matches with six home dual matches to be held in the performance gym at the Alma Grace McDonough Center. WJU will open the season on the road in Charleston, S.C., against The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Cardinals are scheduled to play host to their first home match in school history at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 against Alma College in Michigan. Other home matches include: Mercyhurst and Ohio Valley (Nov. 22), Penn State-Allegheny (Dec. 10), Millersville (Jan. 24) and Shippensburg (Feb. 5).
The addition of intercollegiate wrestling marks the third athletic program started by Wheeling Jesuit in a three year span. Women's lacrosse was incorporated in the 2011, and after an 18-year hiatus, WJU rugby returned in 2012 as a USA Rugby Division I varsity sport.