First there was Northern Michigan. Now there is Williams Baptist.
Officially announced today, Williams Baptist College, located in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, will be adding a Greco Roman team to its athletic department. This is not a typical regional training center — the Williams Baptist College program will function similarly to the NMU-Olympic Training Site. Only students who attend the institution are eligible to join, though a “facilities use” option will also be available.
The addition of Greco Roman wrestling to the school can be credited to Williams Baptist head coach, Kerry Regner, a former national-level competitor and Northern Michigan alumnus. Regner, while responsible for bringing the program to life, will not be its coach. Instead, he will stay with the Eagles on the folkstyle side as the squad looks to contend for an NAIA championship. But it is Regner’s love for US Greco Roman wrestling which prompted him to get the wheels moving and he’s excited about the process.
“In the US, we need this,” Regner says. “This is going to be game-changing for Greco in this country. Our program has been approved travel for six domestic competitions this year, so this is a huge chance for athletes who want to pursue Greco while earning a bachelors degree.” Regner is also going to be involved in the hiring of William Baptist’s head Greco Roman coach and a job description has been posted for candidates to check out.
Williams Baptist is a Christian school, meaning those who enter into the program will be expected to adhere to those values. “We’re looking to build student athletes and provide them with a Christ-centered education,” adds Regner. “We want competitors and coaches who identify with Christ as well as Williams Baptist College, and we are looking to facilitate their growth both on and off the mat.”
As for the domestic competitions Regner mentions, the prospects are certainly enticing. For one thing, there is the potential for actual clashes between both US collegiate Greco teams (“I’d love to organize dual meets with Northern Michigan,” Regner admits). Also, the United States has traditionally held only one event for University age-group athletes until this past year’s College Greco Duals at George Mason. A brand new team emerging would go a long way towards addressing what has been a glaring need.
“This going to help create the much-needed depth that Greco Roman does not have”, declares Regner. “It’s also a great opportunity for athletes interested in continuing on the Greco path and looking for a Christian-based education. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Wrestlers interested in attending Williams Baptist College can contact Coach Kerry Regner via email for more information.