EIWA Expanding; Binghamton, Hofstra, Drexel New Members
Willie Saylor, Editor
One of the country's most prestigious wrestling conferences is growing. The largest conference, with 14 member schools, the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association gained three additional teams on Wednesday, all of the CAA. Binghamton, Drexel and Hofstra will all compete in the EIWA this coming fall.
There is speculation that Boston University, whose programs is currently slated to be dropped, will be added to the EIWA should it be saved.
Current EIWA member Rutgers is scheduled to join the Big Ten following this season.
The defections of the three schools, along with Old Dominion's departure to the MAC, put in question the future of the CAA.
Below is the press release officially announcing the decisions of Binghamton and Hoftra.
John Hartrick Binghamton University
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Binghamton University wrestling scored a big victory off the mat on Thursday when the Bearcats were accepted into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) beginning in the 2013-14 season.
The EIWA is the oldest and one of the most prestigious conferences in the country and in gaining membership, BU will wrestle alongside such elite programs and institutions as Harvard and Cornell. The EIWA announced today that it will add four teams to its current membership (14) for next season, and earning invitations along with Binghamton were Hofstra, Drexel and Boston University -- all previously aligned with the CAA.
"We are honored to have our wrestling program invited for membership in the EIWA," Director of Athletics Patrick Elliott said. "The EIWA represents scholarship and athletic achievement on a national level and we are excited to compete alongside such renowned institutions and wrestling programs."
The composition of the EIWA features six Ivy League and five Patriot League members. The current 14-school membership is: American, Army, Brown, Bucknell, Columbia, Cornell, Franklin & Marshall, Harvard, Lehigh, Navy, Penn, Princeton, Rutgers, Sacred Heart.
"This is monumental on a number of levels," head coach Matt Dernlan said. "Academically, it speaks volumes about Binghamton as an institution and President Stenger's vision moving forward that we are seen as 'in line' with some of the most elite private schools in the country. From a wrestling standpoint, to be viewed as adding value to one of the most powerful wrestling conferences in the country speaks to what the future holds as we progress as an emerging national power.
"We are grateful for the efforts of Greg Strobel, executive director of the EIWA and Associate AD at Lehigh, as well as other administrators and members of the committee. We also are indebted to Steve Erber, current Cornell administrator (and founder and former coach of Binghamton wrestling). Steve's been instrumental leading the charge on our behalf, and it took many hours and months of deliberations to make this a reality."
The EIWA has crowned 88 individual NCAA champions in its storied history, which dates back to 1905. The conference held its 109th championship this past March at Rutgers, and the strength of the conference has resulted in 50 NCAA automatic berths being allotted to member schools in 2012-13 (45 automatic). That number of qualifiers was second only to the Big Ten and was more than double the allotments given to the CAA. The EIWA crowned 13 All-Americans in 2012 and had three teams finish in the NCAA top-10 (Cornell, American, Lehigh) in 2011. Cornell has captured the last seven EIWA titles.
The 2014 EIWA Championship will be hosted by Penn and the Bearcats will be eligible to compete for NCAA berths and the team title immediately.
"The EIWA Championship is one of the premier NCAA qualifiers in the country," Dernlan added. "It will be a great challenge - one we've positioned ourselves for -- and an opportunity to move Binghamton wrestling forward on the national scene. What better platform to do that than at arguably the second-most competitive qualifying tournament in the country, behind only the Big Ten."
The Bearcats will likely add many of the EIWA members to the team's dual match schedule for the upcoming seasons.
"We're excited to forge new relationships and grow new rivalries with some of the premier institutions in the Northeast."
Binghamton has churned out 21 NCAA qualifiers in the last four years.
Hofstra University Sports Information
Hempstead, NY -- The Hofstra University Department of Athletics is excited to announce that the Pride Wrestling program will be joining the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA), beginning with the 2013-14 season.
"We are thrilled to accept membership in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association," commented Hofstra Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway. "The EIWA is the nation's oldest wrestling conference and provides us a partnership with outstanding academic institutions and wrestling programs that compete at the highest level. This move to the EIWA will allow our highly-successful wrestling program to compete against some of the nation's best teams on a regular basis. Our student-athletes and coaches as well as the Hofstra and Long Island wrestling communities are certainly excited about this new conference affiliation. We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to our colleagues in the EIWA for offering us membership and we look forward to representing the conference with great pride."
"We are truly excited to be joining a great wrestling conference with a long tradition of excellence, both in the classroom and on the mat," Hofstra Head Wrestling Coach Robert Anspach said. "We are delighted to be associated with many of the top academic institutions, who also have some of the top wrestling programs in the country. In recent years, we have wrestled many of the teams in the EIWA. We look forward to renewing those rivalries as a conference opponent."
"The coaches and EIWA administrators looked at this and thought that Drexel and Hofstra were a great fit for our conference," stated Greg Strobel, executive director of the EIWA. "I've often wondered why Drexel and Hofstra weren't in our conference already, as it makes sense for them to be in this conference logistically because of their location and familiarity with our existing teams. This will be exciting for our fans, and we are looking forward to this year's tournament with Drexel and Hofstra participating alongside our existing members."
Hofstra, which has enjoyed a dominant 12-year tenure in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for wrestling, winning 11 conference championships including the last two, will be joining a highly-competitive academic and athletic 18-team EIWA along with Binghamton University, Boston University, and Drexel University.
Current EIWA membership includes: Ivy League members Brown University, Cornell University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania; Patriot League members American University, Bucknell University, Lehigh University, the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy; Current Big East Member Rutgers University; Northeast Conference (NEC) member Sacred Heart University; and Centennial Conference member Franklin and Marshall, which wrestles on the Division I level.
The Big Red of Cornell have captured seven consecutive EIWA championships. Columbia and Pennsylvania have each competed in 109 EIWA Championship Tournaments with Princeton (107), Cornell (105) and Lehigh (101) close behind. Lehigh has won 34 team titles while Cornell has captured 21.
The EIWA, which received 45 bids to the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, IA, earned six All-American honors.
Among the All-Americans was four-time national champion Kyle Dake from Cornell, who captured the 2013 title at 165 pounds after previously winning at 141, 149 and 157 pounds. Robert Hamlin from Lehigh placed second at 184 pounds while Steve Bosak from Cornell placed third at 184, Steve Santos from Columbia finished third at 149 and Nahshon Garrett from Cornell was third at 125.
Since joining the CAA in 2002, Hofstra has sent a total of 80 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, earned 17 All-American honors and won 50 individual conference titles.