Dec. 9, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Thanks to a generous financial pledge from several UW athletics supporters, the University of Wyoming wrestling program will begin a project to significantly renovate its facilities.
Private donations from several benefactors, including a former UW wrestler, will allow improvements to the wrestling facilities, starting this winter. The project also will be funded from donations received in memory of former UW wrestler Scott Chipperfield, who passed away in 2012.
The improvements include an additional 800 square feet of wrestling space in the current wrestling room, a private coaches locker/meeting room, a team lounge, academic and study area, a film room, a separate cardio and weight room, full kitchen for pre-dual team meals and additional improvements to the existing locker room and practice area.
"I think it's important to note that we already have outstanding facilities, but this just takes the program to the next level," Wyoming wrestling head coach Mark Branch said. "It gives our kids a more practical and expansive training area. It's going to free up some space in our existing room for extra mat space and that's a big help. It gives our kids a state-of-the-art area for us to study film as a team. An investment of this size exemplifies the support we have for the program here - from our administration, this university and most importantly, our fans. That's who is making this possible, people who love and care about Wyoming wrestling."
The process will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 includes the renovations outlined above. Phase 2 will include further expansion of the practice room to include 1-2 additional mats but a timeframe and cost for that has not been determined.
"An undertaking of this size shows our commitment to the wrestling program at Wyoming," Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman said. "We are extremely excited for this project and believe it can elevate UW wrestling to the next level in terms of recruiting and relevance on the national scene. This project will play a significant role in achieving our goal of becoming a top-10 program and battling for national championships."
Fans have reason to be excited for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. The Pokes are 1-1 so far, several individuals are in the national rankings and UW is aiming for its fifth-straight conference title.
"I believe there are really only a few elite programs that are thinking big time, and I am excited to be a part of a program that's thinking big time," Branch said. "I think everyone around this program has ideas about how we can take the program to the next level, how we can be a top-10 program every year and what we need to do to bring home an NCAA team trophy. We're giving ourselves an opportunity to be one of those programs with this move. This puts the wheels into motion to do even bigger and better things with the facility in the future."
With the recent announcement from the International Olympic Committee that wrestling would be included in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, Branch noted the improved facility would also benefit the Wyoming Wrestling Regional Training Center (WWRTC), which is separate from the University's program. The WWRTC allows Olympic hopefuls to train in Laramie to compete in international competitions. With enhanced facilities and the ability to train at 7,220 feet, the WWRTC is an ideal location for current and future Olympians.