Women’s Wrestling is a go at New England College. Now it’s time for wrestling coach, Robert Watson-Powell to recruit for the freshmen class of 2022.
After starting the conversation about adding a women’s wrestling team withDave DeCew in the summer of 2019, Watson–Powell was given the go-ahead. Watson-Powell was a graduate assistant for the wrestling team for two years before he got the head coach position.
“There was no opportunity for me to stay here,” so Watson–Powell found other employment at Iowa Wesleyan University. In Iowa, he got their women’s wrestling program off the ground, which makes him very qualified to start of the New England College women’s wrestling program.
Now, in 2021, recruitment has begun at New England College for the new women’s wrestling team. Watson-Powell will be the head coach of the women’s and men’s team. Even though they are two separate sports with different rules and positions. Watson-Powell “wants to act as one program.” He goes on to say, women’s wrestling is “probably the fastest growing sport in colleges right now.” He also mentioned, “roughly 15-20 college programs have [announced adding a women’s wrestling team] in the last six months.”
Watson-Powell is not scared for the challenge of a women’s wrestling team. There is “nowhere to go but up,” he explained. “Five years ago there was no wrestling team on this campus… now we have four guys that have been in the national rankings,” Watson-Powell said.
Maxwell Ross, a sophomore on the men’s wrestling team who has wrestled for six years, is very “excited to see what they bring in and how much noise both teams can make.”
Watson–Powell agrees with this, even mentioning, “if you think about it this way, all of our wrestlers on campus have never watched a wrestling match on campus… because they have always been a part of it”.
Ross, who was originally supposed to go to Iowa Wesleyan, transferred after he found out that Watson–Powell transferred back to New England College.
Ross, who is very knowledgeable on the sport mentioned, “women’s wrestling is actually the fastest growing high school sport in the nation… becoming more of its own sport in its own right in the collegiate level.” Ross believes that there is “nothing but respect for anyone who decides to wrestle: male, female, I don’t care. Guy or girl. If you can kick my ass, you can kick my ass.”
When asked his final thoughts on the women’s wrestling team, Watson-Powell said, “if I am not bringing young ladies to this campus that are going to get degrees, that are going to be successful in a sport they love, that are going to develop as human beings, that can walk of that stage in four years and be successful members of society, we failed.”
Watson-Powell’s overall goal for both teams, “is to bring student athletes onto this campus and spend the next four years preparing them for the next forty years of their life.” Ross’s goal is, “all-around respect.”