For the second time in a month, Colorado State University-Pueblo has been named as a host site for an NCAA Division II national championship event, being awarded the honor of hosting the 2012 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, CSU-Pueblo and the NCAA announced.
The championship event, which will take place March 9 and 10, 2012 at CSU-Pueblo's Massari Arena, will be in Pueblo for the first time since 1998 and third time in the championship's history. It will also take place two months prior to the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships, also being held at CSU-Pueblo in 2012 and 2013. The University received word of the Track Championships selection in June.
"We are excited that the NCAA has selected us to host another national championship event on our campus," CSU-Pueblo Director of Athletics, Joe Folda, said. "It shows the tremendous faith the NCAA has in our University as well as the community of Pueblo, and we plan on putting on a first-class event."
CSU-Pueblo Interim President Dr. Julio Leon expressed congratulations to Folda and the Athletics Department for securing another national championship.
"To be selected twice in the same year as a venue for separate Div. II national championships reflects well on the quality of our facilities, the competence and dedication of our staff, and the hospitality of the Pueblo community," Leon said. "We have been successful securing such major initiatives because of the partnerships the University has established with the community. The campus and community will experience economic gains as well as enhanced reputations as a result of being in the national spotlight."
CSU-Pueblo head wrestling coach, Dax Charles, said CSU-Pueblo is a perfect venue for hosting the Division II Wrestling Championships. Charles has been the tournament director for numerous regional tournaments at CSU-Pueblo, including the Rocky Mountain Regionals, the Colorado State Freestyle Championships and Colorado Youth State Championships, to name a few.
"Having hosted the National Championships in 1994 and 1998, Pueblo has always been a hotbed for wrestling," Charles said. "We have a great community and support base, and it will be an instant motivator for the members of our wrestling team. We will be eager to 'defend the den' in March."
As the host school, CSU-Pueblo and the City of Pueblo will play host to 160 student-athletes from NCAA Division II colleges and universities throughout the nation, as well as numerous coaches, administrators and officials. The result will be a great economic boon to the community, as area hotels and restaurants are expected to receive major benefits from the event.
"This event should generate between $600,000 and $900,000 in economic impact for the City of Pueblo," Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce President Rod Slyhoff said. "While it doesn't have the sheer numbers of the Track Championships, it will still be a great and welcome economic boon to our community."
When combined with the NCAA Division II Track Championships in May, the NCAA Championships' economic impact to Pueblo could eclipse $3 million, Slyhoff estimated.
The 2012 Wrestling Championships will mark the sixth time that CSU-Pueblo would serve as the site for a national championship event. In 1975, CSU-Pueblo was the home of the first-ever Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) College Division National Women's Basketball Tournament as well as the NCAA College Division Men's Tennis Championships (Held at Pueblo City Park). CSU-Pueblo also hosted the 1983 NAIA Women's Gymnastics Championships as well as two NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (1994 and 1998).
CSU-Pueblo will become the first host school to host the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in back-to-back years since Southern Illinois-Edwardsville hosted the 1997 and 1998 championships.
Previous Sites of Division II Wrestling Championships
2011: Kearney, Neb. (Nebraska-Kearney)
2010: Omaha, Neb. (Nebraska-Omaha)
2009: Houston, Tex.
2008: Fayette, Iowa (Upper Iowa)
2007: Kearney, Neb. (Nebraska-Kearney)
2006: Findlay, Ohio. (Findlay)
2005: Omaha, Neb. (Nebraska-Omaha)
2004: Mankato, Minn. (Minnesota State)
2003: Wheeling, W.V.
2002: Parkside, Wisc. (Wisconsin-Parkside)
2001: Greeley, Colo. (Northern Colorado)
Previous/Upcoming Collegiate National Championship events held in Pueblo
1975: Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) College Division National Women's Basketball Championships (Massari Arena)
1975: NCAA College Division Tennis Championships (Pueblo City Park)
1983: NAIA Women's Gymnastics Championships (Massari Arena)
1994: NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (Massari Arena)
1998: NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (Massari Arena)
2012: NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (Massari Arena)
2012: NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships (Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl)
2013: NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships (Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl)