State Colleges

Bethany first in KCAC to add wrestling

Bethany looked at bowling. It looked at women's golf. It even looked at lacrosse.

Nothing fit better than wrestling.

Bethany added wrestling as an athletic program on Monday, becoming the first school in the KCAC to do so.

The Swedes will begin competition in the 2011-2012 school year and set a quick timetable for finding a coach.

"There was initially some hesitation ... but we decided we needed to start place and this is one sport where we can get ahead of the curve," Bethany athletic director Jon Daniels said. "We're going to start the search for a coach right away and hopefully have someone in here within a month so they can start recruiting right away."

The decision to add wrestling over the three other sports Bethany considered was made in part because of Smoky Valley High School's decision to add wrestling and a wrestling facility, which USD 400 will share with the college.

"The facility is going to have a place for mats and a place for some offices, which is all we really need," Daniels said.

Fort Hays State, Newman and Baker are the other four-year schools in Kansas to offer wrestling, although Fort Hays and Newman both compete on the NCAA Division II level.

The NAIA holds its national wrestling tournament in Oklahoma City.

"It's a tremendous step forward for Bethany," KCAC commissioner Scott Crawford said. "I'm not sure that the KCAC is going to add wrestling as a conference but you can't blame a school for trying to bring more students on campus."

King reaches milestone — Maize product and former WSU player David King reached a milestone in his career at Southwestern when the 6-foot-11 senior center eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in a home loss to Sterling on Jan. 22.

King, averaging 13 points per game this season, was an NAIA honorable mention All-American two seasons ago and sat out last year with knee injuries.

King also holds the school record for consecutive free throws made with 14 against Bethany in 2009.

"1,000 points is a great accomplishment," Southwestern coach Matt O'Brien said in a statement. "Dave has battled numerous injuries over his career and this makes reaching this remarkable achievement even that much more impressive."