NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. â€“ Manchester University, in conjunction with the Allen County Memorial Coliseum and Visit Fort Wayne groups, has been awarded a bid to host the 2017 NCAA Division III Midwest Regional wrestling Championships.
The event is set for late February at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
â€œWeâ€™re very appreciative of being the host for this big event,â€ Director of Athletics Rick Espeset said. â€œItâ€™s a great honor to have our universityâ€™s name and brand associated with this type of NCAA competition.â€
â€œFans should be excited for this coming (to Fort Wayne),â€ head coach Kevin Lake noted. â€œThere are many athletes on participating teams that are from Fort Wayne and surrounding areas including three-time defending national champion Riley LeFever of Wabash College. Itâ€™s an incredible showcase of some of the top student-athletes in NCAA Division III all vying for a berth to the national meet.â€
Visit Fort Wayne and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum group mirrored Manchester Universityâ€™s anticipation.
"Weâ€™re thrilled to welcome the NCAA DIII Wrestling Regional to Fort Wayne,â€ Stephanie Coleman, sports sales manager at Visit Fort Wayne, said. â€œEarly estimates have it bringing a quarter of a million dollars in new spending to our community. Weâ€™re so fortunate to have a great collaborative relationship between Visit Fort Wayne, the Memorial Coliseum and Manchester University.â€
â€œOur location is great for the NCAAâ€™s tournaments,â€ Dan Oâ€™Connell, president and CEO of Visit Fort Wayne, admitted. â€œ(The NCAA) was looking for a central location with a high quality venue and a member university and community interested in making the student athleteâ€™s experience at the tournament memorable. We â€˜pinnedâ€™ all three of those needs, literally.
â€œFort Wayne is within a daysâ€™ drive of over 90% of the participating institutions,â€ he added. â€œWe offer an outstanding venue in the Memorial Coliseum which has experience in hosting both wrestling as well as NCAA tournaments. And lastly, along with Manchester University, Visit Fort Wayne is committed to providing every wrestler with a â€˜championship experienceâ€™.â€
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum has played host to the 2010 NCAA Division I menâ€™s ice hockey Midwest Regional and 2006 NCAA Division I menâ€™s volleyball national championship as well as the 2015 and 2016 Cliff Keen National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Duals among its signature events.