By Nick Hoven, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire athletic department has announced the expansion of its gymnastics and wrestling facilities.
In partnership with the LE Phillips YMCA Indoor Sports Center, both programs will see upgrades from their current facilities in the McPhee Center, with the gymnastics team moving to the LE Phillips YMCA Indoor Sports Center and the wrestling team moving to the previously occupied gymnastics room.
"The Blugold Athletic Department is thankful for the partnership with the YMCA and the new venture of combining two outstanding youth programs for area gymnastics," said UW-Eau Claire Director of Athletics Dan Schumacher. "The partnership then directly benefits Blugold Wrestling, as our gymnastics team moves to larger space at the LE Phillips YMCA Indoor Sports Center, this allows existing space to be renovated to assist our wrestling program that has seen significant growth these past 4 years."
The UWEC gymnastics team will move all practices to the LE Phillips YMCA Indoor Sports Center while keeping meets in McPhee.
"Training facilities are key in gymnastics," said Head Gymnastics Coach Danielle Schultzetenberg. "The ability to add soft landings will help us gain more skills, train smarter and safer while also gives us the ability to do more numbers of skills without constant hard landings."
Not only will the move allow for more space to practice but will see the formation and partnership of the YMCA Jr. Blugold Program. This youth program will combine both the University's and the YMCA's youth programs into one and will be held at the LE Phillips YMCA Indoor Sports Center.
"What kid doesn't want to be coached by a college athlete?" said Schultzetenberg. "I believe the collaboration will only improve both programs…we are bringing the best of each to create one program that will better serve the community together."
The move for UWEC Wrestling squad is also a step up. The team will go from a 2,380 square foot practice space to 5,400 square feet by moving into the current gymnastics space. This will allow the entire team to participate in practice together and hold competitions in a consistent location.
Head Wrestling Coach Tim Fader praised the move with regards to team morale.
"Training together is an essential part of how wrestlers improve and learn from the coaching staff," said Fader. "Our program has grown from 15 team members to nearly 50…we believe that a strong wrestling program can help differentiate UW-Eau Claire and attract students who want to continue their athletic career while taking advantage of the high academic standards of this university as well as it's vibrant campus and community."
The wrestling team, who previously used a dance studio as their practice facility, will still hold home meets in the McPhee Center. Remodeling of the new wrestling room will begin after June 1st.