THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — In the 2019-20 season, for both men and women, USA Water Polo will sponsor the first-ever Division III national championships in the sport of water polo.
The Division III water polo championship is a joint effort by the Division III water polo institutions and USA Water Polo to provide Division III student-athletes the opportunity for a meaningful postseason competition in addition to offering an incentive for other Division III institutions to add the sport on a varsity level.
"This is a huge step for the sport of water polo," stated Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Executive Director Jenn Dubow. "We are very excited to work with USA Water Polo through this endeavor. Our teams are very competitive, and having a Division III national championship will help us to showcase those teams even more, and help us to grow the sport."
"USA Water Polo is proud to lead the effort in the establishment of the Collegiate Division 3 Championship," declared John Abdou - the Chief High Performance Officer of USA Water Polo. "The collaborative efforts that brought this to fruition is a testament to the ability of our community to work together for the greater good of the sport. We believe that this event will be a catalyst for growth at the varsity level and serve as another key piece of infrastructure for water polo in America."
Beginning with men's water polo in December of 2019, and followed by women's water polo in May of 2020, two teams from both the SCIAC and the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), will square off in a four-team Division III national championship tournament. The SCIAC will assume hosting responsibilities for both genders in the first year of the championship (2019-20). Hosting responsibilities will then rotate every other year.
"The Collegiate D-III National Championships will provide a meaningful opportunity for male and female D-III water polo athletes to compete on a national level," said Cal Lutheran Athletic Director Dan Kuntz. "This is a positive step to support the growth of D-III water polo programs. It also provides our Kingsmen and Regals an opportunity to compete nationally with the top water polo programs in the country."
"I am very excited for this opportunity," said Cal Lutheran water polo head coach Craig Rond. "It is bound to truly boost the student-athlete experience of ours, and all Division III water polo programs."
The teams that are eligible for the Division III national championship are as follows:
Men's programs include Austin College, Caltech, Cal Lutheran, Chapman, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS), Connecticut College, Johns Hopkins, La Verne, MIT, Millikin (starts in two years), Monmouth College, Occidental, Penn. State Behrend, Pomona-Pitzer, Redlands, Washington & Jefferson and Whittier.
Women's programs include Austin, Caltech, Cal Lutheran, Carthage, Chapman, CMS, Connecticut College, Grove City, La Verne, Macalester, Millikin (starts in two years), Monmouth, Occidental, Penn. State Behrend, Pomona-Pitzer, Redlands, Utica, Washington & Jefferson, Whittier and Wittenberg.
SCIAC Release: Division III Collegiate Water Polo National Championship
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director