The Dickinson State wrestling program has agreed to be an affiliate member of the Heart of America Conference. The move will allow the program to be a part of a conference qualifying tournament. In addition, the team will be able to receive all-conference and player-of-the-week awards.
"We are excited about this small change for our team. The move does not affect our schedule, but guarantees us a place in a conference qualifying tournament," stated Blue Hawk wrestling coach Justin Schlecht. "Being a part of this conference will keep our travel costs down."
The NAIA requires schools to be a part of a conference or be placed in a group of independent schools for the national qualifying tournament. Athletic director Pete Stanton stated, "This move worked out well for our program. It gives us a conference in wrestling and prevented us from having to travel a great distance for an Independent qualifying tournament."
The HAC has many of the same teams that the Blue Hawks have competed against in past regional conference tournaments. "It is a good move for the sport of wrestling at the NAIA level to have all teams involved in a conference of some sort," stated Schlecht.
The Blue Hawks will open their season in January of 2018.