Simpson College Becomes Third Division-III School To Add Gymnastics Team

ByAndrew Pistone

2 min read

Simpson College Becomes Third Division-III School To Add Gymnastics Team

Slowly but surely, it seems like gymnastics is starting to establish itself as a presence in the landscape of American sports. It’s always a big hit during the Olympic games, and some of that momentum seems to be carrying over as 2021 winds down.

Simpson College in Iowa is expanding its varsity sports program to include both men’s and women’s gymnastics. Both teams will begin competition in the 2022-2023 school year.

Simpson College president Marsha Kelliher did not deny that the Summer Olympics played a part in the school’s interest in adding gymnastics to their athletic offering.

“Gymnastics creates a point of distinction in the recruiting market through these unique opportunities for student athletes. Simpson is modeling a vision for the future of the Olympic movement, which is sport integrated into the community and providing growth opportunities at the NCAA level,” she commented. Via Indanola-ia.com.

With the addition of the programs, Simpson becomes the first university in Iowa to offer men’s gymnastics, and only the third Division III school in the country to have it at the varsity level.

Leading the newly formed gymnastics teams will be a family affair for Simpson College. Colin Payne and Emily Barrett-Payne will head the men and women’s groups, respectively. Colin and Emily are a husband and wife duo looking to get the program off to a great start.

“I look forward to getting started and working alongside a passionate and committed coaching staff,” Barrett-Payne said. Via The Simpsonian.com
“I will do everything in my power and lean heavily on the experience and expertise of our community to make sure this trust is not misplaced,” Payne stated. Via The Simpsonian.com

On average, NCAA Division III gymnastics teams have 18 members. It will be interesting to see how Simpson’s recruiting will unfold. By virtue of their expansion of the athletic program, it stands to reason that they believe should not have to look far for talent. They also won’t have much competition in the state, and the novelty of the program might be a draw for athletes looking to be part of Simpson history.

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