Wrestling has been around since the ancient Olympic games and is still alive and well in California colleges today.
The best wrestling colleges in California offer wrestling together with other sports, extracurricular opportunities, and high-quality academics to help you find your potential and be successful both inside and outside the wrestling room.
For all student-athletes thinking about pursuing wrestling in college, this article is for you. The sport “wrestling” involves two wrestlers who try to pin each other down to the ground using various techniques developed over hundreds of years of practice and competitions.
It takes a lot of strength and endurance to do this successfully, making wrestling one of the world’s oldest and most respected sports. And wrestling colleges in California are a great place to start your dream of becoming a professional wrestler.
Good high schools lead to great colleges, so if you’re serious about becoming a wrestling champion, you should enroll in one of the best wrestling colleges in California. A few top colleges in the state include California Baptist University, California State University – Fresno, Stanford University, San Francisco State University, Menlo College, Lassen Community College, and many more.
The Best Wrestling Colleges in California
The best wrestling colleges in California are some of the best in the country. Some of these schools have produced Olympic, World, and National champions.
In California, other colleges with wrestling teams compete in different Conferences and Divisions. There are 6 College teams in the NCAA Division I, one in the NCCA Division II, three in the NAIA Division, and 10 in the NJCAA Division.
- Location: Stanford, California
- School type: Private
Founded in 1885, Stanford University is a private university in Stanford, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The school is among the best wrestling colleges in California.
Stanford has an elite wrestling program that consistently ranks among the top wrestling colleges across the country. The Cardinal finished the 2017-2018 season ranked sixth nationally after placing third at Nationals and sending five wrestlers to the 2018 NCAA Championships.
California Baptist University
- Location: Riverside, California
- School type: Private
Inland Empire residents will be happy to know that there are plenty of wrestling colleges nearby. One popular option is California Baptist University, which offers a co-ed program with various degree options.
It is also one of the few wrestling schools in Southern California that offers scholarships for their athletes, so it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for some financial help. CBU has been around since 1953 and has created many notable alums who have won an Olympic gold medalists.
While CBU may not have been around as long as other schools on this list, they are still one of the top six wrestling colleges in California due to its high-level coaching staff and impressive alum list.
San Francisco State University
- Location: San Francisco, California
- School type: Public
San Francisco State University is one of the best wrestling colleges in California, with an average acceptance rate of 93%. San Francisco State University is ranked number one in the state because they have a wrestling team that has won the national championship for six consecutive years.
The school also has an Olympic gold medalist and two Olympic bronze medalists on their team. This college is located near the Pacific Ocean, so wrestlers can train year-round and have beautiful weather. San Francisco State competes at the NCAA Division II level.
Fresno State University
- Location: Fresno, California
- School Type: Public
Fresno State is a public research university located in Fresno, California. It is one of the largest schools within the 23-school University of California system and has approximately 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
The school offers degrees from 41 bachelor’s degrees to 18 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees. Their Athletic teams (including wrestling) are known as the Bulldogs. And competed at the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Mountain West Conference since 2013.
- Location: Atherton, California
- School type: Private
- Division: NAIA
To be a member of Menlo’s wrestling team, you must be enrolled as an undergraduate student at the college. You’ll need to complete a physical form and attend mandatory practices twice a week during the fall season from September through November. Competition season begins in early December and goes until late February. Plus, there are optional practices during the spring semester as well for those who are interested.
Lassen Community College
- Location: Susanville, California
- School type: Public
- Division: NJCAA
Lassen offers many sports teams and student organizations to join on campus. The wrestling team competes in the NCJAA Division II West Region Conference with schools like Modesto Junior College, Santa Rosa Junior College, Mt San Antonio College, Sierra College, and more. The team’s mascot is Lassie; their colors are green and gold.
D1 Wrestling Schools in California
|1||California Baptist University||Private||Western Athletic conference (WAC)||NCAA D1|
|2||California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo||Public||Big West Conference||NCAA D1|
|3||California State University – Bakersfield||Public||Western Athletic Conference||NCAA D1|
|4||California State University – Fresno||Public||Mountain West Conference||NCAA D1|
|5||Stanford University||Private||Pacific-12 Conference||NCAA D1|
|6||University of California – Riverside||Public||Big West Conference||NCAA D1|
D2 Wrestling Schools in California
|1||San Francisco State University||Public||California Collegiate Athletic Association||NCAA D2|
NAIA Colleges in California
|1||Menlo College||Private||Golden State Athletic Conference||NAIA|
|2||Simpson University||Private||California Pacific Conference||NAIA|
|3||Vanguard University of Southern California||Private||Golden State Athletic Conference||NAIA|
NJCAA Colleges in California
|1||Lassen Community College||Public||Golden Valley Conference||NJCAA|
|2||Modesto Junior College||Public||Central Valley Conference||NJCAA|
|3||Mt. San Antonio College||Public||CCCAA||NJCAA|
|5||Sacramento City College||Public||CCCAA||NJCAA|
|6||Santa Rosa Junior College||Public||Bay Valley, West Coast Conference||NJCAA|
|8||Skyline College – San Bruno||Public||Coast Conference||NJCAA|
|9||Victor Valley College||Public||Foothill, South Coast Conference||NJCAA|
|10||West Hills College – Lemoore||Public||CCCAA||NJCAA|
Top Military Colleges with Wrestling Programs
The United States Military Academy at West Point
West Point is a military academy located on the banks of the Hudson River just north of New York City and was established as America’s first college for officers. It boasts a prestigious legacy, with alumni including Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
West Point has a rich history of wrestling successes dating back to the 1860s, and during that time, some of its most notable wrestlers include World War II hero Joe Malcewicz, who was also one of its first NCAA champions.
Can You Go to College for Wrestling?
Yes, but not all colleges offer wrestling. If a college doesn’t have a wrestling team, it’s typically because it doesn’t provide any varsity sports. Schools with competitive wrestling teams tend to be larger and more academically oriented than schools with less competitive teams.
The top wrestling colleges in California are as follows: San Francisco State University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and California Baptist University.
How Do You Join a College Wrestling Team?
Joining a college wrestling team can be challenging, but it is possible. It would help if you were accepted into the school of your choice. Once taken, you will need to find out about the school’s wrestling program and if there are open spots for new wrestlers.
If there is an open spot for a new wrestler, then you need to decide if that school is the right fit for you. Consider things like the cost of tuition, location of the school, program size (number of available spots), level of competition at the school, and more when making this decision.
Consider what kind of life experience you want from attending that particular college.
However, you can save yourself the stress of searching for colleges as a student-athletes by joining NCSA to connect to the schools of your choice.
Women’s Wrestling Colleges in California
- Gannon University
- Pacific University
- Oklahoma City University
- Baker University
- North Central College
- McKendree University
- Adrian College
- Warner Pacific University