MONMOUTH, Ill. — Monmouth College Director of Athletics Roger Haynes announced the Division III institution located in Monmouth, Ill., will discontinue its men’s and women’s varsity water polo programs at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
Monmouth elevated its water polo programs to varsity status for the 2013-14 academic year. Per a release from the institution, “Both programs have attracted students from Illinois and several other U.S. states, but a decrease over the last several years of the number of Midwest high school students who participate in the sport was a major factor in deciding to end the sport on the varsity level for men and women, according to Monmouth Director of Athletics Roger Haynes.”
“Another factor that contributed to the decision is a lack of opponents available in the Midwest. NCAA Division III women’s water polo has a total of 20 programs that compete in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York. Men’s water polo has only 15 NCAA Division III programs, and Monmouth is one of only two NCAA Division III programs not located on the East or West coasts.”
Historically, Monmouth has been among the most successful programs in men’s and women’s water polo since 2008.
The 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Men’s Collegiate Club Heartland Division Champion, the Fighting Scots captured the 2012 Men’s Division III National Collegiate Club Championship versus Washington University in St. Louis during Monmouth’s final season as a club program.
Following the program’s rise to varsity status for the 2013 academic year, the Fighting Scots finished third (2013), fourth (2016), fifth (2014, 2015), sixth (2017) and seventh (2018) at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Championship prior to electing to forego the 2019 event. In league competition, Monmouth finished 10th (2013, 2015) in the CWPA Southern Division-West Region prior to the formation of the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) and Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) prior to the 2016 season.
In the MAWPC, the program notched sixth (2016) and seventh (2017, 2018, 2019) place marks at the MAWPC-West Region Championship against predominantly Division II and III institutions.
In women’s varsity competition, Monmouth was among the contenders to dominate the CWPA Division III ranks. Since 2014, the Fighting Scots finished second (2018), third (2019), fifth (2017), sixth (2016) and eighth (2014, 2015) in CWPA Division III regular season play with third (2019), fifth (2017) sixth (2016), seventh (2014, 2018) and eighth (2015) place marks at the CWPA Division III Championship.
In 2019 at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., Monmouth entered the stage as a championship contender as the Fighting Scots downed Carthage College by a 12-7 final score to capture Third Place at the CWPA Division III Championship. Senior Becca Dabrowski garnered Most Valuable Player honors at the championship becoming the first athlete from a program other than the championship team to garner MVP accolades.
After the 2020-21 school year, Monmouth will have 22 varsity athletic teams who compete at the NCAA Division III level.