The Lindenwood University athletics department in St. Charles, Mo., announced this year the addition of women’s gymnastics to its sports portfolio, making a total of 82 institutions that offer women’s gymnastics. Gymnastics will be the 27th program for the Lindenwood University athletics department, which is currently in the candidacy stage of becoming a NCAA Division II member.

Lindenwood University is the first school in 10 years to add the sport of women’s gymnastics (University of Arkansas was added in 2001). Hopefully, Lindenwood University can be a springboard for other schools to add a women’s gymnastics program to their athletic departments.

The Lindenwood University gymnastics program will begin competition during the 2012-2013 school year as a non-divisional program vying for qualification to the USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Championships, which includes NCAA Division I, II, and III programs. In the 2013-2014 school year, the Lady Lions will be an NCAA Division II program which will then be eligible for qualification to NCAA Regional and National Championships.

“I believe this is an incredible opportunity for the sport of gymnastics, Lindenwood and the surrounding community,” said head coach Gretchen Goerlitz. “Young women will also have a great opportunity to be among the ranks of the first incoming classes of gymnasts. Together we will create a legacy and build a program full of traditions, excellence, excitement, and a culture of growth and positivity. ”

The Lady Lions will be the third gymnastics program in the state of Missouri, joining the University of Missouri and Southeast Missouri State University. Gymnastics competitions will be held in the Hyland Performance Arena, which is also the home for the basketball, volleyball, and wrestling programs. In the initial stages of the program, the Lady Lions will be practicing at one of the best equipped Olympic-caliber gymnastics training facilities in the country Aca a