Why isn’t girls wrestling an official MHSAA sport?

Cam Roth

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The 2018-2019 wrestling season was a groundbreaking year for the advancement of girls’ wrestling. Girls who had previously been competing strictly on the school’s boy team belatedly got a chance to compete in their own state tournament. This tournament was funded and administered by Michigan Wrestling Association and not MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletics Association). 

A total of 167 girls from throughout the state competed at this tournament, this blew the predicted number of individuals taking part out of the water. In the end, 15 girls from separate weight classes were elected state champions. Because the tournament was run exactly the same way as the MHSAA boys state tournament, the girls were able to experience what it feels like to partake in an official state final match. This presses the question: why isn’t girls’ wrestling an official sport of the MHSAA? 

Numerous high school teams are hoping to make this a reality. Forest Hills Central had the largest group of girls in the state of Michigan at 8 girls on the roster. Head coach Brad Anderson hopes to increase this number to 12 in time for the 2019-2020 season. At FHC, the boys and girls practice together as a singular program, however, they are split into their own respective teams when competing. 

In the future, if enough schools are able to show as much dedication and participation as FHC, the MHSAA will surely acknowledge girls wrestling as an official varsity sport. Many coaches across the state are extremely passionate about creating a more developed season for girls wrestling programs. Expansion of girls wrestling teams in Michigan will hopefully soon catch the attention of the MHSAA and encourage the certification of girls wrestling as an official varsity sport. The change in Michigan could perhaps be enough to fuel the expansion of girls wrestling across the country.