Girls wrestling approved as an emerging sport in Arizona
PHOENIX — Girls will no longer have to wrestle against boys in schools across Arizona.
That’s because the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board voted last month in favor of adding girls wrestling as an emerging sport for the winter season this upcoming school year.
David Hines, executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, said wrestling coaches have been pushing for this for years. He said many of them feel it’s time girls wrestling is added as an emerging sport given the increased interest.
“The only opportunity for girls to compete at the high school level right now, outside of club wrestling, is to wrestle with the boys,” Hines said. “Obviously, we feel that is not fair and is a challenge for the kids.”
He added several girls have done “very well” competing against boys at the state level.
“But we’re at a point where we think we have quite a few girls that participate in wrestling and that they deserve an opportunity to see if we can grow this sport as an emerging sport,” he said.
There will be two or three girls wrestling tournaments for the upcoming season, as well as an end-of-the season competition, which will run in conjunction with the state competition for boys.
Girls will have the option to compete in the state competition against boys, if they choose to.
Hines said adding girls wrestling as an emerging sport creates another opportunity for girl athletes to compete. He said it also creates more scholarship opportunities, given girls wrestling is gaining popularity at the NCAA level.
About 10 other states offer girls wrestling as a championship event. Arizona will now be added to that list.