Idaho holds first state-sanctioned all-girls wrestling tournamentIdaho made history over the weekend, hosting the state’s first sanctioned all-girls high school wrestling tournament. It’s a step fans of the sport hope eventually leads to an all-girls state championship event.
The tournament comprised more than 40 wrestlers from 22 schools in Idaho, Utah and Oregon. Girls wrestling has grown in recent years, and since the 2015-16 school year participation nationwide is up 27 percent, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).From the Idaho Statesman:
“It’s growing. It’s no longer an oddity to see a female wrestler,” said wrestling coach Todd Cady. “Now, it’s just ‘wrestlers.’ It’s not boys or girls.”
Also in attendance was Katherine Shai, a member of Team USA’s wrestling team. Shai finished third in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials and was the World University Champion in 2008.
Shai couldn’t help but smile when seeing the next wave of female wrestlers.
“These are pioneers who are starting this in Idaho. It’s monumental. It’s a huge event,” Shai said. “It’s a big step and a big deal.”
Similar breakthroughs are taking place throughout the nation. Iowa earlier this year hosted the state’s first high school girls wrestling tournament, and in Wisconsin advocates are pushing for an all-girls state tournament.
According to the NFHS, more than 2,000 high schools nationwide offer girls wrestling to students.
Click here to learn more about what’s happening in Idaho.