Jacob Meseke | editor in chief
Wrestling isn’t just for boys anymore.
Girls wrestling is coming to WHS, with more than half a dozen on the team.
Although WHS has had a few girls wrestlers in the past, none have participated in high school since KSHSAA officially separated the activity from boys wrestling in the 2019-2020 school year.
As with every new program, the team faces some challenges.
“Some challenges we face are that all but one of the girls haven’t wrestled before,” head coach Tyler Douglas said. “There are some girls who are familiar with wrestling. A challenge is teaching everyone from scratch, which is a great problem to have because everyone is in the same boat.”
Despite the lack of experience, Douglas expects big things in the girls’ first season.
“I would like to have in our first season a couple of state qualifiers. Based on the athletic talent that has shown up to interest meetings, we have a high probability of having multiple state qualifiers.”
Douglas said one of his main pitches when recruiting wrestlers was opportunities for scholarships.
“The opportunities in this sport for girls might be better than men. A girl wrestler at the high school level has a higher probability of receiving a full ride scholarship to college than a boy does simply because of how Title IX works. Presenting these opportunities could open the eyes of girls and regular people in this community to the idea that girls can wrestle and be successful here and at the next level,” Douglas said.
“I decided to go out with a bunch of my friends and we thought it would be fun. My dad also suggested that I should go out,” junior Sienna Jones said.
The support for the sport is increasing in Kansas. Last year there were about 1,500 girls wrestlers in the state. There were 178 schools with girls teams represented at the state meet last year. According to NFHS there are 21,124 girl wrestlers in the nation with 2,890 teams.
The girls had their first practice November 14. There are some things that the girls are getting used to.
“The first couple practices were kind of rough because we were doing a lot of things that we weren’t really used to doing. Wrestling is just different from any of the other sports I’ve done. I thought I was in shape after cross country season, but after practice I realized that I’m not. Overall it’s been fun though,” junior Sophia Castillo said.
The girls will have a slightly different schedule than the boys, although most meets are combined. State combines 1-4A (1-3A in boys), and will take place February 22-23 in Salina.
The girls first meet will be on December 10 at Clay Center.
“I hope to gain more experience and see how meets work as a wrestler in my first meet,” Castillo said.
Listen to Castillo, Jones and Kadence Guinn discuss the first week of practice on the Seniortis podcast.
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