Female wrestlers continue hope for growth of sport

While WHS only had two girls wrestle, girls wrestling is growing in popularity. However, the athletes say the sport still has a long way to go.
Female wrestling is finally getting more recognition, but female wrestlers are still discriminated against for being a woman in a “male sport”.
“People question the motive I have for wrestling,” sophomore Marlee Street said.
“Male oppentes or other teams will throw out that girls aren’t that good because they are girls,” sophomore Skylan Boone said.
The female wrestlers hope the sport will be treated more like their male counterparts in terms of recognition and respect.
Street said she hopes that it becomes “more of an equal sport. There is still a big difference between the girls and the guys.”
“Some of the guys’ girlfriends will call me names,” Street said.
Freshman Brooklyn Jackman hopes “that we are treated equally.”
While female wrestling has not yet become popular as a sport at WHS, it is growing in other school districts. Amitria McNack was the very first female wrestler from Clinton to medal at a state competition. She won third place at the fourth female Missouri state wrestling championships.
Wrestling in general is already a difficult sport, but young female wrestlers main obstacle this past year is lack of opponents to wrestle. According to MSHSAA rules wrestlers have to wrestle the same sex. The population of high school wrestling is mainly male wrestlers. Leaving the female wrestlers wanting more females to join the team.
“I hope more girls join wrestling,” said Boone
“The girls wrestling team could use more wrestlers,” said Jackman
For years women were too much of a distraction to be a part of a wrestling team. During the 1993-94 season, The University of Minnesota constructed the first female wrestling team in American history.
Times certainly have changed since the ‘90’s. According to the NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) OPC system in 1994 there were an overall of 804 female wrestlers. There has been an increase of over 28,000 female competitors in America. Female wrestling is unquestionably growing as a sport, but still has a long way to go in terms of participation and respect. As of 2020, the NIJCCA announced that they would finally recognize female wrestling as an emerging sport. Even though young women are finally getting recognized, they still have to work harder everyday to prove they are just as good as the male wrestlers. MSHSAA first recognized female wrestling during the 2018-2019 school year.
“The points of interest have been reviewed by the MSHSAA Staff and Wrestling Advisory Committee and will be used to guide the continued implementation of Girls Wrestling under the jurisdiction of the MSHSAA for the 2019-2020 wrestling season, the second season of existence for Girls Wrestling.” said MSHSAA