There is a sweeping feeling that dignified girls wrestling is becoming more respected and desirable as we head into 2019 and they themselves surge into the future.
Popular it already is.
According to teamusa.org:
- Since 1994, the number of women who wrestle in high school has grown from 804 to 16,562 (as of 2018)
- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Hawaii, and Washington sponsor a state high school championship.
- Women’s wrestling participation numbers are higher than the NCAA sponsored sports of crew, fencing, skiing, and rifle and NCAA emerging sports of rugby, sand volleyball, and equestrian.
Another aspect of this surge in participation is the great physical and internal benefits provided to the girls involved.
Those in the sports industry have been aware of that for ages.
Julie Maurine Foudy is an American retired soccer midfielder, two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist. She played for the United States women’s national soccer team from 1987–2004. Ms. Foudy finished her international career with 271 caps and served as the team’s captain from 2000–2004 as well as the co-captain from 1991–2000. In 1997, she was the first American and first woman to receive the FIFA Fair Play Award.
In terms of the benefits of sports competition she was once quoted as expressing, “Sports build good habits, confidence, and discipline. They make players into community leaders and teach them how to strive for a goal, handle mistakes, and cherish growth opportunities.”
Another independent confirmation is nice.
At the informative Oregon news source bendbulletin.com they share, “What’s happened is that there are many of us who believe that women’s wrestling is going to save men’s wrestling,” explains longtime Mountain View coach Les Combs. “The flip side to it, too, is that dads who are wrestlers that don’t have sons, one of the things they’ve found out, (wrestling) makes for very confident, very physically mature girls who take care of themselves. They’re not afraid. They’re physically confident. The girls who are wrestlers, they stand up for themselves. The benefits of wrestling are amazing.”
“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life.”… Billie Jean King
Since FCI has been publishing in 2012 we saw women’s collegiate wrestling programs grow from approximately 12 to now around 50.
This was confirmed at SoCalWrestlerGirl.com when they highlighted the addition of another new girls wrestling program. “WCWA will grow to 50 programs for the 2019-2020 season The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has announced that it will add women’s wrestling as a varsity sport during the 2019-2020 season. The school is a public university granting associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees, as well as doctoral degrees in audiology.”
We are so happy to have them.
A reason a lot of the smaller college programs are able to be maintained is that compared to other sports it is relatively inexpensive and when added a school can immediately meet Title IX provisions by adding a women’s wrestling team.
There is more good news. Another collegiate women’s wrestling program is on the horizon.
On December 10, 2018, East Stroudsburg University reported, “East Stroudsburg University President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., announced Monday that the University will add women’s wrestling as an intercollegiate sport beginning in fall 2019.
Women’s wrestling will be ESU’s 21st varsity sport. While not recognized as an NCAA intercollegiate sport, it is governed by the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA) and is in the process of pursuing emerging sport status from the NCAA.
According to ESU’s athletic director, Dr. Gary Gray, ESU wrestling coach Anibal Nieves will initially coach both the men’s and women’s wrestling teams. Nieves, who earned All-America honors at ESU in 1989 and represented Puerto Rico in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, is in his first year as men’s head coach at ESU. His coaching experience includes the previous six years as women’s head coach and men’s assistant coach at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Mass.”
That is very encouraging.
Other national sports organizations and school districts are aware of the phenomenal growth of this dynamic girl’s sport.
At publicschoolreview.com they share the sports leader Max Preps reports that female wrestling at the high school is a growing sport across the country. In fact, the entire sport appears to be on the rise for both male and female athletes. The publication reports on a survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations during the 2010-11 school year that showed a .3 percent increase in the number of male wrestlers and a 19.8 percent increase in the number of female wrestlers. That year, 273,732 high school boys competed in the sport and 7,351 female athletes competed at the high school level.
In addition, five states in the U.S. now hold high school-sanctioned championships for female wrestlers, including Texas, California, Hawaii, Washington and Massachusetts. Pennsylvania also recently added its name to that list, holding the first sanctioned state championship that attracted 178 female wrestlers from around the state. The sport is growing, but many involved in female wrestling believe it still has a long way to go.
The informative team at sportsdestinations.com notes, “Participation in high school sports increased for the 28th consecutive year in 2016-17. Those numbers were bolstered by the largest one-year increase in girls’ participation in 16 years, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Part of that increase likely can be attributed to more girls in wrestling programs around the country. Almost 3,000 schools (2,091) reported having at least one female wrestler, according to the NFHS. That’s 150 more than in 2015-16. What’s more, the number of female wrestlers between 2012-13 and 2016-17 increased from 8,727 to nearly 14,600.”
The leader in supporting female collegiate wrestling programs is the WCWA and now they have a dynamic website that matches their enthusiasm.
The WCWA is a non-profit organization that was formed by collegiate coaches for the betterment of female collegiate wrestling. The WCWA encompasses all divisions of women’s college wrestling through membership and compliance of WCWA bylaws.
So, having said all of that, the future continues to look bright for competitive collegiate women’s wrestling.
The schools, news organizations and increasingly the world is noticing.
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OPENING PHOTO Simon Fraser University photo credit