High School Wrestling: Girls will have their own state tourney

Girls will have their own high school state wrestling tournament next season.

The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association fulfilled a lengthy pursuit of sanctioning a girls state tourney by a unanimous vote of its committee members on Tuesday. That’s a major step in identifying girls wrestling as an “emerging sport” status with the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

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Girls are allowed to wrestle in all grades in Ohio, but only two have qualified for the boys individual state wrestling tournament. The OHSWCA girls state tourney will make its debut from Feb. 22-23 at Hilliard Davidson High School.

“It is our goal to make this a first-class event,” OHSWCA President Dean Conley said in a release. “We have been working on this for quite some time.”

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According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association, there were 18 states – now 19 – that sanction a girls state wrestling tourney. New Mexico joined the club on June 13. That trend is gaining momentum: six were added in 2018.

Last season, Miami East sophomore Olivia Shore was the first Ohio girl to win an opening-round match at the state tournament and was the second girl to qualify for the event. She qualified for the Division III state tourney at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in March, going 1-2 at 106 pounds.

“It’s been a dream since I was 6 years old,” Shore told the Dayton Daily News about possibly placing. “It’s something I really want to do and I’m not going to stop until I get it done.”

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She was among more than 200 girls who participated on Ohio boys high school wrestling teams last season.

The Ohio Athletic Committee is a longtime sponsor of girls junior high and youth state wrestling tournaments.

The OHSWCA was instrumental in the inclusion of a state dual team wrestling tournament, which made its debut with the OHSAA in 2013. That is held at OSU’s St. John Arena in Columbus a month before the season-ending individual state tourney.

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