Thursday, June 4, 2020

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Athletic directors to consider girls’ wrestling


EAGLE PHOTO BY ALAINA BEAUTIFUL BALD EAGLE Female wrestlers from Little Wound and Pine Ridge high schools face off during the C-EB/Dupree wrestling invite on February 3. A new division for girls wrestling is being considered for the 2020-21 school year by the SDHSAA.

When the athletic directors from the state’s high schools have their annual meeting later this month, they’ll consider a proposal to add girls’ wrestling to the roster of sports already sanctioned by the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand told the association board Wednesday at its March 5 meeting that the wrestling advisory committee was going to make the recommendation to add girls’ wrestling.

The proposal calls for including four weight classes for girls at the state wrestling championships in 2020-21. Each weight class would include the top eight seeded participants from across the state, regardless of classification or region.

The advisory committee noted that there are more than 100 athletes registered for the girls’ division of the State Youth Wrestling Championship tournament later in March. During the current school year there were more than 35 female wrestlers competing in South Dakota at the high school level.

It’s likely the high school girls who competed in wrestling in the last year wrestled a variety of opponents, both girls and boys, Krogstrand said.

“We fully expect that once this is offered it will explode,” Krogstrand said.

Interest in the sport is already high in western half of the state. Krogstrand said Rapid City Stevens has taken athletes to compete in a girls’ wrestling tournament in Colorado and Hot Springs offers a girls’ division.

South Dakota would likely follow the example set in Missouri where schools had two years to add girls’ wrestling and gauge interest in the sport.

“We’ll have two years to see where the interest is,” Krogstrand said.

The association is also gauging interest in E-sports, planning to make presentations to athletic administrators and school superintendents about the future adoption of the sport and budgetary guidelines.

Participants in E-sports may need a special “sports activities” designation, according to Krogstrand. They would be subject to academic and transfer eligibility rules, but not out-of-season guidelines.

“It’a pretty tough to tell kids they can’t play video games,” Krogstrand said.