Pratt High School welcomes more girls to wrestling camp for anticipated banner year coming.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association voted on April 26 to add the 23rd Kansas high school sport: girls wrestling. This makes Kansas the 15th state to officially recognize a girls wrestling division for high schools.
Out of the 65 representatives that attended the vote, 63 voted to pass it. The decision assures that there will be an official KSHSAA sponsored girls state tournament next season. It also gives a two year transition period when girls can choose to wrestle in either the boys or girls divisions, but after, the girls will wrestle girls.
Livia Swift was the first Greenback girl to finish an entire season after Pratt added a girls program this past year. She competed in three tournaments and two duals, including the unofficial girls state where she placed third. Swift isn’t happy about how long this vote took to get passed, but is excited for what this means for her sport moving forward.
“I think that the passing of girls wrestling should have been done years ago or started out with a boys and girls division,” said Swift. “I hope girls wrestling getting sanctioned will impact our girls program positively and encourage more girls go out and stick with the program.”
The PHS head wrestling coach, Tate Thompson, is also looking forward to what this means for the future of his program.
“This is a big, big win for the sport of wrestling, the state of Kansas, the female athletes, and our school! Now there are two sports to choose from in the winter and that allows us to keep more kids connected to the school and motivated to do well so they can participate in girls' wrestling,” said Thompson.
He also hopes it will encourage more girls to participate in the sport all the way through high school.
“We have had a lot of girls' wrestlers introduced to wrestling in the PWC clinic, but it always tapers off as they get to high school and no longer want to wrestle with the boys,” Thompson said. “Girls wrestling is nothing but positive for wrestling. The interest has been there and sanctioning the girls will get more to come out and stay out.”
There were a few girls who wrestled at LMS this past year and Thompson hopes to build on that and, within these next few years, have a full team. He will host a girls only camp this summer on May 30 to start early and get an idea of how many girls are interested after KSHSAAs decision.