Wrestling with a Decision

NSAA will vote to add girls wrestling

Gizela Kwihangana, Reporter

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The proposal has been made, the conversation on a sanctioned girls wrestling team has started.  Beginning the 2019-2020 school year, parents will no longer need to be concerned about their daughters wrestling boys.  At least that will be the case if High Plains Community Athletic Director Andy Vrbka has his way. 

In order for girls wrestling to become a sanctioned sport, each Nebraska State Activities Association (NSAA) legislative districts will need to vote on it once again.  Currently, that vote is scheduled for January.  

“So far three districts have passed girls wrestling,” Benson Athletic Director Francis Szynskie said. 

In early November, District 2, which covers Benson High School, voted in favor of the proposal.  53 representatives, including Szynskie, voted in favor of adding girls wrestling while 20 were against it.  12 individuals choose to abstain.  

“If the majority districts vote for girls sanctioned wrestling, then there’s a big chance it will happen,” Szynskie said. 

The final vote in January may be the start of a bigger revolution for girl wrestlers in Nebraska.  

“Our Nebraska girls deserve better than what we are giving them,” Vrbka said. 

As of this moment, if a girl is interested in wrestling, she must technically join the boys team.  This has created problems for both genders, specifically for boys who sometimes abstain from wrestling girls.    

In Iowa, a home-school sophomore refused to wrestle a girl at the Iowa state wrestling tournament.   He was forced to default his match and as a result, he was placed in the consolidation rounds.   

“Both genders will feel more comfortable wrestling their own gender, and it will avoid any advantages males may have over females at the same weight class,” Benson Head Wrestling Coach Marcus Hilario said. 

Even though both genders may weigh the same, boys tend to be both stronger and physically larger. 

“Girls are putting in the time at practice and the effort to learn new skills. Those skills are then put to a test by competing in a hand to hand combat sport against males,” Vrbka said.  “We must remember every student needs to have access to learn through the sport of wrestling girls.”  

Boys and girls will be allowed to practice alongside one another such as they do in cross-country and swimming, they will not be permitted to spar with one another.  

“The female wrestling team won’t be any different than the male wrestling team,” Hilario said.  Expectations and rules will be the same for both.” 

Having separate wrestling team for boys and girls isn’t only wanted, but needed for an equal future.  

In Nebraska, the opportunities for girls during the winter sports season are limited to basketball and swimming and diving; however, only 41 of the 282 schools offer swimming and diving whereas 229 of the 282 schools have wrestling.    

“The local, state and national numbers are continuing to grow. Girls wrestling is not going away,” Vrbka said. “Now is the time for member schools to work together to create fairness and opportunity for all their student athletes in wrestling.” 

If the proposal passes through, this may affect the college level depending on the quantity of participants.  Currently in Nebraska, there are two schools that have a girls wrestling team, Midland University and York College.   

“Females will benefit from all the health benefits wrestling offers, but also the possible scholarships they can earn to wrestle in college,” Hilario said. 

Depending on the voting outcome in January, girls in Nebraska will receive the same opportunity to wrestle just like the boys.  It will only be one school year until the whistle blows to signal the start of a new state wrestling tournament.  One where boys and girls are no longer competing against one another, but instead alongside each other.