IGHSAU officially sanctions girls wrestling for the 2022-2023 season

Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 5:14 PM CST
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CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) - Girls wrestling will officially be a high school sport in Iowa.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced Saturday evening they will sanction the sport starting the 2022-2023 school year. The decision to include the increasingly popular sport was made at the union’s January 12 meeting of its board of directors, making it the 34th state to do so.

The announcement was made on Saturday evening, during the fourth girls state wrestling tournament at Xtream Arena.

“We think there’s a great foundation in place for the success of this sport and we intend to fully support these Iowa Girls as they continue their pursuit of championships,” Jean Berger, IGHSAU executive director, said, in a statement. “As the sanctioning process unfolded, the Board was able to quickly approve this new opportunity for our girls and schools across the state. The increase in participation, the growth in youth wrestling and the willingness of our schools to commit to the sport all factored into this decision.”

Nearly 700 girls participated in the tournament, which has been sponsored by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association. Only 87 girls participated in the tournament in 2019.

“The journey to sanctioning girls wrestling as a sport for the IGHSAU has been a labor of love,” Erin Kirtley, IGHSAU associate director and wrestling administrator, said, in a statement. “I’m honored to have been given the job as a catalyst to get this part of the process accomplished for the girls in our state. While we have closed the book on formal sanctioning, we look forward to opening the next one now as we highlight all the great stories our female wrestlers are continuing to write. The IGHSAU has said from the beginning that our intent is to do what is best for the girls who participate. We look forward to giving them the same amazing experiences as the other ten sports under our umbrella, and to leave nothing spared when it comes to building them as student athletes and leaders. We also look forward to supporting the coaches and officials who serve alongside these athletes, and to give their fans a greater appreciation for what these females already do day in and day out.”

Officials said that 58 schools across the state have committed to sponsoring programs so far.

Wrestling will be the 11th sport sanctioned by the state’s governing body for girls high school sports. The last to be added was bowling in 2007, according to officials.

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