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The inaugural California State Girls Wrestling Invitational confirms the progress of girls high school wrestling

The first CIF State Girls Wrestling Invitational is more than an opportunity for female athletes to showcase their physical fortitude. It’s a confirmation to the many that mightily push away obstacles and endured opposition to make the inaugural event possible.

“Survival of the fittest is the best way to describe the effort,” USA Wrestling National Women’s coach Terry Steiner said. “Many girls had to fight their parents, coaches, school administration, and endure insults from males just to wrestle on boys’ teams when girls’ teams didn’t exist.”

“Their determination to fight against social resistance paid off toward the development of a sanctioned girlsonly tournament in California. It’s a big sign of progress for the sport of girls wrestling.”

The historical invitational comes on the heels of successful state regional tournaments since 2006. Last year, the regionals drew 704 athletes and 173 schools statewide. The girls’ invitational is the first event of the CIF Regional and State Championship master plan to balance the number of postseason athletic experiences for boys and girls.

“The CIF has been building up to this event the last couple of years,” CIF State Executive Director Marie M. Ishida said. “As the popularity and number of female wrestlers continues to increase, the CIF is committed to the philosophy, if you build it, they will come. The CIF is pleased to offer this new event and we are hopeful it will grow into an event that will mirror the boys’ championships.”

Nationwide, nearly 6,150 high school girls wrestled in 2010, according to the National Federation of State School Associations, nearly three times as many 10 years earlier. Statewide the numbers have nearly doubled within the decade going from 752 in 2001 to currently 1,493.

While those numbers pale in comparison to the nearly quarter‐million boys who wrestle nationwide, there are other signs of advancement for the women’s sport. Women’s wrestling is now an Olympic sport and featured on some college campus. More high schools nationwide are offering girls only teams, with the hotbeds being in states like California, Hawaii, and Texas.

And when opposition surfaced, some high‐school aged girls used the legal system to participate. They took advantage of Title IX, a federal mandate that governs the overall equity of treatment and opportunity in athletics. In other words, if there is no girls’ team for them, they should be able to join boys’ teams.

CIF Girls Wrestling State Invitational

Patricia Miranda is one who helped paved the way for change in California. The daughter of political refugees from Brazil, Miranda began her wrestling career at 13‐years‐old by becoming the first female to wrestle at Redwood Middle School in 1992 and Saratoga High School in 1996. Her father was a strong proponent for education and his daughter’s safety. As a result, he initially blocked Miranda to wrestle.

He once threatened to sue her high school for allowing his daughter to wrestle on the boys’ teams. He eventually permitted her to participate as long as she could protect herself and maintain a 4.0 grade point

Miranda eventually wrestled at Stanford University and earned a spot on the all‐male NCAA Division I roster as a 125‐pound starter. During her senior year in 2002, Miranda became only the second woman in NCAA history to beat a male opponent in competition and the first in more than a decade to do so at the time. Moreover, she became the first American woman in history to receive a medal (bronze) in women’s wrestling at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. While she is considered a pioneer for the sport, Miranda credits
others for her involvement in wrestling.

“My high school coach (Lloyd Asato) was a key because he opened one of the doors,” she said. “When I told him I was interested in joining the team, he told me to come out and give it a try. He didn’t treat me any
different because I was a female. He told me I had to fight my own battle in an effort to be a member of the team. At the end of the day, that’s all I wanted. I wanted a fair chance to compete.”

Now, all high school girls statewide have that opportunity to grapple for a state championship against their female peers. It’s a fortuity that materialized because many girls sidestepped the obstacles, endured social resistance and fought for change.

Who May Compete in the Girls Wrestling State Invitational?

* Girls must have completed the Weight Assessment Program and be listed on the schools National
Wrestling Coaches Association Pre‐Match Weigh‐In Form presented at the event weigh‐ins.

* Must have qualified from the following:

North: North Coast Section/Oakland Section Girls’ Tournament: 4 Qualifiers
Sac‐Joaquin Section/Northern Section Girls’ Tournament: 4 Qualifiers
Central Coast Section/San Francisco Section Girls’ Tournament: 4 Qualifiers

South: Regional to include Central, Los Angeles City, San Diego and
Southern Sections: 12 Qualifiers.

Weight Classes: 98, 103, 108, 114, 118, 122, 126, 132, 138, 146, 154, 165, 189, 235

Time Schedule: Friday, Feb. 25 (Tournament begins 9 a.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 26 (Tournament begins 9 a.m.; Finals 6 p.m.)

CIF Girls Wrestling State Invitational

Awards: Individuals Awards Places (1st through 6th) & Team Awards Places (1st & 2nd)
Admission: Both Days (Adult General Admission) $12
(High School Students, Children, Seniors 65+) $8
Parking: Both Days (Autos) $5 & (RVs) $10
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