Rhode Island becomes 44th state with official girls state championships; RIIL adds girls weight classes for 2023-24
by USA Wrestling Girls High School Development Committee
USA Wrestling’s Girls High School Development Committee, led by Joan Fulp and Andrea Yamamoto, have recognized Rhode Island as the 44th state to host a state girls wrestling championships.
On October 4, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League published a press release announcing the new opportunity for girls wrestling in the 2023-24 season. Included is the integration of girls wrestling into existing dual meet season and in-state tournaments. In addition, girls will be able to compete in 12 weight classes at the RIIL State meet.
RIIL press release
RIIL adding girls wrestling weight classes for 2023-24 winter sports season
WARWICK, R.I. (October 4, 2023) - The Rhode Island Interscholastic League will be providing additional participation opportunities for girls during the 2023-24 winter sports season beginning on Monday, November 27, 2023.
Girls Wrestling weight classes will be offered for the first time in league history as female wrestling will be integrated into the existing Dual Meet Schedule as well as In-State Tournaments offered by member schools during the regular season. The RIIL State Meet will add the opportunity to compete in 12 weight classes exclusive to females with a chance to earn entrance into the 59th New England Championship beginning on Friday, March 1st at the Providence Career & Technical Academy in Rhode Island. This will mark the first time girls weight classes are offered at the RIIL State and New England Championships.
As of January 2023, 37 states sanctioned girls wrestling as an official high school sport. As a result of these new opportunities being offered, girls’ participation in wrestling has climbed steadily throughout the United States in the last two decades. According to the National Federation of State High Schools’ Athletics Participation Survey, national participation rose from 4,975 female participants in 2005 to 7,351 in 2010. The number of female wrestlers then almost tripled to 21,124 by 2018-19 and has since jumped to 49,127 participants in 2022-23 - a 233% increase over that four-year time period.
Within the RIIL, the number of female wrestlers competing with their respective schools’ coed teams has grown significantly over the last decade, jumping from 8 participants in 2014 to 68 last winter (2022-23). According to the National Girls High School Wrestling Summary compiled by the USA Wrestling Girls High School Development Committee, like Rhode Island, the five other high school state associations in New England have experienced a similar upward climb in participation numbers since 2014. The RIIL and Member Schools are excited to offer this opportunity in 2023-24 and hope to mirror the growth of girls wrestling occurring nationally as a result.
Students interested in girls wrestling should contact their school’s Athletic Director for more information
USA Wrestling is excited that the number of state associations with girls wrestling state championships has risen to 44, with only six more states to add to the list.
State Associations with Girls Wrestling in alphabetical order (44)
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming