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MSHSL adds official Minnesota girls state tournament for 2021-22, the 32nd state to add girls wrestling

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

A girls wrestling team from the Minnesota Storm at a recent competition, courtesy of Minnesota Women's Wrestling Facebook page.

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) voted on Thursday to create an official state high school championships in girls wrestling for the 2021-22 season, making Minnesota the 32nd state association with a girls wrestling program.

This was tweeted by the MSHSL:
The amendment to add a Girls Wrestling Division to the postseason is approved by the @MSHSL Representative Assembly.

Here is the official press release:

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. --- A Girls Wrestling Division during the postseason was approved today when the 48-member Representative Assembly legislative body of the Minnesota State High School League met for its annual meeting. In other action, the Representative Assembly fell two votes short of approving the addition of Boys Volleyball as a League-sanctioned activity.

Proposed bylaw amendments require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Both amendment proposals were approved by 9 of the 16 administrative regions prior to reaching the Representative Assembly for consideration.

“Today's meeting demonstrated the significant desire for youth sports programs to be adopted by the Minnesota State High School League and for students to have the opportunity to represent their school as they compete,” said Erich Martens, the League’s Executive Director. “The decision by our membership to offer our girls in wrestling the chance to compete for individual honors in their own postseason division is a big step. Minnesota now joins other regional states like North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Missouri in offering this opportunity for girls wrestlers.”

The addition of a Girls Wrestling Division in the postseason will be enacted during the 2021-2022 school year. The amendment proposal was approved by a 44-4 vote.

Under the approved amendment, girls will train and compete with the boys’ teams during the regular season, but will have the option of competing in a girls-only individual section and state tournament that would occur simultaneously with the boys postseason individual tournaments. As part of the approved amendment, girls would be eligible to remain a part of the boys’ team for postseason dual tournaments.

During the 2019-2020 season, 153 girls in Minnesota participated in high school wrestling. More than 21,000 female wrestlers are competing nationally.

League Staff will work with the Board of Directors and the leadership of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association in developing models of implementation for the girls postseason. Twelve weight classes are suggested as part of the approved amendment: 95, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 160, 170, 182 and 220.

Numerous media reports about the decision were posted today, including the following:

STAR TRIBUNE: Minnesota girls' wrestling state tournament approved; boys' volleyball plan fails

SCTimes: Girls wrestling postseason is approved by MSHSL; boys volleyball proposal failed

Michigan became the 31st state association to add girls wrestling last week. Just a few years ago, only six states had official girls championships.

State Associations with Girls Wrestling in alphabetical order (32)

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin

USA Wrestling is actively involved in the effort to expand girls high school wrestling opportunity through its High School Girls Development Committee, co-chaired by Joan Fulp and Andrea Yamamoto.