Interest in Girls Wrestling Grows Across Iowa

With a huge jump in numbers, the topic of sanctioning girls wrestling is coming up again and again.


Bryer Rose

Sophomore Kenzie Hoffman takes on senior Maddy Fell in Red Oak earlier in the season.

Kenzie Hoffman, Staff Writer

Waverly-Shell Rock High School will be hosting girls State wrestling for the second year. They are expecting to have over 400 girls participating.  This will be an unofficial State wrestling tournament.

The number of girls in Iowa competing in wrestling went from 93 last year to 543 this year according to Lewis Curtis, Director of Officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “It’s a great trend,” Curtis said about the large increase in girls participating in the sport. There are about 85 schools in Iowa with girls on their rosters. Of those schools, over half have fewer than five girls out. Atlantic has three girls competing–senior Aleigh Bean, as well as sophomores Kenzie Hoffman and Lexie Trotter. They will be participating in the girls State tournament.   

There’s been talk of sanctioning girls wrestling in Iowa according to David Litterer, Athletic Director of Waverly-Shell Rock. “Our school went from 11 girls out for wrestling last year, to 20 this year,” Litterer said. This is their second year hosting girls State wrestling, and they are thrilled about the numbers. “It’s a great opportunity for girls to get some good matches in,” Litterer said. Girls State wrestling is an open tournament, meaning the wrestlers don’t have to qualify, just register. 

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union is debating on sanctioning girls wrestling or not. “Twenty schools have sent letters of support to the Union about sanctioning girls wrestling,” Litterer said.  In order to sanction the sport, “they need 50 schools to send in letters of support.” 

If Iowa was to sanction girls wrestling, girls could no longer wrestle for the boys team. “They would be an independent team from the boys,” Curits said. “If a school wanted to start a program, they wouldn’t necessarily have to hire a coach,” Litterer said.  Waverly-Shell Rock has no paid coach for their girls program, and holds separate practices from the boys. “It’s only a matter of time until girls wrestling becomes a sport in Iowa,” Litterer said.

Bean, Trotter, and Hoffman will wrestle in the State tournament on Friday, Jan. 24 and Saturday, Jan. 25.