Wrestling is king at Sedro-Woolley High School. The boy’s team has nine state titles, including six in a row from 2002 through 2007. The girl’s wrestling team wins titles too. Yes, you read that right — high school girl’s wrestling. The Cubs are currently four-time defending state champions.
“We have loggers,” said Sedro-Woolley girl’s wrestling coach Barb Morgan. “We have kids of loggers. We have farm kids. We have big, strong kids.”
High school girl’s wrestling isn’t a club sport, it’s actually governed by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, just like the boys. Washington has its own girls classification, and it is one of only five states in the country to offer a girls-only state tournament (Texas, California, Massachusetts and Hawaii are the others).
That separation has opened the door for massive growth. The number of high school girl’s wrestlers in Washington jumped from 376 in 2007 to more than 1,200 this year. Sedro-Woolley has seen its turnout increase as well, going from four girls eight years ago to 32 this season.
“Wrestling is unique,” said Sedro-Woolley junior Tinerra Adams. “It’s only you out there on the mat. You can’t rely on someone else to help you out or show you a move. It’s all about what you know at that moment.”
Most high school girl’s wrestling programs across the state and the country are mixed with the boys. They have the same coach and the same practice schedule. That’s not the case at Sedro-Woolley. Instead of working out with the guys in the high school’s mat room, the girls choose to trek to an elementary school across town for their own space.
“When we wrestle with the boys, they’re rude,” said Sedro-Woolley junior Taylor Dawson. “They try to beat us up. In here, we get to wrestle each other instead of the boys wrestling us.”
The high school girl’s wrestling system isn’t perfect in Washington yet. There are still several issues to overcome, including scheduling conflicts and a problem with the uniforms.
“We go to tournaments and there are still girls wearing boys singlets,” Morgan said. “They’re wearing shirts underneath because they don’t cover enough.”
While there are issues, high school girl’s wrestling in Washington is clearly taking major strides in the right direction. Morgan believes the sport has improved “dramatically” over the last ten years.
“These girls have so many more opportunities than I had when I was in school,” Morgan said. “It’s because someone stood up and fought for them, so it’s my turn to stand up and fight for it.”
She’s fighting for them and they’re fighting for themselves. Sedro-Woolley goes for its fifth straight state crown at Mat Classic XXV in Tacoma. Even if the Cubs don’t win the crown, they’re helping pave the way for high school girl’s wrestling in Washington, and that’s a victory all in itself.
What do you think about the progress of high school girl’s wrestling in Washington? How about across the country? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you’d like to watch the story I put together for my television station, check out the video below. Thanks for visiting http://allaroundtim.com!