Beyond the Mat

Should WRMS have a separate girls wrestling team?


Taylor Smith

On February 23, 8th graders Justice McBurney and Quincy Summerville, and 7th grader Emma Mehl pose for a picture with their wrestling apparel.

Right now, WRMS has one big wrestling team with 14 girls and 53 boys. At Washburn Rural High School, the teams are separate, with over thirty girls on the girls’ team. Why does WRMS have one big team instead of two, like WRHS? That’s a great question.

For the 2022 wrestling season, boys and girls wrestled together. Usually, girls wrestle other girls in their weight class and boys wrestle boys in their weight class. A weight class is where students are arranged by their weight to try to keep the competition fair. You only compete with other wrestlers in your same weight class to make it a fair match. The only time a girl would wrestle a boy is if nobody else in their weight class is available to wrestle them. This means that the sport itself keeps the genders separate. And if the sport is doing it already, doesn’t it make sense that the school would do it, too?

Coach Parker, the WRHS girls wrestling coach, has strong opinions about a separate girls wrestling team. “Girls wrestling is the fastest-growing sport in the world, regardless of age or gender,” said Parker. “I think girls are starting to realize, ‘yes, I can do anything that boys can do’.” Mr. Chesmore, principal and athletic director at WRMS, agrees. “I think girls like the option to participate in a tough/physical sport,” Chesmore said. “Other female sports don’t necessarily fill that niche.” Splitting the team into two would mean more coaches, more space, and different meet schedules. However, the teams are already competing separately. This season, a group of girls competed in a girls-only meet in Wamego on November 28th.We have added girls only tournaments and a girls bracket to our league tournament the past 2 years,” said Chesmore.

8th grade wrestler Mar’Cellus Robinson-Adams has a different point of view on this. He likes having girls on the team because they can help support each other. “Wrestling is more of a mental sport, so girls and boys wrestling could help with that.” Logan Herrman, a 7th grade girl wrestler, worries that splitting the team might make girls less likely to join. “I just don’t know how many girls would go or how big the team would be.”

Chesmore has said that multiple Kansas districts have agreed to a separate girls season. “League ADs are proposing the additional season to our school boards this spring in hopes we can get approval to have a separate season starting the 23-24 school year,” said Chesmore. So a separate girls season could be right around the corner.