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VA Womens Wrestling

Sara  Bahoura

Sara Bahoura

Womens Director

2017-2018 Virginia Girls High School Wrestling - End of Season Report

The Virginia girl’s high school wrestling season experienced consistent growth compared to the 2016-2017 season, in both the number of participants and tournaments offered. While opportunities for our high school girls to participate in the sport of wrestling continues to be through mixed gender teams and competitions, the number of girls only events during the VHSL season and the USA Wrestling season took big steps this last year.

Competing for their high school wrestling team, the National Federation of High Schools reported that Virginia had a total of 246 girls wrestling across 100 high schools competing. The OPC (The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Optimal Performance Calculator) numbers for Virginia’s girls were at 290 girls hydrated at the start of the wrestling season. This was a jump from last year’s OPC hydration number, which was 234. See Appendix A.

Many first time girls VHSL tournaments were also ran this season, while some experienced their second season. The first on the calendar was the Lady Devils tournament, which moved to December. This was followed by the JV girls event at Mills Godwin High School. Both events experienced a nice turn out and fueled the start to the girls season. Later in January, the Girls Pennisula Punisher, a smaller but more regional event, put together 2-5 woman brackets across most of the weight classes. Finally, at the Virginia Girls Invitational Championships, our numbers jumped from 52 in 2017 to an impressive 74 in 2018.

Throughout the communication and marketing process for last season’s events, we found that the biggest barrier to entry was the schools' competition calendar. If a school didn't plan to attend the girls VHSL tournament due to a coinciding boy's event, the female(s) on the team traveled to the boys event instead. This occurred with many of our nationally ranked females or girls who have competed at USA Wrestling sanctioned girls events in past seasons.

The approval of a girls state high school wrestling championships across the nation garnered a lot of attention this year. Georgia, Oregon, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Jersery, and Maine all will host an official girls state wrestling championships for the first time in the 2018-2019 season. Arizona and Colorado will hold a state championships, but are considered still in the emerging status or pilot phase by their high school interscholastic governing body. This progress is very exciting for the state of Virginia, as our numbers are competitively in the middle of the ranks of these states. As a nation, the number of girls wrestling grew by 13.5%. See Appendix A.

By the stats, girls wrestling is considered one of the fastest growing sports in the nation. Virginia, in comparison to the hydration numbers in states that do not have girls wrestling as a sanctioned official sport, is a leader in numbers and growth.

Next year’s high school season will welcome the 3rd season of girls events, with one event moving locations and the addition of a 5th girls high school event. We are looking forward to an increase in numbers and quality of competitions across the state. We are focused on modeling our program after power house states who have recognized national success, and are excited to see Virginia grow in both numbers and quality this coming season.

Sara Bahoura

VAWA Women’s Director

Appendix A


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2017 Team VA Women

About the Womens Program

  • Since 1994, the number of women who wrestle in high school has grown from 804 to over 11,496.
  • Over 30 colleges now sponsor a varsity wrestling program.
  • Since 2004, women’s wrestling is now a recognized Olympic sport.
  • California, Oregon, Guam, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, Hawaii and Washington sponsor a state high school championship.
  • Women’s high wrestling participation numbers are higher than the NCAA sponsored sports of crew, fencing, skiing, and rifle and NCAA emerging sports of rugby, sand volleyball and equestrian.
  • NWCA conducts a 16-team National Dual Meet Championship in conjunction with the NWCA/Cliff Keen Collegiate National Duals
  • The NWCA in conjunction with USA Wrestling and Lock Haven University conducted the first of its kind CEO Leadership Academy for coaches of women’s teams.
  • Since 2015, the NWCA has invited 20 Coaches to take part in the NWCA CEO Academy for Women’s Coaches as part of the NWCA Traditional Leadership Academy in Fort Lauderdale.
  • NWCA has been instrumental in getting women’s wrestling added as a new sport a number of schools

   Virginia Wrestling leads the push for girls wrestling within the state for all age groups and styles.

In the 2017 season, 227 high school girls went out for wrestling through their school and 257 girls of all ages purchased USAW membership cards.

VAWA sanctions and runs the official girls elementary, middle school, and high school Folkstyle and Freestyle Virginia State Championships for girls.