Girls wrestling may soon become an officially recognized sport in Pa.
Girls wrestling in Pennsylvania is on its way to becoming a fully sponsored sport by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association after passing a 100-school threshold.
Philipsburg-Osceola became the second school district in Centre County, and the 96th in the state, to add girls wrestling after a school board vote on Jan. 26. It joined Bald Eagle Area School District as the only two in the county to offer the sport.
Kelly Rees is the athletic director at Philipsburg-Osceola. She said support to make girls wrestling an official sport has been widespread.
“I think we’ve seen not only the students are interested, but parents," Rees said. "We have some parents who are very supportive of their children and very vocal.”
On Feb. 14, Pennridge School District in Bucks County became the 100th school to add a girls wrestling program. The milestone means girls wrestling is now eligible to move forward with PIAA sponsorship.
If officially recognized, girls wrestling will be allowed to hold PIAA-sanctioned regional and state tournaments and championship events rather than having to compete either with boys wrestling teams or in non-PIAA-sanctioned events.
Justin Fye is the head coach of the wrestling team at Philipsburg-Osceola. He said girls wrestling provides new opportunities for female students and should be officially recognized.
“This is just another opportunity that the girls have to participate in a sport, and it could open the door for a lot of girls," Fye said. "If you look, a lot of colleges now are getting girls wrestling and that could be an opportunity to get a college scholarship.”
Now that the threshold has been reached, the PIAA board of directors will hold three meetings to vote on whether girls wrestling will become a sanctioned sport in the state. It has currently passed one vote and needs two more approvals to become a PIAA sport.