The VHSL executive committee on Wednesday, Sept. 21, voted to sanction girls wrestling as a separate sport, the culmination of a years-long effort by advocates in the wrestling community.
“This means the sport is going to become more fair and accessible to female athletes,” said Hopewell wrestling coach Rich Halas, who coached Blue Devils senior Aravely Avila-Jimenez to a state title in the 225-pound classification of the 2022 Virginia Girls Wrestling Championship.
“Our state has taken a huge step to give more ladies opportunities for high school athletic competition and college scholarships.”
Hopewell senior Aravely Avila-Jimenez took home a state title in the 225-pound classificatio…
As it stands, there is no girls wrestling division in Virginia. Female competitors have to compete with boys. Separate tournaments specifically for girls, like the Virginia Girls Wrestling Championship, exist and are sanctioned by the VHSL. But the VHSL does not officially recognize the winners as state champions because there is no sanctioned women’s division.
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As a result of the vote, the VHSL will hold an official girls state championship meet Feb. 24-25 at the end of this upcoming season. The event will consist of 11 weight classes, one less than the national federation of high schools-regulation 12.
During the season, girls will still compete on the same team as their male classmates, but can compete in up to 12 co-ed or female-only events, and there is no limit on how many female-only tournaments can be sanctioned by the VHSL.
In 2023-24, the proposal states the girls state meet will expand to 12 weight classes. And in 2024-25, the proposal seeks to establish girls regional and state tournaments which matches the dates of boys regional and state championships.