Laila Oribello of Marysville prepares to pin Catie Kerr of Lutheran West during the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls state tournament on Saturday at Hilliard Davidson. The Lady Monarchs placed third in team standings. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
A new sports event took center stage this past weekend at Hilliard Davidson High School.
The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association sponsored the inaugural girls state tournament.
Girls wrestling is becoming more of a “thing” in Ohio high school sports circles.
Marysville High School entered nine girls in the tournament and four of them earned spots on the awards podium when action concluded on Sunday.
There were nearly 300 athletes from 99 schools represented and I was impressed with how well the tournament was run for its first-ever attempt.
There was a nice crowd at Davidson High School. As a matter of fact, I saw more folks in the stands than I have at some basketball games at that venue.
I saw wrestling at just about every level on the sport’s ladder.
I watched some very good technical wrestling and some matches in which the athletes need more seasoning.
That, however, is to be expected since girls wrestling hasn’t been around for a long period of time.
However, each athlete worked extremely hard and the enthusiasm from athletes, coaches and fans alike rivaled anything I’ve seen at boys’ matches.
The coaching was also as intense as I’ve seen during boys’ competition.
This is a sport that is only going to grow.
I look for more and more schools, including those in the Journal-Tribune’s coverage area, to begin fielding girls teams at some point down the road.
It’s just bound to happen. When girls at other area schools see the success the Lady Monarchs have achieved in a relatively short period of time, I think they will also want to get in on the action.
One reason I feel girls wrestling is going to be a huge addition to high school sports is the fact that many of the same officials I’ve seen at boys district and state tournaments worked the girls tournament.
If those veteran officials, along with coaches, feel girls’ wrestling is a viable sport, a lot of other folks (including school administrators and boards of education) will, in my opinion, eventually follow.
The Lady Monarchs have a leg up on other schools in the area as far as girls wrestling.
Their third-place finish in the state tournament was a very good start in building and establishing a solid program.
Marysville girls wrestling will have to grow from the junior level on up, including at Bunsold Middle School, if a long-time high school program is to thrive.
Additional coaches will need to be hired for the girls program as it will be difficult for the current mat coaching staff to guide both teams.
We will just have to see how the program develops in the coming years.
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