The proposal to make girls high school wrestling the 23rd interscholastic sport in Kansas was approved by a vote of 63-2.
The state will conduct its first girls wrestling state championship in 2020. Right now, it is anticipated that the girls state championship will be held on Thursday, immediately before the start of the boys' state wrestling championships which are slated to run Friday and Saturday of the same week.
To ensure a smooth transition, the KSHSAA has amended its rules governing high school wrestling.
"The mixed team rule is being waived for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years for the sport of wrestling. A two-year transition period is being granted to permit girls the option of participating in both their school boy's lineup and girl's lineup during the regular season contests only. If a competition only offers a boys' division, then girls will have the option of competing in the boys' division. If the competition offers both a boys and girls division, then girls are required to wrestle in the girls' division. After the two specified years, the mixed team rule will go into effect and girls will only participate against girls. From the start of implementation of Girls Wrestling, the girls must participate in the girls only postseason. No option is given to compete in the boys' postseason."
Kansas is the 15th state in the U.S. to adopt a separate girls wrestling division. Earlier this week, the Colorado High School Activities Association approved wrestling competition for high school girls -- separate from boys' competition -- starting in the 2020-21 school year.
The state of Kansas has seen explosive growth in terms of the number of girls participating in wrestling, and in the number of exclusively female tournaments.
In 2017, there were 112 girls wrestling in Kansas with just four tournaments all season that were female-only, according to the Garden City (Kan.) Telegram. That number nearly doubled the following year, with 215 girls participating and nine tournaments in 2018. This past season saw even more growth, with 376 girls and 15 tournaments in Kansas in 2019.