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New Mexico to offer girls' wrestling championship in 2020

Add the state known as the Land of Enchantment to the list of states which will have a separate state wrestling championship for girl wrestlers.

The New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a proposal to sanction a girls' wrestling division that will end with a state championship event beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, the organization which governs high school sports in New Mexico announced Thursday.

"We are very excited that our Association will now officially offer a girls' wrestling division that will culminate with a state championship," NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez said. "The sport has been growing fast all across the country, and we are happy to become the 18th state to sanction it."

This new championship is an outgrowth of an exhibition event which has been held each of the last two years in conjunction with the boys' state tournament.

According to the NMAA announcement, the new girls' division will see participants qualify for the state championships via one of two regional qualifying tournaments. Schools will be aligned regionally, keeping current district schools together wherever possible. Each region will qualify four participants per weight class to the state tournament.

Qualifying participants will compete at the state tournament with medals awarded to the top three participants, with trophies to be awarded to the top three teams.

One additional clarification: Girls may compete in boys' events during the regular season but must compete in the girls' division during the post-season.

The number of high school girls wrestling in New Mexico has grown tremendously just in the past two years. The sport has grown from 79 participants in 2017 to 165 in 2019, according to the NMAA.

New Mexico is the 18th state in the nation to officially sanction girls' high school wrestling, and the second in the month of June. Just last week, Arkansas' Activities Association revealed it would be launching a separate girls' state wrestling championship.

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