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Florida takes first step to sanctioning girls' wrestling

Last week, a decision made by the governor of Florida that deemed professional wrestling to be "an essential activity" generated headlines -- and some derision -- well beyond the Sunshine State.


This week, the Florida High School Athletic Association took an historic first step in opening new opportunities for real wrestling, voting unanimously to endorse the sanctioning of the sport for girls.

If approved by the FHSAA Board of Directors this summer, Florida will join 23 other states in sanctioning girls' wrestling, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

A number of coaches made their case for making girls' high school wrestling an official sport in Florida in a virtual public meeting using Zoom video technology to avoid large in-person assemblies in this era of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

"As soon as a state association legitimizes a sport, more girls flock to the sport," Orlando Freedom High School girls' wrestling coach Lynzie Doll told the FHSAA's Athletic Directors Advisory Committee.

During the most recent school year, there were 708 girls listed on Florida high school wrestling rosters. "That's 708 girls that are brave enough to wrestle on a boys wrestling team," said Mike Crowder, Tallahassee Lincoln coach. "When you change this to an all-girls sport, the numbers are gonna be outrageous."

"It's usually easier the second time after getting the unanimous approval the first time but we did a good job presenting it," Crowder told the Orlando Sentinel.

What's more, once high school girls' wrestling is officially sanctioned in Florida, girls will have their own competition at the state wrestling championships.

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