Arizona votes to make girls high school wrestling an emerging sport starting next season

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | May 24, 2018, 5:56 p.m. (ET)
Photo of Arizona wrestler Brooke Logan from the Liberty Wrestling's Twitter.

The Executive Board of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), which oversees high school athletics in Arizona, has voted to make girls wrestling an emerging sport for the 2018-19 school year.

The following was included in the official minutes of the AIA Executive Board Meeting, held May 21 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.


Dean Visser, AIA Sports Administrator and Brian Smith, Wrestling Sports Advisory Committee member
presented information on girls’ wrestling as an emerging sport
On a motion made, seconded and carried the Executive Board approved girls’ wrestling as an emerging sport
for the 2018 -19 school year. Girls may continue to compete on a boys’ team, but will also have opportunities to
wrestle in all girl invitationals/jamborees. There will be an end of season individual girls’ tournament run in conjunction with the boys’ state wrestling tournament; weight classes to be determined at a later date.

According to media reports, girls wrestling will be considered an emerging sport for a number of season before officially becoming an AIA sponsored event.

In an extensive article on, Arizona USA Wrestling President and Desert Vista coach David Gonzales said, “This is a good move and a start in the right direction.”

“This is a positive move for the AIA and for all the female wrestlers throughout the state. It’s another opportunity for student-athletes to compete, which will also help the sport grow,” said AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a release.

SPORTS360AZ.COM STORY: AIA adds Girls Wrestling

AZPREPS365.COM STORY: AIA to add girls wrestling as an emerging sport

It has been a great year for the growth of girls high school wrestling receiving official status all across the nation.

Just this spring alone, Georgia, Oregon and Missouri added official high school girls wrestling. Massachusetts has also voted to add the sport, with details on that decision to be reported upon very soon.

Colorado has approved pilot seasons for the next two years for girls wrestling, the initial step towards state sanctioning for girls wrestling, to begin in winter 2020-21.

Hawaii, Texas, California, Washington, Tennessee and Alaska host the other state-sanctioned girls wrestling championships.

Girls high school wrestling had official status in six states for the 2017-18 year. With the decisions in recent days by Arizona and Massachusetts, there will be as many as 12 states with either official girls high school wrestling, or approved pilot or emerging sport status for girls wrestling. This doubles the official opportunities for girls high school wrestling in just a few months.

USA Wrestling’s Girls High School Development Committee, led by Joan Fulp of California and Andrea Yamamoto of Washington, has been working closely with wrestling leaders across the nation, supporting their efforts in getting state recognition for girls wrestling. They also work with other organizations such as Wrestle Like Girl, Inc., the National Wrestling Coaches Association, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and others to help expand opportunity for girls to wrestle.