Maine Principals Association adds official girls state wrestling tournament for 2019

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Nov. 20, 2018, 2:45 p.m. (ET)
Action photo of girls wrestling from the Bangor Daily News.

In a final vote last week, the Maine Principals Association gave the final approval for the creation of an official girls wrestling state championships starting in the upcoming 2018-19 season. It was approved by the organization’s general membership at its fall conference.

“In a unanimous vote by the MPA membership on Thursday, November 15, a Maine State Girls Wrestling Championship was approved for Wednesday, February 20, 2019," said Michael Bisson, Assistant Executive Director of the MPA.

According to the Bangor Daily News, this proposal had been passed by the MPA wrestling committee and its Interscholastic Management Council prior to this final vote last Wednesday. The Daily News reported that the girls state tournament is scheduled for Penobscot Valley High School in Howland.

Girls wrestling has a healthy history in Maine, going back to when Deanna Rix was a state runner-up competing against boys back in 2005 for Marshwood High School. Rix, whose married name is Betterman, went on to place fifth in the Senior World Championships for the USA in women’s freestyle in 2008 and 2009. Numerous other girls from Maine have been successful within the state and in USA Wrestling national programs.

Within the last year, eight high school state associations, Missouri, Georgia, Oregon, Massachusetts, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Maine voted to either officially add high school girls wrestling, or begin the process for official status. This brings the total to 14 states with girls wrestling.

Hawaii, Texas, California, Washington, Tennessee and Alaska host the other state-sanctioned girls wrestling championships, all which have a number of years hosting the events.

“The [wrestling committee] just ran with this because they’ve seen girls wrestling right along, and it seems like they should have this opportunity,” Bisson told the Bangor Daily News. “They saw that other states have started it and that momentum is growing nationally, so they wanted to get involved.”

USA Wrestling’s Girls High School Development Committee, led by Joan Fulp of California and Andrea Yamamoto of Washington, has spearheaded this effort nationally. Wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports for young women.