USAW Women’s Wrestling Toolkit

Steps to Advocate for a State Sanctioned Girls High School Wrestling Championship in Your State and Support Female Wrestling


Vision Statement - “It’s a lot bigger than just wrestling on the boys team. It’s about women living out an athletic dream and getting to do amazing things with their lives” --Adeline Gray


For further questions or help please email:




1)    Put Together a Committee

Pull together a diverse team of people in your state interested/committed to women’s wrestling to help with:

●      Gathering data

●      Recording precedents

●      Creating publicity

●      Writing proposals

●      Advocating for sanctioning


2)    Contact your state scholastic committee person/executive in charge of wrestling

●      Every state has this administrative organization. You can ask your local high school coach or athletic director for this information, but this is easily found online at the interscholastic level of administration.  Ask if a girl’s sanctioned championship is on their official timeline to be implemented, or if a sub committee studying girls wrestling has been formed. 


●      Understand the timeline for when your state’s interscholastic committee makes decisions on adding new sports and provides an open meeting to listen to input from outside groups.  (driving 3 hours to make a five minute presentation is normal… JUST GO and get your voices heard).


●      Request and understand your state’s policies for adding a new sport to their sanctioned state championship schedule.  Every state can be different in their requirements. 


●      Make alliances with athletics directors, principals, school district administrators, state section administrators etc… that can lend their support.   But more important… they can share names of those decision making state executives that could be in your corner and help the process move forward with less challenges.



3. What supporters should be included?

  • HS Coaches and Athletic Directors currently coaching girls
  • Principals and educators on your state board for sports/athletics
  • Local dignitaries – school board members, county supervisors etc...
  • State congress/senators who are working on supporting women’s issues in your state.
  • USA Wrestling State Director
    • USAW Women’s Chair for your State
    • Current USAW Women’s athletes in your state
    • USAW Women’s alumni in your state
    • Key contacts from states with girls’ wrestling as a sanctioned sport (i.e. mentors who have already done this work- Tennessee, Washington, California, Hawaii, Texas, Alaska ---Colorado is in sub committee as of November 2016)


4. Collect Data/Facts

Nation Wide:

  • Create a packet of data and facts supporting girls high school wrestling from/including the following information :
    • Numbers from NFHS + USA Wrestling on how many girls are involved in wrestling in your state (how many participate, compete, results from Fargo etc.)
    • Numbers on the growth of girls’ high school involvement over the years

●   Please note that the data from NFHS + USA Wrestling may miss athletes, so you may want to create your own method or survey to gather the information and confirm or supplement your numbers

  • States that have already implemented girls state wrestling championships /history/ increase in numbers....etc.
  • Terry Steiner’s letters outlining the benefits of girls wrestling  (included)
  • College letter of support from Mike Jones/Simon Fraser University (included)
  • Tennessee letter on their organization of a Girls State Wrestling Championship - Mark Reeves Assist. Executive Director (included)


     5. Girls Wrestling Facts/History in your state:

            Create your state’s statistics:

●      List girl’s high school tournaments with attendance

●      Add additional information on girls that have attended/placed at USAW competitions and accomplishments of athletes: Fargo, Folkstyle Nationals, Body Bar Nationals, and War of Roses Tournaments.

●      Girls who have, or are attending college from your state.


6. Promote and Inform:

●      Network with USAW events to inform your female athletes and parents about tournaments that are provided on the national level. Put together a team… no matter how small, and attend those events whenever possible.  This will grow your parent support and efforts to support your state program. 

●      Most states now have a girls wrestling facebook page.  If not, create one to promote local, regional, and national tournaments.

●      Publicise your tournaments and cause - take lots of photos!!!

  1. local and regional newspapers.

                           b.  invite your state scholastic executive committee members to your events

                            c.  invite your local and regional television sports media to the event

                           d. showcase and introduce athletes from your area that have competed in

                               tournaments outside your state… always talk about the “bigger picture” of

                               opportunities available to our female athletes.


●      Bring in nationally ranked female athletes to run clinics and camps.


●      Use the letters, article links and videos in this toolkit to support the history and growth of women’s wrestling.




●      Use a strong educational stance


  1. See enclosed letter to support and make your educational points. (Virginia created a letter for parents and supporters to send to their state scholastic



  1. It is JUST THE RIGHT THING to do… women need the opportunity to test themselves against their own gender.  


  1. Work to demonstrate the need for gender equitable competition.  Explain the challenges of increasing participation numbers when girls are required to compete male vs female in a physically demanding sport


●      parent objections

●      Fewer girls not willing to take a chance or step on the mat

●      Coaches and officials reluctant to coach and officiate male/female matches.


  1. Reference growth in women’s wrestling at the collegiate level.


  1. Be cooperative but focused on your goal… Avoid using Title 9 as a strong-arm tool.  Unfortunately, demands can end up creating animosity toward your efforts.  Leave Title 9 compliance demands for gross discrimination.  Your state committee knows the legal angles… work to keep communication lines open.