Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - by B.B. Branton
"It's a big day for girls wrestling and for high school wrestling overall."
--TSSAA assistant executive director Mark Reeves on the vote by the TSSAA legislative council today to have girls wrestling as a state-sponsored sport.
Girls high school wrestling in Tennessee had their collective hand raised in victory today as the TSSAA Legislative Council had a majority vote to fully sanction girls wrestling as a state sponsored sport.
The inaugural girls traditional team and individual championships will be held alongside the boys state traditional tournament Feb. 2015 at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin.
There has been a Girls Invitational Wrestling Tournament held at the state level for the past six years with approximately 120 girls competing statewide during the season and 70-75 girls competing for individual and team championships the past couple of years.
"It's outstanding that TSSAA has now sanctioned the sport of wrestling in Tennessee," said Jon Renner, head girls wrestling coach at Science Hill High School and one of the authors of the proposal.
"This has been a long time coming and now that girls wrestling is a TSSAA sanctioned sport it gives the girls their own identity."
Science Hill (2009-10-12-13-14) has won five of the six girls invitational titles, while Dixon County has won one (2011).
Past Winners: Science Hill (2009-10-12-13-14) has won five of the six girls invitational titles, while Dixon County has won one (2011).
2015 State Finals: Now that girls wrestling is a sanctioned sport, the individual finals will now be held at the same time as the boys state finals for D-I A-AA, AAA and D-II ... in previous years, the girls finals were held in the early afternoon during the boys consolation finals.
Where It Started: Former Soddy Daisy wrestling coach Steve Henry and former Red Bank coach Dickie Brown were the pioneers of girls wresting in Tennessee with a decade of a Trojan-Lion girls dual meets each November.
"We discovered long ago that a girls dual match is just as exciting as an important boys match," said Henry who coached the Lady Trojans to the only girls state duals invitational title in 2008 held at the state tournament in Clarksville.
"The Soddy Daisy-Red Bank matches were electric, drew big crowds and were used as a fund raiser for the boys wrestling programs," Henry stated.
"I hope and encourage schools who have a girls team or plan to start one to build a rivalry with another school and have duals meets which will help the traditional tournaments."
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org