Hopkins establishes Minnesota's first 7th-12th grade girls wrestling program
Offered through its Independent Provider program, Hopkins Independent School District 270 and Hopkins Wrestling Club have established the first Girls’ High School Wrestling Team in Minnesota for 7th-12th grade students.
Two years ago, a youth girls’ wrestling program was established by former Hopkins Wrestling Head Coach William Barringer through Hopkins Community Education. In its inaugural year of 2018, 11 motivated female students participated in the program. The following year, 27 girls joined the youth program, and in this upcoming third year, it is expected to have 40+ participants.
The success of the Hopkins girls’ youth wrestling program has mirrored the growth of girls’wrestling in the rest of the nation. Wrestling is one of the fastest growing high school sports for girls. This success has highlighted a problem in Minnesota,where girls’ wrestling is still not sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League. Youth girls wishing to participate in wrestling have only one option– to train with and compete against boys of the same age group, which at the 7th-12th grade levels, puts girls at a significant physical disadvantage. In the past,this obstacle has caused girls to give up the sport rather than continue to pursue it, despite their obvious interest.
“Girls’youth wrestling is growing rapidly, and we need options for youth girls as they move to Junior High and High School. To date 21 states have sanctioned girls’wrestling at the High School level. Just this year, Augsburg College created a girls wrestling team. With interest in the sport rising and higher education institutions embracing the sport, it felt like the right time to start a High School program for our student athletes. The Hopkins School District has been extremely supportive of girls’ wrestling and our efforts to build a program. I am excited to see what the upcoming season brings.” stated the Hopkins Girls Wrestling Program Director, Tom Schmidt.
Chad Shilson, a longtime MN USA Wrestling Girls’/Women’s Director & Coach had this to say about the fantastic news coming out of the west metro suburb, “I am extremely excited to think that formal programs for girls’ high school wrestling are now being established in Minnesota. Until recently, the only high school wrestling experience for girls in Minnesota was to train with and against boys. A huge thanks to Tom Schmidt and his vision, and the support of the Hopkins School District and their Activities Director, Dan Johnson. Girls’ wrestling participation has exploded across the U.S., and this is one more example of the incredible opportunities that this sport provides,particularly when supported by the local community in a more formal way.”
The Hopkins Girls Wrestling program will start during the fall of 2020. More information will be available in the coming months.
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