IDAHO — Female high school wrestlers in Idaho will now have the chance to compete in their own bracket at the state championships starting in the 2021-22 school year.
The Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) voted unanimously to approve the girl's only bracket.
"It's exciting. I have been growing up with the transition of growing girls wrestling, and I think it is really great, and it will encourage girls coming up to wrestle as well," said Caldwell High School wrestler Marissa Jimenez.
Idaho is now the 29th state to host a separate girls-only state tournament and the last of all its bordering states.
"This has been a long journey for the ones in the trenches, pushing this forward and getting it to a proposal level," said Idaho USA Wrestling coach Chris Owens. "Idaho Women's Wrestling Committee has fought for several years to make this happen."
A decision that he said will grow girls wrestling in Idaho.
"We have to create the opportunities to create the interest, and I think that has shown to be very successful, and hopefully that plays out in Idaho with girls wrestling," said Owens. "Our youth numbers have really gone up."
Although Jimenez said that she competed mostly against other girls because her team was big enough, that is not always the case.
She also said that she hopes sanctioning girls wrestling will bring more opportunities for girls wrestlers to compete, knowing they only have to wrestle other girls.
"I feel like there should be a lot of top wrestlers, not like just me and a handful of other girls. I feel like there should be more than a handful, and this will give girls that opportunity," said Jimenez.
"This will give girls an opportunity to have other girls on their team and travel with them and spend time on the bus and compete as a team together," said Owens. "It's an individual sport, but absolutely a team aspect to it and that to me is going to be one of the most positive things out of this cause our girl's numbers go up and they get the opportunity to have that experience."
Although high school girls will have to wait another season to get their own tournament, Jimenez said that the timing works out.
"I realized it is my senior year, and not only is it my senior year, but there is also a lot of girls coming up from the middle school that year, so it's going to be exciting," she said.
What is she looking forward to the most?
"Seeing how the girl's team does compared to the boy's team," said Jimenez.