MHSAA adds women’s wrestling division


Gracie Wetherington, Social Media Editor

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has added a girls only wrestling division, and a meeting was held for girls interested in joining the Utica wrestling team Nov. 3.

“The turnout wasn’t that great at the meeting,” coach Clinton Davis said. “There was only one girl that showed up.”

Despite the poor turnout at the  meeting, there is still one girl on the team.

“There is currently one girl on the team, and she was on the team last year. I took her to a state meet and it was really cool,” Davis said. “Girls joining wrestling teams isn’t something new, it has been going on for quite some time. But the difference in how they competed with each other over a wrestling match with a boy was so good to see. They were super competitive and I saw a lot of great wrestling that day.”

The addition of a girls division does not mean the addition of a girls team, as the practices are going to be COED.

“This is one of the reasons why I wanted to have a separate meeting. I wanted to make sure to explain that it was just a girls only division being added to the state meet, not a separate team,” Davis said. “I wanted to explain that I would be comfortable with whatever they are. Alli Sparks, our current girl wrestler, has no issue practicing with the guys. If there were girls interested and only wanted to practice and compete against girls, then make sure you bring a friend as a practice partner.”

The addition of a girl’s division is also a great opportunity to encourage more girls to join teams and promote the sport.

“I’m very glad there is a girls division,” junior Alli Sparks said, “especially to encourage more ladies to join.”

Although the practices are COED, girls being on the team makes no difference.

“It doesn’t really matter that the practices are COED,” Sparks said. “Everyone is pretty chill.”

Despite there being so much growth in women’s wrestling, there is no plan to add a female coach to Utica’s wrestling team any time soon.

“I have a hard enough time locking down an assistant coach as it is, so I don’t think we would be having a female coach at this time,” Davis said. “Maybe, if we have some female wrestlers that give it a shot in high school and want to coach later after they graduate, then that might be a way that we do eventually have a female coach.”

The addition of a girl’s division is overall a positive experience for everyone and gives girls more opportunities in the sport.

“I think it’s great. There has been a girl state tournament the past three seasons, it just wasn’t hosted by the MHSAA,” Davis said. “However, it showed great success and that women’s wrestling is growing in our state. Maybe not our area, but definitely in our state.”