Following the OHSAA’s announcement that boys volleyball and girls wrestling would be added as recognized sports starting for the 2022-23 season, reactions to the news surfaced from multiple outlets.
A notable response was seen for the news of girls’ wrestling being added to the OHSAA’s now-total of 28 recognized athletic events, including from multiple sources on social media.
Alliance High School wrestling coach Dane Johnson also spoke on the OHSAA’s announcement on Thursday, via an interview with WHBC 1480 Radio.
“This is wonderful news. We’ve been waiting on this, and [we are] excited to finally have it come through,” said Johnson. “We’ve been working on it for a few years and fingers were crossed that it was coming at the [OHSAA’s monthly Board of Directors meeting] today…and now it’s come through.”
Johnson also went into detail about his time coaching wrestling at Alliance, including his experience with coaching girls – one of whom, Mallory Chutman, won the Ohio Wrestling Coaches Association state championship in the 126-pound division last February.
“Every [middle school] team I coached there had a girl on it, and my second year, [Mallory] came into the room as a seventh-grader…she was just on top of it, going out and beating these boys. And from there, I’m like, ‘We need to do something.’ We gotta find her tournaments. We need to have a girls team for her. We need to build this in the area.”
“[The Ohio Wrestling Coaches Association] at the time did the girls state tournament. We went there, met with some other people [that] were in the same boat. They had one or two girls at their school…they wanted to build something, and so, slowly, it’s progressed – one, two, three girls – now we’re building teams, now we’ve got a full sport across the state.”
Though the sport is being recognized as emerging sports by the OHSAA, girls wrestling and boys volleyball still have yet to be fully sanctioned by the Association.
When asked if Ohio seemed to be lagging in its progression to girls wrestling as a sanctioned sport, Johnson responded: “Yeah. We’ve been waiting for this for a while, and Ohio claims itself as a top wrestling state, so that’s why we’ve been confused as to why we wouldn’t be pushing girls wrestling so much.”
Ohio will become the 26th U.S. state to sanction high school girls wrestling, joining fellow Midwest states like Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin (according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association). Before 2018, only six states – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington – had approved the girls sport.