A coach on the Monona Grove/McFarland boys wrestling co-op said he would favor adding another division for girls.
Karl Voeck, who took over as the team co-head coach last year, said the proposal would encourage more girls to take up the sport.
“I believe it will draw more kids as a whole to the sport. It would put wrestling, as a whole, in the community more, thus in turn draw more kids,” Voeck said.
Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) discussed the possibility of adding a fourth division to the current arrangement which includes boys varsity, boys varsity reserve and junior varsity. The proposal would give girls a shot at winning their own state title, allow them to practice with the regular team and participate in girls-only matches during the regular season.
Currently, wrestling teams at the WIAA tournament include boys and any girls who may qualify.
According to published reports, 43 percent of Wisconsin high school wrestling programs had at least one girl on the team in 2019-20, adding up to a total of 325 females. More than 22,000 girls in the nation participated on a high school wrestling team in 2018-19.
Voeck said there are many girls in the Monona Grove/McFarland co-op youth program, and having an all-female division would provide another sport for girls and give them a chance at a scholarship to a college with a women’s wrestling team.
The co-op’s most notable female in recent years has been Katelynn Gunderson, who joined the Lakeland University women’s wrestling team after graduating from McFarland High School in 2018.
Gunderson has said wrestling against boys during her four high school years gave her an advantage entering Lakeland, because usually the boys are physically stronger.
UW-Stevens Point also has a women’s wrestling team.