Wausau West wrestlers react to WIAA's decision to sanction girls wrestling
"I didn't think I'd be able to see it," Wausau West senior wrestler Emily Mueller said.
Yesterday, the WIAA advisory council voted 13-2 to not add girls wrestling as a sanctioned sport in 2020-21. The WIAA's board of control overruled and amended the ruling by pushing the sanctioning to 2021-22.
"It's kind of that big 'we did it' moment," Wausau West senior wrestler Hope Trevino said.
"I was hoping it would happen soon because it would be awesome to be able to compete against my own gender," Wausau West sophomore wrestler Ashley Danielson said.
Only two girls have made it to state in WIAA wrestling history in the past 80 years.
"As similar as we are, we're still very different. Getting down to it, it's just nice that they're equaling out the playing field a bit," Mueller said.
The girls will still be wrestling the boys during the regular season. Once the postseason tournaments begin, that's when the genders will separate.
"As much as it's growing, it's still not quite as popular as we want it to be," Mueller said.
Giving the girls their own state tournament could change the numbers.
"Maybe it will help more girls come out because lots of them I've talked to, to get them out (have said) 'No cause I don't want to wrestle guys,'" Trevino said.
Emily Mueller and Hope Trevino are seniors and will not be able to experience the inaugural girls wrestling season, but they paved the path for wrestlers like sophomore Ashley Danielson.
"It's awesome to see that they're proud," Danielson said. "It is kind of unfortunate that they aren't able to experience that chance."
WIAA deputy director Wade Labecki said that he’s not sure anything he would say would comfort the seniors who don't get to experience the sanctioning, but he said the WIAA wants to make sure the tournament has the best quality possible and the board didn’t believe that was possible heading into the 2020-21 season.