As the number of girls interested in wrestling continues to grow, so are the opportunities as Decorah High School agreed to form a High School Wrestling Club at its Nov. 18 meeting.

Currently, female wrestling is not a sanctioned sport with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU); however, the support is there. According to Decorah’s superintendent Mark Lane, superintendents from across the state have been asked by advocates of girls’ wrestling programs to support the IGHSAU officially sanctioning wrestling as a girls’ sport in Iowa. Following the meeting Superintendent Lane will script a letter of support and send it to the IGHSAU.

In the meantime, Decorah has numerous females interested in the club wrestling program with as many as 70 interested in the Northeast Iowa Conference.

The DHS girls wrestling club currently has 12 girls learning the sport under the direction of volunteer coaches Matt Simon, Bob Holkesvik and Paige Hageman. The girls’ club will wrestle its own schedule, including tournaments at Waverly-Shell Rock, Central Elkader and Independence. The season will end with the girls’ state tournament Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-25, at Waverly-Shell Rock.

Interest climbing

In the past four seasons, the number of female wrestlers in Iowa has grown from 66 in 2015-16 season to 157 last year, with nearly an even distribution among the classes.

Waverly-Shell Rock hosted the first-of-its-kind girls wrestling state championships in January 2019, sponsored by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials association, with 87 participating in 10 weight classes.