LCS adds girls wrestling to roster

Monday, June 13, 2022
(Sentinel Photo by Allen Hamil) Girls wrestling will officially become a sanctioned high school sport for Le Mars Community in the 2022-23 school district.

LE MARS — The Le Mars Community School District Board of Education gave its approval for girls wrestling to be a sanctioned sport in the district beginning the 2022-23 school year.

That decision came at the board’s June 6 meeting, after receiving information from LCS Activities Director Karlton Hector.

Hector said the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) had been researching adding girls wrestling as a sanctioned sport, and gave it the OK in January 2022.

“Prior to this, girls would just wrestle with the boys’ team and over the years they slowly developed girls only events and the last few years had a girls-only state wrestling event run as an unsanctioned event by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches Association,” Hector explained. “They know it had been growing leaps and bounds and they think it will grow even more now that its sanctioned, as they expect more girls to compete.

“We looked at all the variables, and talked with Coach (Shane) Hessenius. He’s been very instrumental in promoting this not only in the youth program but also in the middle school and high school to get girls to try it. He’s done a great job,” Hector continued.

“We’re looking at probably 24 girls going out next year and we know that’s going to continue not just because of the support of Coach Hessenius, but his entire staff. They love the sport of wrestling. They don’t care whether it’s boys or girls, they are into the sport of wrestling and they want to promote it in whatever way they can,” he said.

Hector then made his recommendation.

“It’s been growing and we have a solid number here and I guess my recommendation is it would be a great opportunity for us to join with the state in the inaugural season of girls wrestling. There are quite a few schools in our area and I think it will be something good for our student athletes, another opportunity to compete,” he said.

Staffing the Program

Hector then talked about coaches needed for the girls team.

He has been in touch with other athletic directors to see how they are staffing their program.

“With the numbers we have, we felt it was ideal to have two coaches, a head coach and an assistant coach, for not only the instructional information at a practice but also in regards to safety and supervision at events and meets and things like that,” he said.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Webner said the pay would be the same as for the boys wrestling coaches, with head coach pay of $6,122 and assistant coach at $4,815.

Match Opportunities

Board President Angela Catton asked about other teams in the area and the Missouri River Activities Conference.

“We know for sure that Sergeant Bluff-Luton is going to do it and all indictions are that each individual Sioux City school is going to end up doing it as well,” Hector said.

There will be opportunities for the team to have girl only tournaments earlier in the season. However, when LCS would wrestle some of the conference schedule when the boys and girls seasons overlap, it will be possible to do a double dual and have a girls portion and a boys portion and have the school’s teams wrestle at the same time.

“Scheduling-wise, it should work out,” he said.

He noted the girls wrestling season starts two weeks before the boys, and after the volleyball season.

Webner added, “I know there are other schools in the area, not just MRAC, that are looking to sanction this. I know of Spencer and schools in the Siouxland Conference, so we don’t believe scheduling will be a strain. It would be more like scrambles, like a middle school wrestling meet, a round robin, it may not be necessarily be team versus team but they will wrestle girls from all different schools.”

Individual Not Team Based

At this point, Hector continued, the IGHSAU is not event focused on the team aspect of it.

“There is not a team state event, they’re just trying to promote it, so it’s all individual based. The state tournament is only an individual competition,” he said.

The board approved that girls wrestling be a sanctioned sport in the district beginning the 2022-23 school year.

The State Go Ahead

The IGHSAU Board of Directors voted unanimously to sanction girls wrestling as the organization’s 11th sport. The vote was made at the IGHSAU’s Jan. 12 board of directors meeting and was announced prior to the start of the championship round of the IWCOA Girls State Wrestling Tournament in Coralville. The first IGHSAU-sanctioned season will take place during the 2022-23 school year. 

Iowa becomes the 34th state association to sanction girls wrestling.

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