MSHSL

Girls wrestling got enough “yes” votes. Boys volleyball did not.

The two sports were seeking to become Minnesota State High School League sanctioned activities May 11 when the league’s 48-member representative assembly legislative body met for its annual meeting.

Both sports needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Girls wrestling cleared that hurdle easily with a 44-4 vote for a girls postseason tournament next school year.

“The meeting demonstrated the significant desire for youth sports programs to be adopted by the league and for students to have the opportunity to represent their school as they compete,” said MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens said. “The decision by our membership to offer our girls in wrestling the chance to compete for individual honors in their own postseason division is a big step.

“Minnesota now joins other regional states like North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Missouri in offering this opportunity for girls wrestlers,” Martens added.

Girls will still train and compete with their respective boys wrestling teams during the regular season. However, after the regular season, they will have the option of competing in a girls-only individual section and state tournament.

That would occur at the same as the boys section individual tournaments. Girls would also be eligible to remain a part of their respective boys team for the section dual tournaments.

In the 2019-2020 school year, there were 153 girls who competed in high school wrestling on various teams across the state. There are more than 21,000 female wresters who compete nationwide.

There’s expected to be 12 weight classes next year for girls. There are 14 for boys. The weight classes will be 95 pounds, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 160, 170, 182 and 220.

Meanwhile, boys volleyball failed by just two votes to get sanctioned status. Twenty-nine members of the assembly voted yes. There were 18 no votes with one abstention.

Thirty-one yes votes were needed for passage.

“A vote on boys volleyball was notable,” said New York Mills Superintendent Blaine Novak, the league’s board of directors president, who presided over the meeting. “It demonstrates avid support to add the sport to provide additional opportunities for our student-athletes, while at the same time, recognizing that additional work needs to be done to grow the activity in member schools.”

This is the third spring boys volleyball will compete as a club sport. It would have been the fourth season if the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t cancel all sports across the state last spring.

There are over 50 schools in the state that have boys volleyball teams. Nationwide, there are 24 state associations that sanction the sport.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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