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North Shore Wrestling Coach Pushing For Separate Girls’ Wrestling Team, So Girls Don’t Have To Wrestle With Boys

Girls should have their own high school wrestling team, an assistant coach for the Marblehead-Swampscott High boys’ wrestling co-op contends.

Rob Hopkins, an assistant coach for Marblehead-Swampscott, spoke before the Swampscott School Committee on Thursday, April 11 to voice his support for the creation of a girls’ wrestling program at Swampscott High; he also offered his support in forming an exploratory committee if the school committee is interested in the idea.

Hopkins said he thinks that girls’ wrestling is growing and that more girls would be likely to compete if they had an opportunity to compete just against other girls, rather than wrestling primarily against boys.

“We’ve got talent in this town and this sport shows girls that they can be strong in their own space, they have their say, they can be heard, and they can show it,” Hopkins said. “They’re not just wallflowers to be sitting there on the sidelines. They can get in there and they can mix it up.”

“If girls want to wrestle with girls — I have boys, but I totally understand that. And they should have an opportunity to do it,” he added. “And right now, we had a girl on the team this past year — and she’s wrestling with all of the boys. I give her all the credit in the world, but that’s not all the girls.”

Hopkins said that his team has had two girls wrestle for it in the past three years and that in his 25 years with the Marblehead-Swampscott program, there have been four girls who competed on the boys’ team.

Swampscott School Committee members reacted warmly to the idea.

School committee member Glenn Paster said the committee should consider the idea.

“Is there some girls who participate on the boys’ team, and that’s fantastic, but it would be a really interesting idea to see if there is the volume of students to have a co-op girls’ team to give girls an opportunity to do the same sport on, again, girls versus girls,” Paster said during the April 11 meeting. 

Shool committee member Amy O’Connor agreed with that sentiment.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really interesting,” O’Connor said during the April 11 meeting. “Off the top of my head, my first thought always is budget, but, you know, to your point, Glenn, I think the more opportunities for all of our kids, the better.”

Girls’ wrestling has grown in Massachusetts in recent years.

The number of girls’ competing in Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association high school boys’ wrestling has increased from 103 in the 2016-2017 school year to 260 in the 2022-2023 school year — the most recent data available.

The MIAA has offered a girls’ state championship wrestling tournament at the end of the season since 2019, where girls can compete against other girls for state titles; 45 states have athletic associations that offer high school girls wrestling state championship tournaments.

No MIAA schools currently have a girls’ wrestling team. However, small numbers of girls have competed on boys’ wrestling teams in Massachusetts for decades.

The Swampscott School Committee did not take any formal action on the issue at its April 11 meeting.


Story source: New Boston Post

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