ADRIAN, Mich. – Next weekend some of the best female high school wrestlers will descend upon the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center on the campus of Adrian College for the first ever Michigan Girls High School State Championships on Sunday, Feb. 3.
The event will be put on by the Michigan Wrestling Association, which is the coaches' association for high school wrestling with the Michigan State High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) serving as the presenting sponsor. "It is a real honor to be hosting the first ever Michigan Girls High School State Championships here at Adrian College," head women's wrestling coach at Adrian College, Cliff Cushard said. "Dozens of people have been working for over 20 years to make this happen in our state and I feel honored to be part of the team that finally made it happen."
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), girl's wrestling had 16,565 high school athletes competing last school year. That is almost double the numbers from four years ago. In Michigan, the MHSAA reported 250 athletes participating last year. "Girls have been competing in Michigan against the boys in high school since at least as far back as the 1970s," Cushard said. "It has really been picking up steam in the last decade or so and now girl's wrestling is the fastest growing sport in high schools around the country. It's really special to be able to finally give them their own chance to shine and a shot to earn a state title."
The decision to host the event here at Adrian College was not a coincidence, as the Bulldogs have the only collegiate women's wrestling program in the state. It also gives the current wrestlers the chance to give back to the sport and help further the growth. "Our wrestlers are excited to work the tables at the tournament and to interact and support the high school girls," explained Cushard. "The timing didn't work out for them to be able to do this themselves but they are very excited about the girls behind them having this chance. We are looking forward to seeing everyone there and watching some incredible wrestling!"
Wrestling will start at 10 a.m. on Sunday Feb. 3 and feature the 14 current MHSAA weight classes, ranging from 103 lbs. to 285 lbs. Eight places will be awarded for each weight class.