Davenport Schools Add Girls Wrestling
For the first time ever, the Davenport School District will have a girls wrestling team. That follows a decision in January by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to sanction girls wrestling, making it the organization's 11th sport.
Davenport Head Coach Josh Park will oversee wrestlers from Central, West, and North high schools. And he knows of at least five girls so far who'll come out for the team.
"There are 14 weight classes to fill to have a dual team. So you typically want to cover at least nine of the weight classes to have a pretty competitive dual so there's going to be a lot of recruiting amongst the girls in the schools and everything to try to get numbers out."
In high school, Park wrestled for Davenport North, and then worked as a volunteer for several youth wrestling clubs. He also coached his two daughters when they became interested in wrestling.
"The rules are the same but girls are just fundamentally different than boys. We work a lot more towards things like that with strength training and positioning."
Official practices don't start until October, but he'll be hosting "open mat" nights in the coming weeks for any high school girls in the Davenport district who want to learn more about the sport.
Park says girls wrestling has been around for a long time, but never got much attention until now. One of the first varsity girls wrestlers in this area was Atina Bibbs from Davenport Central High School who qualified for the Pan Am Games.