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Girls wrestling gaining popularity in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. Nebraska has almost 150 girls wrestling at the high school level. Now a new proposal the Nebraska State Athletic Association is considering would give girls their own division at the state level.

In Lincoln, Competitive Edge Sports currently has a team of 22 girls who wrestle. Many of the girls are from Lincoln and surrounding communities. Those who currently wrestle for the club say they’re thrilled at the prospect of being able to wrestle at an even higher level.

Tuesday night turns Competitive Edge into a girls club, but don’t be fooled by all the pink.

“We have little girls who are three years old,” said Josh Gannon, head wrestling coach. “Up to girls that are 16. Its just a fun environment for them to learn wrestling and enjoy the sport.”

For many of the wrestlers on Josh Gannon’s team, a passion for wrestling is something that happened by chance.

“I started wrestling when my dad said that he was gonna go help out with the club,” said Karina Raney, one of Gannon’s wrestlers. “I asked if I could come watch and he said if you’re gonna come watch you’re gonna come do it, and here I am seven years later and I love it.”

Karina Raney is only 11 but says girls wrestling at the high school level gives her and her teammates something new to aspire to do.

“It’s really exciting because I’m not quite in high school yet,” said Raney. “They’ll probably have established a really good tournament by the time I get to high school.”

For girls high school wrestling to become a reality in Nebraska it must go through three rounds of voting. It passed the first two, now in April the NSAA representative assembly will make the final decision.

For now Gannon says he will continue to coach girls to the highest level he can.

“In the past girls wanted to participate but it was just shunned so much,” said Gannon. “Now its so much more open in general. That those girls that are around wrestling, instead of sitting on the sidelines they have that open gate to get out there and do it themselves.”

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