EUDORA, Kan. — Girls packed a Eudora School Board meeting Thursday asking the district to start a girls wrestling team. The District has responded telling them they already are on their own team with the same coach as the boys.
Most sports have separate teams and separate coaches for boys and girls. That’s not the case in Eudora for the relatively new sport of girls wrestling. It was sanctioned by KSHSAA in 2019.
The girls here who now outnumber the boys in the program say that’s time to change. They were joined by
Girls and coaches from 11 surrounding schools in support at Thursday’s meeting.
“We’re just asking for equality for our girls,” Amber Arnold, mother of a wrestler, said.
They say there’s logical reasons for wanting separate teams.
“Teaching girls wrestling is different than teaching boys wrestling. We’re built different, we move different, we wrestle different,” Jordan Dempsey, a Eudora wrestler, said.
But a lot comes down to the logistics of managing the fastest growing sport in Kansas, with a 400% increase in participation the past three years.
The girls say they still aren’t getting equal opportunities with coaches choosing boys meets over girls. Four girls who qualified for state had to practice with the JV boys.
“We would be sitting waiting for our turns they prioritize the guys over us all the time,” Maddy Arnold said.
The girls asked for the School Board for their own team in May which they said they’d pay 100% of the costs for the first two years in accordance with KSHSAA guidelines.
“So it doesn’t make sense to me why they would say no if it’s nothing out of their pocket,” parent Amber Jenkins said.
The Superintendent and Board told them they already have a team where they can wrestle and directed the Athletic Director to hire extra assistants if necessary.
A coach of 62 girls at a Topeka-area school says girls flourish overcoming self doubt in their own space as mostly beginners. He says his school’s decision to separate the teams keeps coaches managing teams at separate meets from having to prioritize athletes.
“Nine out of ten times he’s going to Kansas City with the boys team and so that leaves the girls with the assistant coaches and that is sending the message that our girls are less than and that’s a message in 2022 that we’ve got a get away from,” Washburn Rural Girls Wrestling Coach Damon Parker said.
The School Board told the large crowd of girls and their parents they’d take their comments under advisement.
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