There has been one constant within USA Wrestling the last few years. Women’s wrestling is continuing to grow, especially at the youth and age-group levels. We are seeing record numbers of entries in all of USA Wrestling’s major age-group events, not just the Junior and Cadet Nationals in Fargo, but also the Folkstyle Nationals in Oklahoma City, and the Women’s Age-Group Nationals in Irving, Texas.
Today was the start of the Junior Women’s Nationals, and once again, the entry numbers are up, just like they were in the Cadet division a few days ago.
There have been a number of states which have been able to bring big teams and help fuel the growth, with California, Texas, Washington and New York bringing healthy delegations to Fargo each year. Of these states, only New York does not have an official state high school tournament for girls, but it is an official sport in New York City public schools. These are the trendsetters for sure.
Looking at the entry numbers this year, kudos need to go to states including Illinois, Wisconsin and Oregon, which have been able to get more girls to come to Fargo, but also help those girls have improved performances.
There were 39 states with Junior women’s girls teams this year, and the growth is coming from all of them, not just the states with well developed girls programs. We are seeing more teams, and we are seeing larger teams. And when you add it all up, the USMC Junior/Cadet Nationals continues to grow.
At the same time of the growth, there has also been an improvement in the quality of the competition, with more athletes who have experience, with access to good coaching and a supportive environment in which to flourish. I did an event preview of the Women’s Junior tournament prior this morning, and the number of strong competitors in each weight class was impressive. Winning a Junior Nationals title or achieving All-American status in Fargo is getting harder and harder.