KSHSAA addition of girls wrestling, changes to football scrimmage rules will affect WHS sports

WHS football players scrimmage at the beginning of the 2018 season. KSHSAA revised scrimmage rules to allow limited competition with other teams beginning next season.

Girls wrestling becomes 23rd varsity sport in Kansas

Last week, KSHSAA added it first new sport in 15 years.

Kansas State High School Activities Association held a meeting to discuss rule changes and new additions. The most significant changes were the addition of girls wrestling as a varsity sports and changes to football scrimmage rules.

According to a story in the Kansas City Star, the McPherson athletic director and wrestling coach started formulating a campaign that finally went through to be the 23rd championship sport in Kansas. Girls wrestling will have its own championship the Thursday before the boys championship. There will be two-year transition period where girls will be allowed to wrestle with boys if a tournament does not offer a girls division, but must compete with their own gender if possible. After two years, girls will only be able to wrestle girls.

As of last year, only six other states sanctioned girls wrestling. Eight more have joined since then. The most recently added sport was bowling in 2005.

“It will be good that they [girls] can compete against other females. I mean in every other sport you play you compete against your gender,” coach Joey Heersche said.

Heersche said that because of the competitive mentality the best wrestlers have, some girls won’t love every aspect of the new rules. “Some girls actually prefer wrestling boys and see it as a challenge. For those ladies, they may not like the new rule because now they do not get the choice. They can only compete in the girls division at the state tournament.

Heersche said that girls have always been welcome in club, junior high and high school wrestling. He hopes the rule changes have a positive effect on participation going forward.

WHS didn’t have any female wrestlers this season, but senior wrestling manager Kinsey Stuewe said more girls, including her, would probably consider competing now that girls have their own division. “I’ve grown up around wrestling. My dad would probably have been supportive if there was a girls division. I think I could have been competitive,” Stuewe said.

Another major rule change addressed football scrimmages.

At the beginning of this school year inter-school scrimmages were prohibited for all football teams in Kansas. KSHSAA voted to allow “football jamborees,” before the first game of the season.

“I think it’s a really cool idea it will help us prepare for our first game, because I feel like it will put us in a game-like setting,” lineman Adam Miller said.

The jamboree format  allows up to four teams to scrimmage each other preseason. The rule states no more than four teams and no fewer than three teams can participate. The rule still remains that the squad must have at least 10 practices before being allowed to take part and each player must have nine. Each team will be allowed to run a total of 36 offensive plays and no special team plays will be allowed.

“These will help simulate game-like situations,which will help us better prepare for the start of the season the following week,” coach Jess Rutledge said.

Wabaunsee is working with St. Marys and Lyndon to start a jamboree next season. Nothing has been finalized, but the schools are in serious talk.

Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

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