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Girls wrestling officially sanctioned in Pennsylvania

May 17 marked the third and final PIAA vote to sanction girls wrestling, which the board unanimously approved.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — It's a massive day around the state for girls athletics! 

Wednesday, May 17 marked the third and final PIAA vote to sanction girls wrestling, which the board unanimously approved. 

"Disbelief and some joy. It's humbling, it's surreal, it's exciting," said Brooke Zumas, the chair of Sanction Pa. Girls Wrestling

Schools around the Keystone State began adding the sport in March of 2020, beginning with J.P. McCaskey High School.

"It's hard to believe, honestly, when I think of the growth, not having a single approved team in the state in February of 2020, and now, here we are today," Zumas reflected. 

The sport hit 100 schools in mid-February, which is the number needed to become a sanctioned sport in Pennsylvania.

The first two PIAA votes were also unanimous. Pennsylvania is the 39th state to sanction the sport. 

In the 24 years Mark Byers has worked for the PIAA, they've only added two other sports- lacrosse and competitive cheerleading. Girls' wrestling is now the third. 

"What is exciting is the importance placed on interscholastic athletics. This isn't just important for girls to participate, because we have wrestling taking place year-round. What was really the swell in support was seeing how important wrestling is for schools, wrestling for your community is really what it's all about," said Byers. 

The PIAA already has plans to add a girls' wrestling state championship tournament in March of 2024 alongside the boys' championship in the Giant Center. 

"We have been working on this for a few years, but there have been people working on this for decades and to really put that into perspective, that it all culminated in really about ten seconds of a vote is really overwhelming," Byers told FOX43. "It's really hard to believe." 

District III was not only the first school to approve the sport but also led the change with 35 of the 111 schools hosting girls wrestling. 

Download the FOX43 app here.

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