Rocky River’s Lutheran West High School forms Ohio’s only wrestling team for girls

Hopes OHSAA will sanction sport soon

Rocky River’s Lutheran West High School forms Ohio’s only wrestling team for girls
Two members of Lutheran West's girls wrestling team square off in practice.

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Girls’ wrestling is not an official high school sport in Ohio; it is not sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Lutheran West Wrestling Coach Dave Ressler is trying to change that.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when the Ohio High School Athletic Association sanctions girls wrestling,” said Ressler. “They are looking at it as a possible emerging sport.”

To get ahead of the game, Ressler formed the only high school girls’ wrestling team in Ohio. Eight girls are on the team, two of them are also on the boys team. The girls that wrestle boys are at a disadvantage, even if they are the same weight.

“The muscle mass is different,” said Ressler. “The boys, when they hit puberty, their muscle gain is a lot different than the girls.”

Rocky River’s Lutheran West High School forms Ohio’s only wrestling team for girls

Sophomore Allyssa Pirro is one of the girls that also wrestles against boys.

“This year I’ve won six matches,” she said.

How many has she lost?

“A lot. A lot more than six,” Pirro added

Since there is not another girls team for them to wrestle, the girls that are not on the boys team just practice against each other. They will finally get a chance to get on the mat against other girls in March. The Ohio Athletic Commission, a non-profit organization, is putting on a girls’ wrestling tournament in Youngstown. That is what the girls have their sights set on. They cannot wait to get on the mat.

“I just didn’t want to wrestle boys because I thought I would just lose a lot,” said Neveah Yarber.

With no matches to wrestle in she is just practicing with the girls. “It’s really fun, we are learning a lot.”

The soonest the OHSAA could sanction girls’ wrestling would be next year. Whether or not it happens is anybody’s guess.

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