Did you know that percentage-wise, girls’ wrestling is the fastest growing high school sport in the country? It’s true. According to the 2010-2011 NFHS High School Athletics Participation survey, the number of female wrestlers jumped to a nationwide total of 7,351 — a 19.8 percent increase over the previous year’s results. This number still pales in comparison to the total of 273,732 males taking to the mats in their wrestling shoes, headgear, and singlets in the same year, but is nevertheless a step in the right direction.

As individual female participation continues to grow, the number of high school programs expanding to include all-girls teams or events is also on the rise. Currently Texas, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Washington all offer a sanctioned state championship for high school girls, while Pennsylvania hosts a similar all-state championship sanctioned by USA Wrestling.

And opportunities for women wrestlers in college are also increasing. Here are some fast facts about the sport at the collegiate level from the website of its governing body, the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA):

  • Current membership stands at 20 teams
  • Current members include Oklahoma City University (2012 National Champion), Missouri Valley, Menlo College, Lindenwood University, and Jamestown
  • Growth rate is two teams per year
  • Schools report having at least 30 members on each team
  • All WCWA member schools offer athletic scholarships to women wrestlers

This upward trend in participation is certainly an encouraging sign for any female who’s interested in putting on a womens wrestling singlet and representing school on the mats. There’s still a long way to go, but significant progress is being made every year.