PIERRE - The South Dakota High School Activities Association's wrestling advisory committee wants the organization to study the feasibility of adding girls' wrestling to the slate of sports that are offered in the state's schools.
"A lot of our bordering states are already there," said SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand.
He noted that North Dakota started with girls' wrestling exhibitions and had four brackets of female wrestlers at this year's state tournament. Krogstrand said girls participate in many youth wrestling programs.
"There is a huge pool of untapped participants," Krogstrand said. "There's a number of girls who do it all through elementary school."
Many drop out of wrestling, Krogstrand said, because they have no opportunity to continue the sport in high school.
Girls' wrestling is not the only sport with an untapped pool of participants, according board member Steve Morford of Spearfish.
"There is a lot bigger picture than girls' wrestling," Morford said, referring to girls' softball. "They could meet a bigger need than girls' wrestling."
Board chairman Brian Maher of Sioux Falls suggested a survey of wrestling coaches, athletic directors and principals to gauge interest in offering the sport. The advisory committee's recommendation to study the feasibility of girls' wrestling will next go to a meeting of the state's athletic directors.
Combined basketball tournaments may be eliminated
The basketball advisory committee of the South Dakota High School Activities Association has recommended eliminating the combined basketball tournaments for both the AA and A divisions.
The SDHSAA board of directors heard about the recommendation at its meeting on Wednesday. That proposal will now go to a meeting of the state's athletic directors before coming back to the SDHSAA board.
SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director Jo Auch said both coaches and fans have complained about the format that had both the AA boys' and girls' tournaments played in the same city at the same time. There has yet to be an A combined tournament.
"Has it been what's best for boys' and girls' basketball?" Auch asked.
Auch said with so many games on the combined tournament schedule, it became impossible for fans to see all the games. As an example, she said, a fan of boys' basketball could no longer see all the boys' games at the tournament.
Coaches said they missed the atmosphere of the old tournaments when the semifinal games were played in the evening instead of the afternoon.
Morford said there was more to consider than the objections of coaches.
"What do the students want?" Morford asked. "What do they like?"
Morford suggested contacting schools that have teams that are often in the tournaments to see what their students would prefer.