MANHATTAN (KSNT) – It was an easy decision for USD 383 last week as the board unanimously approved adding a girls wrestling team to Manhattan High School’s athletic program.
That decision has sparked excitement for Head Coach Shawn Bammes, who also wrestled for MHS while he was in high school.
“We are very excited. We have had girls out in the past, but to be actually to be able to provide them their own team their own schedule is very exciting,” Bammes said.
Manhattan will join a growing number of high schools across Kansas that have added or are looking to add girls wrestling programs; schools like Great Bend, a district that has seen increased participation in the sport over the years.
Great Bend High School head wrestling coach Nathan Broeckelman told KSNT News the only struggle so far has been finding enough space.
“But you know we make do. The first year just kind of splitting the room half and half and just multiple partners at a time,” Broeckelman said.
For the student-athletes, the official nod from USD 383 is something that has them ready for the season to start.
“Having more diversity just all around the sports I think is just great and I think just having more opportunities for girls is encouraging them to try out new things and not be scared to you know go out there and just try something new,” said Manhattan High Student Ameerah Alfailakawi.
The new opportunity means Alfailakawi and her teammate now have a team and access to a division where they don’t have to wrestle boys.
“I am pretty excited for it. I have been wrestling guys for three years so it is nice for a change to finally have a girls team,” said Manhattan High Student Mia Minus.
For Coach Bammes, the addition of girls wrestling not only means another sport at MHS, but also another opportunity for girls to participate in high school athletics.
“I am looking forward to see our numbers grow. That is the biggest thing I think the biggest success is getting those numbers, you know, we talked to a lot of the girls in our school right now and their biggest hesitant is that they don’t want to wrestle the boys now that they know. They don’t I think our numbers are going to grow dramatically,” Bammes added.
MHS Girls will wrestle in the 5-6A division set forth by KSHSAA, currently Washburn Rural holds the state title in that division.