Hickman girls' wrestling program starts a new era in mid-Missouri
COLUMBIA - This year, Hickman High School created its first girls' wrestling program.
It's one of the fastest growing sports for girls. The Missouri State High School Activities Association proposed the idea last May. The proposal passed with a 202-41 vote.
"We're super excited," Hickman wrestling assistant coach, Steve DeVenney, said. "We had a great turnout of girls (who) want to be part of a new era here at Hickman."
DeVenney said 14 girls came out to wrestle this year for Hickman.
"Numbers are also big around the state, Missouri just added about 750 to 800 new athletes to the sport," DeVenney said.
Previously, the girls would have to join the boys' squad in order to compete around the state. As of the new proposal passing, the sport of wrestling will now have a separate boys' and girls' district and state competitions.
"We've had to buy more warm-ups for the team this year, which is good problem to have," Hickman head coach, Dan Pieper said.
Even with all the hype of a newly founded girls sport, some questions still had to be answered. Travel, hotel stays, and even locker room supervision was a concern with the co-ed sport.
"It worked out perfect," Hickman women's wrestling head coach, Andrea Whitney said. "I knew Steve previously and when girls were interested in a team, I knew I could help out."
Whitney is in charge of all of the girls' travel arrangements, making sure they are comfortable. She also supervises the locker room.
"I just hope all of the girls are having fun and telling their friends about it. This is a great opportunity I didn't get in high school," Whitney said.
Missouri is now the ninth state to officially add girls' wrestling as a sport at the high school level.