Parker talks adding a girls wrestling program

Dawn Rye | Writer
The South Dakota High School Activities Association has sanctioned a girl’s division for the 2020-2021 wrestling season. Wrestling has been one of the fastest-growing sports for girls in high school for several years. In 1990, 112 girls participated in high school wrestling and for the last 27 years, the sport has been on the rise.
According to the SDHSAA, the girls wrestling division will begin with one classification and four weight classes, divided up evenly based on the competitors’ certification weights. The top eight participants in each weight class will qualify for the State Wrestling Tournament, with the girls division occurring alongside the boys division at the same event.
Parker wrestling coach John Silvernail said this would be his seventh year coaching the Parker Pheasants. He noted he thinks there will be tournaments in which girls get to wrestle against other girls.
Silvernail commented he hopes there will be more girls interested in Parker and knows of a few girls that have shown interest. He said they would be able to participate in girls wrestling and basketball.
“I have no problem sharing them,” said Silvernail.
He explained if girls decided to go out, they will practice at the same time but would not practice against the boys.
Silvernail noted the ideal situation is to have as many girls wrestling as possible. He said there are no female wrestling coaches in South Dakota.
“I’m passionate about growing wrestling. I think wrestling is a sport that is a lot like life, so the more people we can get involved in it, the better people we will have around,” said Silvernail.
He explained many girls want to wrestle West River, however, he sees the sport growing in the next few years and seems to be the fastest-growing sport in the U.S.
Silvernail said 30 dual girls’ teams were at Disney last year and South Dakota had planned on taking a team before COVID.
He commented he wants to have as many girls wrestle as possible to be seeded at state tournaments.
Silvernail said the seventh-12th grade wrestling season begins in late November and goes through the end of February.
He noted if a student is interested in Parker, they will put together brackets for the Parker tournament. Even though there will be a girl’s division and there is not a final weight class, the girls can choose to wrestle a male opponent in the male division.
“I think this is a great chance to grow wrestling in the state of South Dakota and I’m excited for the opportunity,” concluded Silvernail.

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