ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — North Allegheny will soon be home to the first girls wrestling program in western Pennsylvania.
The school board voted to create the program for the upcoming school year at Wednesday’s board meeting.
It will be the fourth school-sanctioned girls wrestling program in Pennsylvania and the first affiliated with a WPIAL school.
North Allegheny senior Massima Curry will be one of the team’s founding wrestlers.
She’s a two-year letter winner who has been wrestling on NA’s boys team.
“We started talking about it in January,” she said. “Then we started getting practices with some girls and it’s just been growing, and I’m really excited for a new experience.”
Daniel Heckert, who is an assistant coach with the NA boys wrestling team, will be the first head coach for the girls.
He said the interest in girls wrestling is growing across the state, backed by organizations like Sanction PA and Wrestle Like A Girl.
“We had, I believe, 239 girls on the regular high school roster this past year, and there was a girl representing a school in every single district across the state,” Heckert said.
Heckert says allowing girls to wrestle other girls puts them on a more even playing field and provides a level of comfort that isn’t as common when boys wrestle girls.
“When you give the girls the opportunity to compete against girls, the numbers grow significantly,” Heckert said.
The PIAA will not sanction or recognize girls wrestling until at least 100 schools have teams, but Heckert hopes NA’s newest athletic program will help grow the sport.
The team is expected to have between six and eight wrestlers for its first year.
“There’s no reason within a couple of years, we’re not at that 100 threshold, and we see girls wrestling actually sanctioned,” Heckert said.