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Girls wrestling takes off

ASHEBORO — If someone asks what is the fastest growing sport in high school athletics, there would probably be a lot of stunned expressions when told the answer.


Girls wrestling at the high school level is the sport taking the country by storm and Asheboro High School and fellow Mid-Piedmont Conference members are set to provide their student-athletes with the opportunity to compete next year.


The NCHSAA officially sanctioned girls wrestling this past year with the first all-girls state tournament held, and with more and more girls taking the mat, it’s a sport AHS will sponsor for the 2024-25 season.


“We feel this sport is going to continue to grow,” AHS Athletic Director Wes Berrier said. “We know it’s coming, whether we are ready or not. About every team in our conference had at least one.”


Berrier said as few as two girls can constitute a high school team and AHS will work to make sure the boys and girls wrestling programs are separate from one another. The teams will not train together, although MPC matches could fall into a “doubleheader” category.


Chosen to head the program is Chris Hall, the boys assistant wrestling coach the past few seasons.


“It’s pretty awesome, nervous and nerve wracking at the same time,” Hall said. “Building a program from basically zero is an honor that my higher ups — principal Ryan Moody and Athletic Director Wes Berrier — both think I can do. We have a very strong wrestling community here. We’re going to get some of the girls who are walking our hallways who say they want to wrestle, but they don’t want to wrestle the guys. Now they will have their own conference and their own state championship.”


Berrier said he expects the sport to succeed locally.


“Talking to other ADs in the conference, I think we will have enough teams to have a girls conference this coming year,” Berrier said. “Some teams may have two or three and others may have 10, 14 or 20. Early on, it’s going to be all over the place. But this will give the girls the opportunity to wrestle whether the team wins or not. At the beginning, it’s going to be more of an individual deal.”


Still, Berrier and Hall have set high goals for the first year. 


“One is to have 20-plus wrestlers finish the season,” Hall said. “My second short term goal is to have a successful season. I think this is doable with the athletes I have in the hallways.”


An interest meeting for all girls currently at AHS was scheduled for Wednesday. Interest meetings for girls at South Asheboro and North Asheboro middle schools will be held at a later date.


Hall will have a couple of what Berrier called Level 4 volunteers, females who will be part of the program. If 20 or more girls participate, AHS would hire an assistant coach.


Berrier said there has already been interest at AHS in the new program. Female managers of the boys team have shown interest and the one girl on this year’s team is certainly a candidate.