TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) Starting next year, female wrestlers in high school will have a post season tournament recognized by the state.
2019 Kansas Girls State Wrestling Chamionship at McPherson on Saturday, February 9, 2019. (Photo: Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)
Mya Kretzer, a senior wrestler at McPherson High School, has had a lot of success in her sport. She's got the varsity letter patches, and the all-american medals to prove it.
"I just wanted to make it to boys state because if I placed there, I could be recognized on the wall at my high school," Kretzer said.
Kretzer is one of the top wrestlers in the country, she's won three unofficial state championships but none that are technically recognized by the Kansas High School Athletics Association.
"It happened and I was just crying but I didn't even know what I felt, honestly," Kretzer said. "There was just so much ingrained in my head."
Kretzer says that feeling came after KSHSAA voted 63-2 in favor of making girls wrestling a sanctioned sport. This will now add a state championship division in 2020, and will be the first new sport added in Kansas since 2005.
According to the rule, there will be a two year transition period to permit girls to wrestle in either girls' or boys' lineups. Following that period, girls will only wrestle against girls and participate in the girls postseason.
The change goes into effect next season but for Kretzer's dad and coach, Doug Kretzer, this has been four years of work finally paying off.
"At times it was tough, there's no 'out of the box template' on how to make a big change," her dad said. "You're trying to figure out what KSHSAA wants, you're trying to prove to them that it is a valid cause, and there are a lot of unknowns."
Kansas becomes the 15th state to sanction girls wrestling.