Girls wrestling is picking up steam across Pennsylvania, and that wave of momentum has now reached local shores as Chestnut Ridge formally approved a varsity program at its school board meeting Tuesday night.
With it, Ridge is the 24th district in the Commonwealth to add girls wrestling to its scholastic athletic offerings. Early this morning, postings to social media put the number at 25 with the addition of Big Spring.
“I am excited that Chestnut Ridge has chosen to give these girls the opportunity, and given another avenue for the female student athlete to perform at the college level,” said Lions’ head coach Josh Deputy. “We will continue to hold these girls to a high standard as we do with our boys program and look forward to preparing them for the next level.”
Wrestling followers of the Lions are well-accustomed to success on the boys side, as Deputy and others along with former head coach Greg Lazor guided Chestnut Ridge from a strong local program to one of the best in the state over the past decade.
It would be no surprise to see the same level of attainment for Ridge’s girls team. Individually, sophomore Patron Plummer has already made a name for herself in winning a girls state championship last winter. Plummer’s accomplishments are sure to be a calling card for growth of the program.
Statewide, Chestnut Ridge is the 11th school district to add girls wrestling since the 2021-22 school year began three months ago. In addition to being the first from District 5, the Lions join Central Mountain and Bald Eagle Area as those from either District 5 or District 6. Although the PIAA has established a 100-program minimum to recognize girls wrestling as a official sport, getting to 25 schools is a major goal. With that number now achieved, girls wrestling can be given emerging sport status by the state’s athletic organization.
“Right now, girls high school wrestling in Pennsylvania is growing at an incredible rate,” said Brooke Zumas, a leader in the SanctionPA movement to certify the sport and the head coach at Parkland High School. “More schools have reached out and are in conversations to form teams than we’ve ever seen. We’re excited to reach the 25-school mark and apply to the PIAA’s Emerging Sport program.”
With the high school season quickly approaching, excitement is at a high level.
“The upcoming season should be an awesome high school wrestling season for girls in Pennsylvania,” added Zumas. “There are competitions across the state, and this year there will be regional tournaments in addition to states hosted by PAUSAW. Especially after last year when the pandemic limited the competition, we can’t wait for the upcoming opportunities that the girls will have.”