March 5, 2020,

Female freestyle grappling is emerging and exploding in ways that few thought of before.



According to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, “In 1990, there were 112 girls who participated in high school wrestling. For 27 straight years, girls high school wrestling has grown. In many of those years, the percentage of growth was 10% or more. In the 2016-17 high school year, there were 14,587 girls wrestling in high school. And it is well known that that number is too small, because some high school state associations still do not report how many girls they have.”

We can attest to that amazing growth.,, Southern-Oregon-University-photo-credit

Our associates at,, and had a chance to attend a girls wrestling event in Rocklin, California and were shocked at the size of the attending crowd. It was so huge that there was over flow parking and many had to be bused in to the event.

Rocklin, Nor Cal, Stellar Massive Female Grappling Tournament

Less than a decade ago that would have only been a dream.

Today it is a growing reality.

The benefits to the girls involved are growing as well.

In an interview with, Ms. Sally Roberts, Executive Director of Wrestle Like a Girl, a nonprofit organization that works to empower girls and women in the sport expressed, “Wrestling provides a path of educational, social and financial mobility for wrestlers,” Roberts says. “Wrestling supports kids staying in school, getting good grades and seeking opportunities post-high school such as college, the trades or military service. Regardless of each wrestler’s chosen path, they are primed to excel and become leaders.”

Very inspiring to know.

Team USA adds, “According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), the number of girls who wrestle at the high school level has grown from 804 in 1994 to 16,562 in 2018, and 15 states now sponsor high school girls wrestling championships. There are currently 46 colleges and universities in the United States that sponsor women’s wrestling at the varsity level, with another 14 planning to add the sport within the next two years.”

We look forward to that.,, Ottawa-University-Athletics-photo-credit.

Another major factor that could pour positive gasoline on the growth is if Girls Wrestling gets final approval as an NCAA emerging sports. The number of scholarships awarded to girls across the country would surge.

As reported on July 26, 2019 by, “In separate actions this week, the NCAA Division II and Division III Management Councils each recommended that their divisions add women’s wrestling (along with acrobatics/tumbling) to their list of emerging sports for women.”

At the NCAA website they add, “The Emerging Sports for Women program was created in 1994 based on a recommendation from the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force.

An NCAA survey conducted in the early 1990s showed that 20 years after Title IX was passed, female students had about 30 percent of the athletics participation opportunities offered by NCAA institutions. In 2016-17, female students had 44 percent of athletics participation opportunities but made up 54 percent of the complete undergraduate population on NCAA campuses.

The purpose of this program continues to be to grow meaningful intercollegiate sport participation opportunities for female student-athletes in sports that have the potential to reach the required number of varsity teams to be considered for NCAA championship status.,, Midland-University-photo-credit.

The Emerging Sports for Women program is managed by the Committee on Women’s Athletics. The committee oversees the application process for applicant emerging sports and recommends to each division through the NCAA governance structure to add or remove sports from the NCAA’s Emerging Sports for Women program. The NCAA governance structure for each division determines which sports are Emerging Sports for Women and votes to establish a National Collegiate Championship or division championship for sports that satisfy legislated requirements.

NCAA legislation allows a National Collegiate Championship or a division championship to be established in an emerging sport if at least 40 NCAA institutions sponsor the sport at the varsity level. A sport is no longer considered an emerging sport once the sport has been established as a championship sport. Further, an emerging sport is limited to a 10-year period to become a championship sport unless it can be demonstrated that steady growth has occurred during that time. NCAA institutions may use emerging sports to satisfy minimum sports-sponsorship requirements for all divisions and minimal financial aid awards for Divisions I and II. If an institution lists an emerging sport on its NCAA sports sponsorship and demographics form, that sport must follow all applicable NCAA rules.

Since the Emerging Sports for Women program was established in 1994, five sports have earned NCAA championship status: rowing (1996); women’s ice hockey (2000); women’s water polo (2000); bowling (2003); and women’s beach volleyball (2015).

The Committee on Women’s Athletics created this process guide in 2016 as a resource for applicants pursuing membership in the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program and for the leadership of current emerging sports.”,, Simon-Fraser-University-photo-credit.

Clearly Women’s Wrestling at the high school and collegiate level is moving in the right direction.

One of the young women who is becoming the face of today’s competitive female grappling is Sarah Hildebrandt.,, United-World-Wrestling-photo.

Sarah is an American freestyle wrestler who at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships won the silver medal in the women’s 53 kg event.

At the 2018 Pan American Wrestling Championships held in Lima, Peru she won the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg event.

In 2019 at the Golden Grand Prix Ivan Yarygin 2019 held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia she won the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg event. At the 2019 Pan American Wrestling Championships held in Buenos Aires, Argentina she won the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg event. She also won the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg event at the 2019 Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru.,,,, United-World-Wrestling-photo.

On January 22, 2019, announced, “RUDIS, the fastest growing athletic apparel brand in wrestling, continues to invest in wrestling and the Olympic Dream by signing its first female wrestler, Sarah Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt’s most recent stand out silver medal performance at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest compliments her many impressive career accolades such as being a three-time Pan Am Champion, two-time World Team Member, and a two-time WCWA College National Champion.”

Here is a capsule of her incredible accomplishments:

World Championship Experience

  • 2018 World silver medalist
  • 2016 World Team member
  • Two-time Junior World Team member (2012, 2013)
  • 2013 University World Games Team member

Other Career Highlights

  • Two-time Final X champion (2018, 2019)
  • Four-time Pan American Championships champion (2013, 2015, 2018, 2019)
  • 2018 U.S. Open champion
  • 2018 Outstanding Ukrainian Memorial champion
  • Second in 2017 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix (Russia)
  • Two-time WCWA national champion and four-time finalist for King University

As the excitement of female grappling grows around the world, in terms of the explosion in popularity, we sense we are still in the very early stages.,,,, Brock Badgers photo credit

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Opening photo,, Presbyterian-College-photo-credit