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PIAA Girls Wrestling

Pennsylvania is a power house of wrestling. Over the past two years just in our viewing area, we’ve had countless state champions. Multiple National Champions and even a world champion for a State that is so dominate on the mats,
it’s missing something. Which is Girls Wrestling as a sanctioned sports

But one Bellefonte Area High School student is trying to change that

Annaliese Witmer has been a part of the wrestling community her entire life

“I have an older brother who wrestles at Columbia and so being surrounded by it I just eventually loved it”

At a very young age Annaliese fell in love with the sport. But at the time she was told wrestling wasn’t meant for the girls

“That made me feel like as a female I’m not supposed to like watching the sport rather than love it or want to participate”

Now as an uprising junior at Bellefonte High School, Annaliese said the stigma around girls wrestling has changes drastically

“Now it’s so big. There’s over 500 girls but there was probably maybe 5 when I was growing up”

The Centre County native took journalism her Sophomore year. She now writes for Bellenfonte High School paper the Red and White. Which sparked her interest to advocate online for Women’s Wrestling

“Takedown Talk is a website that I created to help promote womens wrestling in the media because there is a lack of coverage for womens wrestling in the media”

In order for girls wrestling to become a sanctioned sport in Pennsylvania, the PIAA requires 100 schools to have programs. 53 High schools currently have girls teams. 7 In our area

Chestnut Ridge was the 24th school in the Keystone State to add the sport. Josh Deputy is the head coach for the boys and girls team. Deputy said he was waiting around to add a girls team

“Our administration is second to non when it comes to wrestling. Myself and pat went to them with the idea and they were all in and willing to do whatever to make it happen. And we wanted to be the trailblazers in our area and you
know to be the leaders at showing we support the girls”

The Boys of Chestnut Ridge have developed a culture of success. Winning the district 5 2a title 10 straight years and going to the State tournament nearly every year.

The Lions success is now translating on the girls mats. Even though the PIAA doesn’t recognize the sport yet, there are competitions held throughout the year. Where one Lady Lion is taking down opponents left and right

“I have Patron Plummer who’s a two-time state champion in my room in the My house girls state championship. She deals with that. Being in a room with a bunch of boys but she does a great job and she is a fantastic young lady.”

Coach Deputy trains multiple girls at the compound at Ridge in New Paris. They all have dreams of wrestling at the next level

“I would love to be a State Champ before my high school career ends and then go to college.”

“I would like to go to college for it and get a scholarship”

“Probably get into a college and get into the Olympics”

Right now Gabrielle, Violette, and Juliet mainly wrestle boys. But they told me they like the challenge

“It’s definitely different but it’s nice because we can beat up on the boys”

Coach Deputy hopes that one day there will be tournaments soley held for the girls division

“It’s the fasting growing sport in America. Female sport in America. I think if the PIAA sanctions is you are going to see girls coming out of nowhere and it’s going to be easy to fill teams. Easy to find competition. I think once it’s sanctioned and they can guarantee girls-on-girl competition everywhere they go I think it’s going to explode. Especially here in PA. We are foolish not to have it”

Only 14 states have not sanctions girls wrestling yet. Pennsylvania being one of those states. But with people like Annaliese advocating for the sports that could soon change

“They have fought for so long and so hard trying to do what I’m doing but they did it alone. So i feel like they needed somebody else to fight with them”

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