Girls’ wrestling will be offered as a stand-alone activity beginning this school year after Abilene 435 BOE approved a proposal submitted by middle school athletics director Derek Berns Monday night during the Sept. regular board meeting.

Berns indicated there would be interest amongst seventh and eighth grade girls to participate in this girls-only sport. For 2021, the Kansas State High School Activities Association has mandated that girls will only wrestle other girls in middle school and high school competition.

After confirming that AMS could have as many as 10 or 12 girls interested in participating, Berns told the board that he feels likely they would end up with six to seven ideally on the team. He talked about competition and noted that most of the other NCKL middle schools were in talking phase of establishing their programs and probably wouldn’t compete this school year but that he had several contacts with other schools for year one.

“If approved we would offer this as a season during January and February as a stand-alone sport,” Berns said. “It will be the same time as boys’ basketball season. We might have a light schedule the first year, but the sport is rapidly growing.”

Berns told board members that Great Bend, Larned and Hays would invite Abilene to tournaments they have scheduled for 2021-2022 and that events in Wellington, Clearwater and Haysville would also be possible and that those schools would also be open to coming to Abilene for meets.

“At our league AD meetings, I told the other directors about our plans and that we would be the leaders in getting this off the ground,” Berns said. “They can then learn from us and look to us for guidance about their programs.”

Berns indicated that a separate head wrestling coach would be needed for the girls’ program as it would not be in conjunction with boys wrestling at the middle school level.


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