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NMAA gives a thumbs-up to girls wrestling

Girls wrestling will be sanctioned as a sport by the New Mexico Activities Association beginning the coming school year.

The governing body of state high school athletics’ board of directors on Thursday unanimously approved a proposal to sanction the sport for female athletes, including a state tournament.

“The sport has been growing fast all across the country, and we are happy to become the 18th state to sanction it,” NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said in a statement.

The NMAA has held an exhibition tournament for girl wrestlers in conjunction with the boys state tourney the last two years. Female participants have increased to 165 this past season from 79 just two years prior, the NMAA stated.

Wrestlers in the postseason will compete one of two regional tournaments, each of which will qualify four participants per weight class to state. The top three finishers at state will be awarded medals. And trophies will be awarded to the top three teams.

Girls still may compete in boys tournaments during the regular season, but must compete in the girls division during postseason, the board decided.

Among other items at Thursday’s board meeting, Marquez received a contract extension through 2021-22.

The Board also elected T.J. Parks of Hobbs Municipal Schools as president and Anthony Casados of Chama Valley Independent Schools as vice president for a two-year term.

The board meets next on Sept. 18.