A DC high school took a forfeit all season rather then letting a girl wrestle. Thoughts?

Roar More

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Aug 19, 2004
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A high school athletic department in Washington, D.C., was willing to take forfeits all season rather than allow a female student to compete on the wrestling team.

The female student, who was not named in the Washington Post story to protect her privacy, joined the team during preseason weightlifting sessions and attended around 90% of the workouts over the initial month. Michael Sprague, the St. John's College High School program's coach since November 2019, didn't see an issue.

But the administration did, according to the Post's feature story by Shane Connuck.

President Jeffrey Mancabelli and athletic director Dennis Hart told Sprague coed participation could cause issues in other school sports and it might negatively impact the program's ability "to recruit alpha males," per Sprague's notes cited in the Post.

The kicker: She would have competed at 106 pounds, the same weight class that St. John's had to forfeit all season because it didn't have a wrestler to compete.

Sprague pushes for female wrestler's inclusion​

Sprague, 25, told the Post he "made it my mission to do everything I could to get [the decision] changed."

He wrote a letter to the president and athletic director asking them to reconsider and cited the school's values of diversity and inclusion. He spoke with the head of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WACA) and the director of the the D.C. wrestling championships, confirming with them girls were allowed to wrestle in-conference and the postseasons.

“In 2021, it seems incredibly short sighted to deny one of our SJC students to compete in the co-ed sport of wrestling simply because of their gender,” Sprague wrote in the last paragraph of the letter, via the Post. “That is not the type of program that I want to represent and be a part of. As far as I am concerned, any SJC student in good academic standing, that is willing to show up to our practices, learn, and work hard is accepted and considered a valuable member of the St. John’s College High School’s wrestling team.”
Sprague, a two-time NCAA qualifier at American University, researched times St. John's competed against programs with girls on the team, including against Helen Maroulis. She went on to become the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games. And he worked with Sally Roberts, a decorated Team USA star who started the organization Wrestle Like a Girl.

HS admin denies girl sports opportunity​

The three had a conversation that Sprague told the Post was mostly the administration telling him they'd already made up their minds.

Sprague said the administrators conveyed that St. John’s already had a disadvantage in vying for top boys’ athletes against other D.C.-area schools such as DeMatha and Gonzaga because St. John’s is a coed school. Sprague considered that a “confusing and ridiculous claim” and said the wrestlers on his team do not feel this way.
The president and athletic director declined to comment to the Post, but the school confirmed the athletic director makes final decisions about team size, gender, class eligibility and other composition issues.

Title IX when there is not equal offerings​

The school's claim that allowing coed participation in wrestling might cause issues in other sports is true to a certain extent, but it's not a negative. Students can already join sports if there is no specific offering for them.
Title IX, which turns 50 years old in June, promises equal access for all students and protects them against discrimination on the basis of sex. It applies largely to public educational institutions, but can apply to private schools if they accept "federal financial assistance" in any way. And beyond legalese, schools should want to provide equal opportunities to all of their students.
It is because of Title IX that girls participation in sport has skyrocketed since its passing in 1972 and there are equal offerings for sports such as basketball and soccer. Those are distinguished by "boys basketball" and "girls basketball." But sports such as wrestling, football or volleyball are not labeled in the same way because there is no equal offering. So if a girl wants to wrestle, she can join what is largely viewed as the "boys" team. And if a boy wants to play volleyball, he can join what is largely viewed as the "girls" team.
Wrestling might be one of the best sports for coed participation because it is divided by weight class and features one-on-one competition. Had St. John's allowed her to participate, she would have hit the mat against opponents around her size and would not have had to rely on teammates to be involved. And as Sprague noted, she committed to practices and gaining the skills to be on the team. As it is, wrestling teams often take forfeits in certain weight classes — often lower ones — because of small school sizes.

Girls wrestling teams grow​

The claim it might negatively impact the ability to recruit "alpha males" is nonsensical and raises questions about the kind of culture they're fostering in the first place. There are many instances over the years of girls joining wrestling teams only to have male opponents forfeit. "Don't lose to a girl!" is inexplicably thrown around by coaches from the youth mats to high school levels.
Thankfully in certain areas of the country, girl-specific programs are sprouting up to properly support the increased interest by girls in wrestling.
The high school association in the state of Colorado held its first state girls wrestling championships in 2019. New York's association is working toward making it an "emerging" sport status en route to a sanctioned event. Sections within the state have already started an all-girls championship to give students opportunities.
And that all but forces change higher up the rungs. Colleges are beginning to add female-only teams and last fall Iowa announced it will begin competing in the 2023-24 season, making it the first Power Five school to add the sport. A high school girls state championship is coming to Iowa next year. And wrestlers at the Olympic level have prompted interest since 2004. Take Tamyra Mensah-Stock's exciting gold in Tokyo.
The St. John's administration suggested the wrestler start a club team that after operating "successfully" for three years could "become eligible" for varsity status. Sure, it's a leadership opportunity. But should it fall on a high schooler to recruit peers and start a program in order to simply play a sport she shows interest in when there's one already there?

 

PSU Mike

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Wonder what the school would have done had she identified as male? I’m actually serious to a degree. We’re going to see cases, maybe not in athletics, where the “rules” on selectively identifying one way or another at different times will be tested. Put a different way, how long does either implicitly or explicitly identifying “lock” one in?

I’m not taking any social or political stance (and won’t get dragged into such an argument), just wondering aloud.
 

PSU Mike

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Catholic school doesn't allow girls to wrestle boys? Not news.

Sprague could not have possibly been surprised by this.

He needs to start a girls' program.
Are dominant girls considered Alphas, or are they relegated to like Gammas? That would need to be resolved first.
 

geneo43

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I haven't posted in years but love wrestling and enjoy your posting. In 2000 I was the middle school wrestling coach at Fork Union Military Academy. That was a great experience. We competed against private schools and public schools. On two or three occasions we competed against girls. Fork Union is not coed and didn't restrict wrestling girls, A couple girls were not to good and we won, but one was good and we lost. It was a tough match to coach. As it turned out our guy just couldn't figure out how to grab a hold of her and he was way too polite. Needed some comfort by the coach and guys but he survived. Thanks again for all the great comments on the best college wrestlers and team.
 

Chickenman Testa

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Catholic school doesn't allow girls to wrestle boys? Not news.

Sprague could not have possibly been surprised by this.

He needs to start a girls' program.
Catholic schools largely silent re: enablers of sexual predation that still find protection from the Church establishment

But girls wrestling boys - verboten!!!!


licensed-image
 

PSUbluTX

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... A couple girls were not to good and we won, but one was good and we lost. It was a tough match to coach. As it turned out our guy just couldn't figure out how to grab a hold of her and he was way too polite. Needed some comfort by the coach and guys but he survived. Thanks again for all the great comments on the best college wrestlers and team.
It's understandable how/why that might be awkward for a middle school boy. I imagine the kid going into the stands before the meet and telling the girl's dad, "Sir, I just want to apologize in advance for how I'm about to touch your daughter in public."
 

js8793

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Indiana had 2 girls qualify at 106 this year. Single class state, so pretty big deal. The first and only other was Kayla Miracle. Sarah Hildebrandt came relatively close one year I believe.
 

1032004

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Jan 3, 2019
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Catholic school doesn't allow girls to wrestle boys? Not news.

Sprague could not have possibly been surprised by this.

He needs to start a girls' program.

It doesn't say there was a set policy though. Just that "coed participation could cause issues in other school sports and it might negatively impact the program's ability "to recruit alpha males"
 

SRATH

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My oldest wrestled one year in third grade and didn't like it enough to continue. My wife hated it too. This is 15 plus years ago. There were girls who wrestled boys and as one could imagine, the girls who were wrestling were physically far ahead of most of the boys at any given age weight. When a boy lost to a girl, they inevitable balled their eyes out and I doubt followed up with wrestling. I was not a fan. It was a tough situation because it was supposed to be a casual, developmental environment. Of course, this didn't help the boys.......or the girls. None of the girls kept at it because they effectively had nowhere to go......and biology began to turn the tables.

That said, by the time HS rolls around, I would have no problem with a female participant. If the admin had a problem, then I would starting my own female team which is what should be happening to begin with. If it is a team of one, then that is what it is to get started.

I would forfeit 106. Then I would bring my girls team participant out. If the other team didn't want to put a boy out there, forfeit win for the girls and the other teams 106 wouldn't get a match.

Finally, I consider my faith the most important part of my life, but a Catholic School is hardly the moral compass I would be focused on.
 

Roar More

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I would forfeit 106. Then I would bring my girls team participant out. If the other team didn't want to put a boy out there, forfeit win for the girls and the other teams 106 wouldn't get a match.
I don't understand this. If the other school did not have a girl's team, why would they schedule a dual?
 

Aardvark86

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Jan 23, 2018
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Wonder what the school would have done had she identified as male? I’m actually serious to a degree. We’re going to see cases, maybe not in athletics, where the “rules” on selectively identifying one way or another at different times will be tested. Put a different way, how long does either implicitly or explicitly identifying “lock” one in?

I’m not taking any social or political stance (and won’t get dragged into such an argument), just wondering aloud.
As a catholic school that would not likely have helped
 

Aardvark86

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Jan 23, 2018
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It doesn't say there was a set policy though. Just that "coed participation could cause issues in other school sports and it might negatively impact the program's ability "to recruit alpha males
The argument is complete bs. The reality is that Gonzaga, dematha, and stj are simply not wrestling schools.

but you do have to recognize that with all of their ua money, that school is hyper focused on its athletic programs.
 

SRATH

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I don't understand this. If the other school did not have a girl's team, why would they schedule a dual?
Just to force the issue, both internally and with other schools. Transformational actions often cause chaos and ridicule. Its still February so I'll toss Rosa Parks out there. There was a Peaceful Lion......not to be denied. We need more people like Parks today in this f'd up world. Jesus was despised by the authorities.

By now, everyone should know, women's wrestling is awesome.
 

Cowbell Man

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Feb 2, 2002
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A high school athletic department in Washington, D.C., was willing to take forfeits all season rather than allow a female student to compete on the wrestling team.

The female student, who was not named in the Washington Post story to protect her privacy, joined the team during preseason weightlifting sessions and attended around 90% of the workouts over the initial month. Michael Sprague, the St. John's College High School program's coach since November 2019, didn't see an issue.

But the administration did, according to the Post's feature story by Shane Connuck.

President Jeffrey Mancabelli and athletic director Dennis Hart told Sprague coed participation could cause issues in other school sports and it might negatively impact the program's ability "to recruit alpha males," per Sprague's notes cited in the Post.

The kicker: She would have competed at 106 pounds, the same weight class that St. John's had to forfeit all season because it didn't have a wrestler to compete.

Sprague pushes for female wrestler's inclusion​

Sprague, 25, told the Post he "made it my mission to do everything I could to get [the decision] changed."

He wrote a letter to the president and athletic director asking them to reconsider and cited the school's values of diversity and inclusion. He spoke with the head of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WACA) and the director of the the D.C. wrestling championships, confirming with them girls were allowed to wrestle in-conference and the postseasons.


Sprague, a two-time NCAA qualifier at American University, researched times St. John's competed against programs with girls on the team, including against Helen Maroulis. She went on to become the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games. And he worked with Sally Roberts, a decorated Team USA star who started the organization Wrestle Like a Girl.

HS admin denies girl sports opportunity​

The three had a conversation that Sprague told the Post was mostly the administration telling him they'd already made up their minds.


The president and athletic director declined to comment to the Post, but the school confirmed the athletic director makes final decisions about team size, gender, class eligibility and other composition issues.

Title IX when there is not equal offerings​

The school's claim that allowing coed participation in wrestling might cause issues in other sports is true to a certain extent, but it's not a negative. Students can already join sports if there is no specific offering for them.
Title IX, which turns 50 years old in June, promises equal access for all students and protects them against discrimination on the basis of sex. It applies largely to public educational institutions, but can apply to private schools if they accept "federal financial assistance" in any way. And beyond legalese, schools should want to provide equal opportunities to all of their students.
It is because of Title IX that girls participation in sport has skyrocketed since its passing in 1972 and there are equal offerings for sports such as basketball and soccer. Those are distinguished by "boys basketball" and "girls basketball." But sports such as wrestling, football or volleyball are not labeled in the same way because there is no equal offering. So if a girl wants to wrestle, she can join what is largely viewed as the "boys" team. And if a boy wants to play volleyball, he can join what is largely viewed as the "girls" team.
Wrestling might be one of the best sports for coed participation because it is divided by weight class and features one-on-one competition. Had St. John's allowed her to participate, she would have hit the mat against opponents around her size and would not have had to rely on teammates to be involved. And as Sprague noted, she committed to practices and gaining the skills to be on the team. As it is, wrestling teams often take forfeits in certain weight classes — often lower ones — because of small school sizes.

Girls wrestling teams grow​

The claim it might negatively impact the ability to recruit "alpha males" is nonsensical and raises questions about the kind of culture they're fostering in the first place. There are many instances over the years of girls joining wrestling teams only to have male opponents forfeit. "Don't lose to a girl!" is inexplicably thrown around by coaches from the youth mats to high school levels.
Thankfully in certain areas of the country, girl-specific programs are sprouting up to properly support the increased interest by girls in wrestling.
The high school association in the state of Colorado held its first state girls wrestling championships in 2019. New York's association is working toward making it an "emerging" sport status en route to a sanctioned event. Sections within the state have already started an all-girls championship to give students opportunities.
And that all but forces change higher up the rungs. Colleges are beginning to add female-only teams and last fall Iowa announced it will begin competing in the 2023-24 season, making it the first Power Five school to add the sport. A high school girls state championship is coming to Iowa next year. And wrestlers at the Olympic level have prompted interest since 2004. Take Tamyra Mensah-Stock's exciting gold in Tokyo.
The St. John's administration suggested the wrestler start a club team that after operating "successfully" for three years could "become eligible" for varsity status. Sure, it's a leadership opportunity. But should it fall on a high schooler to recruit peers and start a program in order to simply play a sport she shows interest in when there's one already there?

what year is this? I feel like I’m about to jump out of a DeLorean and pass myself in the hallway.
 

Pitchfork Rebel

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Feb 20, 2020
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Catholic schools largely silent re: enablers of sexual predation that still find protection from the Church establishment

But girls wrestling boys - verboten!!!!


licensed-image
One case is too much. One coverup is too much.

Bur you think your public school is exempt from that? The Boy Scouts?


Of course, I would think somebody would be a little smarter than to give us a a bigoted red herring about another organization when we're in the house of Sandusky.

Wherever there's kids, there's predators and its always been that way.

Of course this has nothing to do with girls wrestling boys. I fail to see how parents that would be appalled by having a guy getting a triple on their daughter in the bedroom can't see the the problem with some kid hitting a high crotch on her on the mat. I also fail to see how when people that were so incensed by phrase "grab 'em by the p***y" are fine with it actually happening under the guise of athletic competition.

And while we're all supposed to believe the occasional exception is the rule, this is the reality.




I think if I was in high school today, I'd try to play field hockey just to prove a point.
 

Agoodnap

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Sep 27, 2015
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Catholic schools largely silent re: enablers of sexual predation that still find protection from the Church establishment

But girls wrestling boys - verboten!!!!


licensed-image
Just stop this shit! I don't care your reason for spouting this off but just stfu on this subject.