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ON THE RISE: How girls wrestling has grown since it was sanctioned by the NSAA

Ann Marie Meiman
2024 NSAA State Wrestling Finals
Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-26 22:42:20-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Girls wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in America and in Nebraska, it shows. We spoke to three young women at the Nebraska Wrestling Academy, inspired by the sport.

  • Since girls wrestling was sanctioned two years ago, the sport has grown in participation by 145%.
  • Video shows boys and girls practicing together at the Nebraska Wrestling Academy.
  • In April, the NSAA will vote to add another class for the sport to help divide the current 177 teams.


Girl’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports in America and that can be seen right here in Nebraska. At the Nebraska Wrestling Academy the love for the sport is fostered for boys and girls alike. But since the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) sanctioned girls wrestling, it's only inspired more young girls to get involved.

Middle-schooler Emie Mogg is in her first year of wrestling.

"It's just been in the family, and I was like, I guess I'll just do it."

She's just one of many girls who practice here several nights a week.

"This sport is just like really awesome. It makes you stronger and tougher and then it helped me — it helps you make friends."

As an 11-year-old, Emie has a lot of goals.

"Just to like get better and like push myself harder. Get into college. Wrestle high school and college."

In 2021, the NSAA sanctioned girls wrestling. Then, there were 709 girls participating in the sport. Now, that number has grown by 145%.

And girls like sophomore wrestler Kalynn Lyons owe it to places like this.

"I don't think I 've ever really felt the way I've felt as a person before like wrestling. I didn't really know like how to have control, how to communicate with others," said Kalynn.

It isn't just Nebraska that's seen a rise in the sport’s popularity either.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), high school girls wrestling grew by 55% from 2021 to 2023.

It's led girls like Ann Marie Meiman to dream bigger.

"I don't know where I'm going yet or anything, but you know I really want to work to become an All American in college, that'd be awesome," said Meiman.

Here at the club, their numbers have grown too from just one girl in 2013 to almost 60 now. Making it a place for wrestlers of all kinds.

"Like you see all the photos up here and it’s not just guys, it’s a whole bunch of girls up there like I look up to like everybody on that wall," said Lyons.

To support growth at the high school level, the NSAA will vote to add another class for girls in April. This means a Class A and Class B to divide the current 177 teams.