The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) board of directors voted 13-0 this week to officially sanction girls wrestling.
For the first time girls wrestling will become a sanctioned state championship sport starting in 2021-22.
"This has been a long time in the making," said Okeechobee High School wrestling coach Bruce Jahner. "I am excited to see that girls wrestling will finally be a sanctioned sport in Florida and the girls will get the recognition they deserve."
Women's wrestling became an Olympic sport in 2004. Florida is now the 24th state to officially sanction the sport at the high school level.
Even before the FHSAA's announcement, Okeechobee's renowned wrestling program had girls participate and excel in the sport.
"Okeechobee is no stranger to women's wrestling," explained Jahner. "The Brahmans have had some tremendous female wrestlers over the years. We had girls place at national tournaments and were awarded All-American status. Courtney Bush and Corey Ann Jablonski were both invited to the Olympic training center."
"I believe we are making steps in the right direction with sanctioning women's wrestling in the state of Florida," continued Jahner. "I feel we dragged our heals over the years and it is time that we give these athletes the support they deserve. Florida has 600 to 700 female wrestlers competing in tournaments around the state."
The FHSAA also approved girls sand volleyball as a spring sport, giving it a recognized sports status in 2021-2022.