Miami East hosts Olentangy Orange in the first-ever all-girls high shool wrestling match in Ohio.

Ohio girls wrestling makes history at Miami East: “It was amazing”

Ohio high school history visited Miami East High School on a frigid Wednesday night. It’ll be recorded as a 48-36 dual wrestling win by Columbus Olentangy Orange. What separates this meet from all the others since the Ohio High School Athletic Association first sanctioned the sport in 1938 is this was for girls only.

»» PHOTOS: Miami East vs. Olentangy Orange, girls wrestling

That’s rarefied company. Only two other girls dual meets had been held nationally.

“It was amazing,” gushed Miami East senior Camryn Miller, one of four Vikings to win by pin. “I’m positive the sport will grow. We have 17 new girls on our team; that’s how fast it’s growing.”

Olivia Shore of Miami East (top) takes down Ayla Castin. Olentangy Orange defeated host Miami East 48-36 in the Ohio’s first girls high school dual wrestling match on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The Ohio High School Wrestling Association is counting on the OHSAA to take notice of that. Girls on boys wrestling teams are common nowadays. However, this is the first season for girls to have a team to call their own.

»» RELATED: Northmont senior adds to Big Ten pipeline

No teams do that better than Miami East and Olentangy Orange. Both are guided by deep wrestling-rooted coaches: Miami East girls coach George Shore doubles as the USA Team Ohio coach. A spectator admiringly labeled him the Don King of girls wrestling, equal parts showman, entrepreneur and enthusiastic visionary.

Emily Adkins of Miami East (front) tries to escape from Alyssa Wallace. Olentangy Orange defeated host Miami East 48-36 in the Ohio’s first girls high school dual wrestling match on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Brian Nicola of Orange first coached girls wrestling 20 years ago and was enticed to return to the sport. They both embrace the opportunity to make gender history in their beloved sport.

»» RELATED: Beavers land rare defeat of ‘Cats

“They want to do things that other girls haven’t done before,” beamed Shore. “There are a lot of scholarships available for these girls. There are 60 colleges that offer (wrestling) scholarships for girls. We have quite a few college coaches in the house. We’re creating opportunities for the girls and everybody knows, education changes lives.”

Miami East girls wrestling coach George Shore. Olentangy Orange defeated host Miami East 48-36 in the Ohio’s first girls high school dual wrestling match on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

At stake for girls wrestling is to become an OHSAA “emerging sport.” That’s the short route for sanctioning. The OHSWA was told it would need 250 girls to participate in the sport state-wide to get its attention. Shore said there are 459 girls wrestling in Ohio this season, representing 60-plus teams.

“We busted it open,” he said.

»» RELATED: Wayne takes the Centerville challenge

Until then, girls teams like Miami East and Orange will be the sport’s banner-bearers. Both will participate in three girls-only invitationals this season and both will be team favorites at the first girls state tournament to conclude the season at Hilliard Davidson High School on Feb. 22-23. That meet, sponsored by the OHSWCA, is open to all girls with no qualifying meets.

Miami East wrestlers watch intently. Olentangy Orange defeated host Miami East 48-36 in the Ohio’s first girls high school dual wrestling match on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

According to the National Wrestling Coaches Association, girls high school wrestling participation hit an all-time high of 16,562 in 2018. Thirteen other states already sponsor girls state tournaments.

»» PHOTOS: Wayne at Centerville boys basketball

By comparison, the National Federation of State High School Associations listed 11,340 boys wrestlers in Ohio in 2017-18. That ranked No. 4 among all states that season.

Both teams were anchored by national-level standouts. Miami East junior Olivia Shore (111 pounds), George’s daughter, is a two-time USA World Team age-group member. Competing in Division III at 106, she became the first Ohio girl to win a state match last season.

»» RELATED: Wayne girls blitz Centerville

Orange had junior Taryn Martin at 126. She was a USA National Team member who competed in the most recent Pan Am Games. Both won by pin and both are tireless recruiters. Shore’s new teammates include Miller, the leading scorer on Miami East’s girls basketball team. Another is a gymnast.

Natalie Bair of Miami East won by pin. Olentangy Orange defeated host Miami East 48-36 in the Ohio’s first girls high school dual wrestling match on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“I went up to everyone and said is there anyone who wants to lay it out and try something new?” recalled Shore. “My team has heart for laying it out on the line for a brand new sport.”

»» PHOTOS: Centerville at Wayne girls basketball

It was the same for Martin at Orange.

“Taryn brought three friends (to practice) and told them to bring a friend,” Nicola said. “Girls just started showing up.”

»» RELATED: OHSAA tweaks competitive balance

Miami East athletic director Scott Donaldson ensured a charged atmosphere with a boys varsity dual meet against visiting Covington anchored on the other side of the gymnasium. That could be the new norm moving forward.

“Thirteen of my 14 combined weight classes had a combined record of zero wins and zero losses,” George Shore said. “We were absolutely straight out of the gate. I’m super proud of their effort. I’d say we’re more than ready to get sanctioned.”

»» SOCIAL MEDIA: You should like Marc Pendleton on Facebook and Twitter

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X