The Davenport Community School District will be kicking off the new school year with its first sanctioned girls’ wrestling team.

Davenport North alum Josh Park has been named the head coach and will oversee wrestlers from Davenport North, Central and West High Schools. A former high school wrestler himself, Park is no stranger to grappling, as his daughters Tateum and Sydney wrestled for North and Central respectively.

“Wrestling is, by far, one of the most challenging sports,” Park said. “Wrestling’s been thought of as a boy’s sport. As more and more girls come out to wrestle, they see these are greater opportunities to do the sport.”

In January 2022, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Board of Directors unanimously voted to sanction girls’ wrestling, making it the organization’s 11th sport. Previously, girls competed against boys or against a limited number of girls. Park says sports programs tend to grow once they become sanctioned at the state level.

The Davenport Girls’ High School Wrestling District Team will be hosting open mat nights, Sunday, August 7 at 4:30 p.m. in West High School’s wrestling room and Wednesday, August 10 at 4:00 p.m. in North High School’s wrestling room. The open mat nights are open to high school girls interested in learning more about the sport and the season. Additionally, a youth wrestling program is in the works through Davenport West, expected to start mid-September, and there’s a middle school program expected to begin in October.

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