Frankfort’s Smith Becomes Michigan Girls Wrestling Representative
FRANKFORT — For Frankfort head wrestling coach Jaime Smith, the advocacy and growth of girls high school wrestling is huge.
Over the last few years, the sport has grown immensely in Michigan.
“In 2017, 159 girls. In 2018, 250 girls. In 2019, 327. Last year 500 girls were participating in the state of Michigan. Our stats in Michigan are insane,” Smith said.
As one of a handful of female coaches in the state and a former wrestler herself, she wants wrestling to be for everyone. She has an opportunity to help the sport grow, as she was named the Michigan girls wrestling representative for the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
“It’s kind of an interesting position, because 10 years ago, I didn’t want to point out that I was a female coach because I was the only one,” said Smith. “And it was all about blending in. But now that I’ve had 3 or 4 females wrestle for me, and I have three really tough girls in my youth program, I know that I have to start making sure that that trail is paved for them. So at the national level, my job is to communicate, where we are in regards to getting sanctioned.”
With the progress that has been made so far, Michigan could see girls wrestling become an MHSAA-sponsored sport and girls having their own spot at the state finals meet within the next couple years.
While there has been a state meet the last two years, it hasn’t been fully incorporated into the MHSAA state finals.
Twenty-nine states in the country already have girls wrestling as a sanctioned high school sport.