Female wrestlers at practice

Penn Manor school board approves girls’ wrestling program

   The Penn Manor Board of School directors has approved the addition of a school-sponsored girls’ wrestling team for Penn Manor students in grades 7 through 12.

   Penn Manor becomes only the second school district in Lancaster County and the 23rd in Pennsylvania to offer girls’ wrestling, one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.

   The new Penn Manor girls’ team will compete beginning this winter, mainly at tournaments.

   Penn Manor’s head wrestling coach, Brandon Vernalli, will provide oversight of both the girls’ and boys’ wrestling teams, and practices for both teams can be held in the same facility at the same time, using the same coaching staff.

  There already is strong interest in girls’ wrestling at Penn Manor. The Penn Manor Youth Wrestling Club recently formed a girls-only group that currently has 16 girls signed up.

   National data has shown that girls who wrestle often are not involved in other sports, so a girls’ team will encourage more girls to participate in a co-curricular activity, giving them a stronger connection to the school community.

   In addition, wrestling provides a new opportunity for girls to earn wrestling scholarships to post-secondary institutions, and wrestling ranks second among all sports for producing first-generation college students.

   “The girls’ wrestling program creates an additional avenue for our female students to connect, engage, and feel like they belong,” said Steve Kramer, Penn Manor athletic director. “This program also can help open doors for them to further their athletic and academic careers at the collegiate level.”

   The athletic department is hosting an information meeting on the girls’ wrestling program at 5:15 p.m. today (11/17) on the social stairs next to the high school cafeteria.