Equality in Sports: Kansas expands inclusion in gendered sports


Photo Courtesy of Sara Lake

Junior Sara Lake takes her spot on the podium for second place at the Kansas High School Girls Wrestling State Championship

Zoey Pudenz, Co Editor-In-Chief

For the first time, the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHAA)has recognized girls’ wrestling as an official sport.

Previously, the state of Kansas only allowed schools to have either a co-ed wrestling program, or an all boys program.

Piper has a probation period of three years to decide whether or not a girls wrestling team works for Piper. As of now, Piper is a co-ed team with only one female wrestler, junior Sara Lake.

Lake has been on the wrestling team all three years of high school and received second at state last season.

“If we did just a guys’ team, I would have to go to another school that started a girls’ team,” Lake said. “Now that we have a co-ed team, when we go to a tournament that has a girls division I would have to sign up no matter what, even if there is only one girl in my weight class.”

Like many athletes, Lake works outside of school to better herself in the sport. She takes jujitsu lessons, as well as wrestling classes.

“I think it’s awesome that they’re trying to get a girls league at Piper,” Lake said. “I feel it’s going to be hard to get a girls wrestling league, but I am very excited.”

With the motivation to create a girls’ wrestling team, there is also talk of starting an all boys volleyball team.

Last year, athletic director Doug Key was introduced to the idea of having a boys volleyball team. The season would occur during the spring and would be considered a club.

“I made conversations with Heart of America Volleyball and they’re trying to do a high school-wide club,” Key said. “It will be voluntary and is not a part of KSHAA…They have no indication of implementing boys’ volleyball as a sport.”

The rules and regulations for the boys’ volleyball team will be the same as the girls, the only difference being the net height.

There are about 18 to 20 schools in the metro area that have a boys’ volleyball team. Since the team is considered a club, it would not follow the eligibility policy.

“Hopefully, we have a meeting sometime before Christmas break to see who would be interested and understand that there is a financial commitment,” Key said. “I think we have about 12 to 15 students that would be interested.”

Amongst those students is sophomore Langston Bassett, who plans to join the club.

“The reason I want to try it is because I am willing to branch out and try something new and create new openings for myself,” Bassett said. “It is something different that is starting up at school, and I want to support it.”