The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association has announced that it will sponsor a girls state tournament during the 2019-20 season.

The event, which was approved unanimously by the OHSWCA, will be held Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Davidson.

“It is our goal to make this a first-class event and build it to ‘emerging sport’ status with the (Ohio High School Athletic Association),” said Dean Conley, president of the OHSWCA. “Once we meet the requirements, we plan on handing this over to the OHSAA like we did with the state dual tournament. (OHSAA director of officiating/sport management) Tyler Brooks has been incredibly helpful with the process and is excited about the future possibilities of the sport.”

The state dual team tournament began in the 2012-13 season.

“The OHSAA is in full support of the OHSWCA conducting a girls tournament,” said Brooks, a wrestling administrator for the OHSAA. “This tournament is an important and necessary step for girls wrestling as they seek OHSAA emerging sport status. Last year, there were more than 200 females who wrestled for their school, so we look forward to partnering with the OHSWCA in order to help grow the sport of wrestling by increasing participation opportunities for female wrestlers.”

The announcement comes after a year of planning by the OHSWCA.

“We have been working on this for quite some time, but we could’ve never gotten this far without the support of the (OHSAA), Ohio Wrestling Officials Association and USA Wrestling (OH),” Conley said. “Our members see this as a no-brainer, but it took the legwork of past president (and former Davidson coach) Dominic DiSabato to really spearhead the project.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in order for this to be a top-flight event, but our committee is excited about the opportunity and we’re honored to be hosting the first ever high school girls state tournament in Ohio.”

DiSabato, who coached Davidson for 19 seasons, will serve as tournament director for the inaugural event.

“We’ve tried to meet with as many stakeholders as possible, including the OHSAA, USA Wrestling (OH), OWOA and several parents and coaches of current female wrestlers in Ohio and around the country,” DiSabato said.