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Like most teams, girls wrestling numbers were down this year. But over the years, girls' involvement is growing.

COURTESY PHOTO: SCAPPOOSE WRESTLING - Wrestlers and coaches for the Scappoose High School team pose for a photo.With just nine girls wrestling for Scappoose High School this year, the team was still able to send two wrestlers to the state tournament.

OSAA typically hosts the state tournaments, but opted not to this year, so the Oregon Wrestling Association sponsored them instead.

Senior Isis Phillips and freshman Alana Garrison both qualified for the state tournament.

Phillips was the team's only senior, which means the team can expect to see the other eight wrestlers return next year — plus add in freshmen.

Coach Branden Bailey said with no tournaments for most of the season, the team struggled to get enough matches for the girls through dual meets.

Phillips "was one round out of placing (at state), which was incredible, because she did not get a lot of opportunities to wrestle, because a lot of teams didn't have anybody to wrestle her," Bailey said. "She went into the qualifying tournament with really not a ton of opportunity, and she made the best of it."COURTESY PHOTO: JESSICA KAUFFMAN AND JOSI WELTER - The Scappoose wrestling team competed in meets in May and June of 2021.

The number of girls joining high school wrestling teams has climbed in recent years, but this year brought a sharp drop in participation. The state didn't create a separate girls championship division until the 2018-19 school year, but numbers climbed since then.

"We saw about a 50% decline in girls competing statewide this year, which is obviously not ideal, because we were trending upward," Bailey said.

The Scappoose team had around 20 girls last year. Bailey said he hopes to get the team up to 20-25 girls each year.

Next year, the team expects to welcome a few incoming freshmen girls who have been wrestling at the middle school level.

"Anytime we have girls at the middle school level that are coming up, it's something to be super excited about," Bailey said.

"Next year we're going to be in a normal operation again, and you know, we hope any athletes that are interested in coming out join the team and try it out," Bailey said, stressing that no experience is required.

For both boys and girls, in high school or not, off-season workouts are already underway on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

COURTESY PHOTO: JESSICA KAUFFMAN AND JOSI WELTER - Maddie Meeuwsen begins a match against an opponent from Milwaukie.

Seven wrestlers place at state

Seven boys on the Scappoose High School wrestling team placed at the state competition last month. Three placed third: Anthony Comer (120-pound weight class), Deacon Smith (195-pound) and Cutter Sandstrom (285-pound). Trey Dieringer (170-pound) and Ben Rintoul (160-pound) took fifth place, while Wyatt Anicker (152-pound) and Carson Jackson (106-pound) took sixth.

The team sent 15 boys to state after the Northwest Oregon Conference District Championships. The team was named NWOC district champions, beating out St. Helens, which took second place.COURTESY PHOTO: SCAPPOOSE WRESTLING - Boys on the Scappoose wrestling team pose with their brackets after the NWOC District Championships.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story omitted the name of one of seven state-placers on the boys team. The story has been updated.

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