Tappan Zee High School sophomore Dani Parisi placed second in her weight class for USA Wrestling’s New York State Girls Folkstyle Championships last Saturday.
Parisi, who is also the TZHS Girls Varsity Lacrosse goalie, began wrestling as a preschooler and trains year-round. She joined TZ Wrestling as a freshman last year. “My brother started wrestling and I had to be his partner. He quit but I stayed with it,” she said. “What I like about the sport is that I can let everything out on the mat.”
Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics Bill Pilla is advocating for the New York State Public High School Sports Association to officially sanction the sport for girls. “The number of girls coming out for wrestling has been increasing across our region. USA Wrestling and other states have recognized girls wrestling as a sport–and it’s been an Olympic sport for nearly 20 years,” he noted. If NYSPHSAA sanctions it, more girls will participate and it’s likely that most schools would have a full girls team within five years.”
As a member of the TZ Wrestling team, Parisi currently competes against mostly boys through the mixed competition rule. If NYSPHSAA sanctioned girls wrestling, there could be separate girls teams and competitions, including Section and State championships.
“I started wrestling with my brother, so I’m used to wrestling boys. But there are a lot of girls who want to try wrestling but are afraid because they don’t want to do that. More girls would come out if it was a sanctioned sport.”.