by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – Times are a-changing in the sports world! History was made in Columbus last Thursday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Board of Directors voted to add Women’s Wrestling and Men’s Volleyball officially as “emerging sports” in the 2022-2023 school year.
“The OHSAA recognizing men’s volleyball is a huge win for the sport and for everyone that has worked so hard to get the boys game recognized on the big stage in Ohio,” former Loveland High School JV “A” Team Head Coach Matthew Ellis said, “There are a lot of people who have coached boys club and boys high school that deserve a ton of praise for getting the ball rolling on this. Volleyball is a game for everyone and this is a big step in showing that.”
Loveland Athletic Director Brian Conatser told Loveland Magazine on Friday, “That’s great. Obviously, we’ve had a very successful men’s volleyball program here at Loveland. We’re excited. What a great opportunity. I know that Head Coach Terri Swensen is super excited.”
Men’s volleyball is not currently an Eastern Cincinnati Conference sport according to Conatser. He said that the Conference will have to vote on it. “I’ll be the first one to bring it up,” added Conatser laughing.
The OHSAA Wrestling Coaches Association has held a Women’s wrestling tournament since 2020 and the OHSAA Men’s Volleyball Association has held its tournament since 1998 according to the OHSAA press release that was sent out on Thursday.
“The OHSAA has been talking with the boy’s volleyball and girls wrestling leaders for several years and we are now in the position to bring these two sports into the OHSAA,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute, “This move will help those sports continue to grow and allow those student-athletes to compete for an OHSAA state championship. It gives more kids opportunities and that is the mission of the OHSAA. We will look to keep a very similar format for the girls wrestling and boys volleyball tournaments as what the coaches associations have been doing,” Ute added, “The girls wrestling state tournament is held in mid-February and the boy’s volleyball state tournament is held in the spring. We have not yet developed tournament regulations, but we’ll start working on that so that those two sports hit the ground running next fall for the start of the 2022-23 school year.”
Conatser said that Loveland has not had any female wrestlers in the past and that the sport is currently configured where females compete in whatever weight classification, Varsity or JV, they fit into with the current traditional high school’s program. Conatser said, “It’s actually co-ed now in Ohio. At Loveland, we’ve had some interested females in the past but none competed. I’m sure now that it is an OHSAA sport we will probably, and hopefully, we will see some females that will want to come out and participate.”
Conatser said it will take some time to figure out how Loveland will handle coaching positions, etc. He said he assumed that females competing against males will continue until a transition to female-specific teams is organized. Currently, OHSAA has separate State tournaments for Women’s and Men’s wrestling competitions.
OHSAA sports, with the new additions, officially has grown to 28, distributed evenly between men and women.
OHSAA also announced on Thursday that they have plans to discuss providing an Esports tournament because gaming has grown exponentially in schools across the country over the last few years. OHSAA is actively looking to partner with a group that specializes in Esports.
Here at Loveland Magazine, we are overjoyed to hear the news about the addition of Women’s Wrestling and Men’s Volleyball to the OHSAA organization! Congratulations to all those who officially get to now compete within their high schools in these 2 new emerging OHSAA sports! We can’t wait to see our Loveland Tiger Women’s Wrestling and Men’s Volleyball teams compete in 2022-2023!
For the latest updates on local sports news stay tuned to the Loveland Salad With ME, Cassie Mattia!
Columnist Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland. She is the Co-Owner, Associate Editor, and Director of Marketing for Loveland Magazine. Contact her if you are interested in promoting your event or business in Loveland Magazine. Cassie also Emcee’s events so feel free to reach out if you are in need of an Emcee for your next event, fundraiser, or sports-related competition. Cassie was just awarded the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance 2021 Young Business Professional of the Year. Follow Cassie on Instagram and/or Facebook!