Will the University of Wyoming Ever Have a Women’s Wrestling Team?

Posted July 6, 2023 by Prairie Wife - 2 comments

“Will the University of Wyoming ever have a women’s wrestling team?”

It’s a question I’ve heard often in the last year.

In April of 2022, the state of Wyoming sanctioned girls’ wrestling at the high school level.

It was a decision that was made after years of behind-the-scenes work done by several devoted Wyoming coaches and families.

When the decision was announced, quite a few skeptics rolled their eyes over “the waste of time and money.”

Those of us who were already active in the sport knew precisely what would happen…an explosion!

In its first year, Wyoming Girls High School Wrestling showed the most significant growth in the nation, with over 200 girls signing up to participate. 

The first-ever High School State Girls’ Wrestling Championships were watched by hundreds, and the overwhelmingly positive response to the athleticism and skill that was observed has resulted in an expectation of even more growth for the upcoming 2023-2024 season.

Jessica Brenton is the current Director of Female Wrestling at the Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association (WAWA). She’s a former four-time All-American who wrestled in college for two years. Brenton has been at the forefront of the push to sanction girls’ wrestling in Wyoming at the high school level.

I’ve had the honor of working with Coach Brenton over the last three years, a relationship that began when my daughter (in 8th grade at the time) decided to leave ballet after nine years and “give wrestling a try.” Her brothers had been wrestling for years, and after years spent sitting in the stands watching them at 10-hour-long tournaments, she decided she would rather join in than watch. Our youngest daughter (6 at the time) decided to do the same...and just like that, we were a family with all five kids wrestling!

Over the years, I’ve noticed differences in how my daughters and sons wrestle.

Differences I’ve seen more and more as I’ve been able to watch other girls wrestle.

First, girls are more flexible, which results in specific technique changes when they’re wrestling each other vs when they wrestle boys.

And secondly, these girls are intense. They instantly go into attack mode on the mat, and the emotion and tenacity you see on the mat is like nothing else!

Yet another difference I’ve seen is the girls’ intense friendships off the mat. My daughter’s fiercest opponents are also their biggest cheerleaders and supporters.

This strong sense of connection and support between our female Wyoming Wrestlers is evident at out-of-state events, like the National Twin Rivers Duel in Des Moines, Iowa. A two-day dual where the girls wrestle as many as eight matches in one day. When not on the mat themselves, our girls kneel on the side, cheering and coaching their teammates.

This year’s 2023 Wyoming Girls Wrestling Team that went to Iowa numbered 63 girls and had wrestlers from ages 8 to 17 participating.

Compared to the 2022 team of 23 girls, the growth of this sport in Wyoming is again evident!

So, that brings us back to the University of Wyoming and the question on everyone’s mind, “Will the University of Wyoming ever have a women’s wrestling team?”

Currently, there are only three D 1 schools with a Women’s Wrestling team.

I want the University of Wyoming on that list as one of the first few schools that supported this sport…rather than the last!

As the equality state, it makes sense to be among the earliest D 1 schools to have a women’s wrestling team.

This Summer, the University of Wyoming held its first-ever Cowgirl Wrestling Camp and had 30 girls attending this 3-day Technique Camp. Female wrestlers came from all over Wyoming and from as far away as South Texas for the chance to work with the University of Wyoming wrestling team and its coaches.

When I asked University of Wyoming head coach Mark Branch what he thought about Women’s wrestling, he said, “I love that women’s wrestling is growing at such a rapid rate, and it’s continuing to make the sport of wrestling more healthy. Watching it blossom here in the state of Wyoming has really been encouraging. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

So what can we do to let the Univesity of Wyoming know we support the idea of a Women’s Wrestling team?

First, we must continue supporting our current UW men’s wrestling team. Share their social media posts, spread the word about the fantastic program that Coach Branch has built, and show up when you can to cheer them on in person.

Second, share posts like this on social media, and tag the University of Wyoming and Wyoming Cowboy Wrestling so they can see that you’d like them to grow their wrestling program to include women.

Third, email the University of Wyoming staff and our Wyoming government.

If we want a Women’s Wrestling program at the University of Wyoming, we must use our voices and let the right people know!

Below is a list of email addresses and a “fill in the blank” email you can copy and paste.

Tom Burman Director of Athletics at the University of Wyoming uwad@uwyo.edu

Matt Whisenant Deputy Director of Athletics mwhise@uwyo.edu

Use this link to email Governor Mark Gordon

Suggestions for email format:

[Fill in the blank with the name],

I wanted to take a moment to express my support and interest in the University of Wyoming creating a women’s wrestling program. The growth of women’s wrestling in Wyoming and across the nation has shown without a doubt that there is an ever-increasing interest in developing this sport.

I want to see Wyoming, the equality state, at the forefront of this growth.

My interest in women’s wrestling began [fill in the blank with a personal story].


In my own experiences with the sport, I saw the positive impact of women’s wrestling when [fill in the blank with a personal story].

If you have any questions or want to hear more of my positive thoughts about growing the University of Wyoming Wrestling program to include Women’s Wrestling, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at [fill in contact information].

Thank you for your time,

[Fill in your name]

Questions or concerns? Feel free to email me at prairiewifeinheels@hotmail.com or comment below.

Photo Credit: Black and White Pic Skyla Lee Photography 

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2 thoughts on "Will the University of Wyoming Ever Have a Women’s Wrestling Team?"

  1. Shane Salminen says:

    This would be amazing. Montana has had 3 girls championships and it’s the best thing that’s happened to Wrestling. It has revived the sport. Programs we’re dying all across America. Now they are flourishing. My Daughter is a Sophomore at Skyview in Billings and she would love to be on the first Cowgirl wrestling team! Her Brother Paolo signed with Wyoming this year! Montana has an Amazing 3xs state champion named Kassidee Savaria who would have loved to stay close by but had to go to Iowa.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I agree with you on all of this. I hate seeing our girls, that are so amazing, having to travel so far away to wrestle at the collegiate level. I hope you have the time to send some emails to UW to let them know you’d love to have your daughter wrestle as a Poke!

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