Prep Wrestling

Elkader Central adds girls' division for annual wrestling tournament

HS journalism: Coach Joe Koehn hopes to grow his team and sport

Elkader Central wrestling coach Joe Koehn is adding a girls’ division to the school’s annual invitational in hopes of  growing his numbers and the sport. (Samuel Nemechek/Elkader Central senior)
Elkader Central wrestling coach Joe Koehn is adding a girls’ division to the school’s annual invitational in hopes of growing his numbers and the sport. (Samuel Nemechek/Elkader Central senior)

ELKADER — Central High School will become the 11th school in Iowa and the third Class 1A school to start a girls’ wrestling team.

The hope is to compete in the Central Invitational on Jan. 5, as well as other tournaments with a girls’ division.

“The state has been working on trying to get the support and numbers for a girls’ division for the last couple years.” said head wrestling Coach Joe Koehn, “So it’s been a thought for a while. It was just waiting for a time to capitalize or an opportunity to do it. Nearby schools that are hosting a girls’ division are Waverly-Shell Rock and Independence. The two other 1A schools will be Wilton and Oakland-Riverside. This year is the first year in the history of Iowa high school wrestling that there will be a girls’ division in tournaments.”

Koehn talked with activities director Trevor Hunt, principal Aaron Reinhart, superintendent Nick Trenkamp and the youth wrestling board to get permission. Then, he contacted wrestling administrator Lewie Curtis with the Iowa High School Athletic Association and asked for information about girls’ wrestling. He informed Curtis that Elkader Central would like to host a girls’ division.

Koehn and assistant coach Issac Frieden are hosting a girls’ division at Central’s annual tournament in hopes of raising enough interest for an Elkader team to compete. Currently, Central’s wrestling team couldn’t be smaller so getting girls involved would raise numbers overall.

“There just isn’t enough girls throughout the entire state to set up girls’ wrestling teams with duals, triangulars and quads, but this is in the making and will be available in the near future with hard work and support from throughout the state,” Koehn said. “Last year there was nearly 100 high school girls that wrestled, which has been increasing greatly over the last few years and becoming one of the fastest growing sports in America.”

Outside of coaching wrestling, Koehn works as a salesman for Central Tank Coatings, Inc. He lives in St. Olaf with his dog, Leonard, and also coaches junior high wrestling, football and track and field. Koehn wrestled in high school and has loved the sport his entire life, and wants to see the sport grow.

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