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On Ranking Girls

So we released the matmenTEN poll earlier this month.

Because I care about you, dear readership (even the couple of you who aren’t fond of me), I have to confess that — even though I knew the lists were based upon last year’s data and weight classes — I was not impressed with the views that they have inspired.

Rankings, as Brant will tell you (and I can confirm, having done them many many times over the years myself), are only worth working on if they are read. And if what I’ve seen so far is an indication of what will be the situation this upcoming year, the matmenTEN will be a one-year phenomenon only. I get data on what is read and looked at on the daily, and the numbers just don’t justify the work involved. I’m hopeful that’s just due to the fact that I limited it to last year’s information.

We’ll try it for a year. But you have to do your part.

Shortly after their release, however, I was asked by a reader if there would be a girls’ poll. My immediate response was that there weren’t enough girls wrestling in the north to justify a quality rankings set.

But, because I constantly question myself, I asked, is that actually true?

And so I set about a basic business of determining how many girls wrestled last year. That turned into the data you’ll see here.

I looked at 84 rosters and 84 sets of my own statistics. Based upon that review, we have either 90 or 94, or some number in between, girls that are eligible to return and wrestle in 2020-21 that competed last year in events that were reported to me. The reason I don’t know the exact number with certainty is that there were four girls from University-Orange City where I don’t know their years in school, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt as returners (hence the 94).

Now, there were more girls on Trackwrestling rosters that appeared, and therefore are eligible to compete. But they didn’t wrestle in any events for which I received results.

That would include the following number at each of the girls’ state weight classes:

  • 100 — 7 back
  • 106 — 10
  • 112 — 5
  • 117 — 7
  • 122 — 11
  • 128 — 8
  • 134 — 7
  • 140 — 8
  • 147 — 7
  • 154 — 3
  • 162 — 3
  • 172 — 4
  • 184 — 5
  • 197 — 5
  • 222 & 287 — none returning

Plus the four additional Lady Titans who would be sprinkled in depending on where they go.

Weight classes are a little fluid but not hugely so. A lot of the returning girls competed in girls’ tournaments, including state at Dr Phillips. But quite a few of them didn’t compete in any girls events, so we had to take the weight at which they wrestled in boys’ events and make an educated guess at which weight they’d compete at girls’ tournaments. But I think the numbers are pretty close to accurate.

I think the best answer on whether there will be a matmenTEN for girls this year depends on the following variables (and they are ranked in terms of importance):

1. RESULTS. There were a couple of events this year where we got nothing. Without calling out anybody, the Let Freedom Ring girls event at Freedom and the Lady Bulldog Brawl event at St Cloud had local teams in attendance. I got nothing from those teams. That has to change. Boys won’t get ranked if their teams don’t submit complete results; I see no reason why girls should be treated differently. More results are always better than less.

2. NUMBERS. I don’t have a hard-and-fast number at which I would say, OK, this is the threshold where we’ll rank or not rank. But I think, even if you can only rank a top-3 at each weight, every one of the weight classes between 100 and 197 should have at least five girls in them, if not more. We only have two weight classes with double-digit numbers of returners. I would guess, with sanctioning in play for 2021-22, that numbers will go up this year, as they have each season since I’ve been doing this.

3. BREADTH OF COVERAGE. We have 84 teams in this year’s upcoming coverage area. Of those 84 teams and 90/94 returning girls, those 90/94 girls wrestle for 36 of the 84 teams in the area. Three programs had only seniors wrestling for them a year ago, and have no returners. Again, that is subject to change, perhaps significant change, in a positive trend next year. And, like the numbers, there’s no hard-and-fast percentage on how many teams have to have girls on them — for example, I don’t need 75% of the teams this year — that would be 63 — to have girls make appearances. But the more girls that wrestle, and the more schools that are represented, the better the rankings can be. For example, Ponte Vedra had three returning girls at 134. There were seven for the entire area.

In the end, I’m always about the more, the merrier. That’s why we’ve gone from covering Duval/Clay/St Johns/Nassau, plus Columbia & Suwannee, to covering the entire north, sea to shining sea.

Hit me up if you want to see more specifics — such as who’s back and at what weight did they wrestle last year. I also have data on overall girls participation by district within the coverage area, and I’d be happy to share some of that on an individual basis. Just drop me a line.

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