SIDNEY — Sidney City Schools has come up with a way to honor freshman wrestler Josie Davis for winning an individual state title in the inaugural Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls tournament on Sunday.
The district will present Davis with a banner at a school board meeting on March 16 and a matching banner will be hung in the high school’s auxiliary gymnasium. The auxiliary gym was formerly shared by many sports for practice but since the construction of the Goffena Training City last year has been used exclusively by the wrestling team.
The decision comes after much criticism was aimed at the school on social media in recent days after Jeff Davis, Josie Davis’ father, posted on Facebook alleging his daughter was told by Sidney athletic director Mitch Hoying the school wouldn’t hang a banner in its main gym for the tournament result. Jeff Davis alleges in the online posting Hoying said there would be no banner “because it’s not a real championship.”
Sidney City Schools superintendent Bob Humble met with Josie Davis, her father, Hoying and assistant principal Kevin Boerger on Friday and informed her of the decision.
“She seemed to be very excited about that as did her parents,” Humble said. “… She’s an extraordinary athlete and we wanted to come up with a way to honor her achievement.”
Humble said the “not a real championship” remark was a result of a misinterpretation of Davis being informed banners in the main gym are reserved for sports sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He said though no banner was planned, the school district was already planning to honor Davis in some fashion.
“There are ‘state’ tournaments in many sports that are run (by private organizations),” Humble said. “… We reserve the space in our competition gym for league championships and OHSAA championships.”
Girls wrestling is a club activity and is in its infancy as a separate sport from OHSAA-sanctioned coed wrestling. Girls duals tournaments have been held locally for the first time this season, including at Miami East High School, which had a 16-member team compete in last weekend’s tournament run by the state coaches association.
Due to increasing interest in the sport, the OHSWCA decided last summer to organize a girls state tournament for the first time. The tournament was held last Saturday and Sunday at Hilliard Davidson High School.
The event was a private tournament that required entry fees for participants. About 250 wrestlers from 99 schools competed across 14 weight classes.
Sidney was one of 15 schools out of the 99 that had four or more wrestlers compete in the tournament. Seventy-seven schools had two or less wrestlers compete.
The Yellow Jackets finished sixth overall and edged out seventh-place Lakota West by a point and eighth-place Bellefontaine by two points. Lakota West also had four wrestlers compete while Bellefontaine had three.
Davis had much success competing in youth and middle school national tournaments and will compete for a national team in a tournament in Europe in late March according to a Facebook post by her father.
She was given the No. 1 seed in the 126-pound class in the tournament and claimed the state championship after winning by fall in five matches, including in 48 seconds in the championship match against Defiance’s Carmela Castaneda.
The OHSWCA is seeking to have girls wrestling earn “emerging sport” status from the OHSAA. That would put the sport on a probationary sanctioning status by the OHSAA, which would organize statewide postseason tournaments. If interest continues to increase, full sanctioning would follow.
The most recent sports to gain emerging status and later become fully sanctioned by the OHSAA are boys and girls bowling, which underwent the process starting in 2007.
The OHSAA voiced support for last weekend’s OHSWCA girls tournament but was not affiliated with the event. Some confusion about the OHSAA’s involvement arose from commenters on social media due to the podium used at the event having an OHSAA logo on it.
Davis will also have her name placed on a board in the hallway behind Sidney’s main gym near the athletic office that lists the school’s all-Ohio honorees. That hallway also contains individual and team record boards for all the schools’ sports.
Humble said records for current girls wrestlers are being kept and a board will be added in the same hallway when the OHSAA sanctions the sport, which he said he expects will happen in the coming years. Humble said that’s similar to what Sidney has done in recent years for other new sports.
Davis and most other girls wrestlers compete on OHSAA-sanctioned coed teams. Davis was scheduled to wrestle with Sidney in the Division I sectional tournament on Friday night at Centerville High School.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.