High school wrestling program now open to female athletes

by Melissa Martin

Oct. 26 school board meeting

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School wrestling coach has requested the district begin funding a female wrestling coach starting this season as girls wrestling is now a sanctioned high school sport in the state of Ohio.

Kevin McPherson, who has served as a wrestling coach for the past 21 seasons, told the school board that the district already has a freshman female wrestler signed up for this season with additional girls considering the sport.

“I find it embarrassing that this position, to date, has been denied,” he told the board. “Having a single girl wrestler at the high school is not a valid reason for not providing a coach for this young lady.”

McPherson said the district has an obligation to make athletics more accessible to students and should not discourage them from participating in sports.

“Girls wrestling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country right now,” he said. “There are several clubs offered throughout the state of Ohio, and those clubs are what led to the sanctioning of girls wrestling by the Ohio High School Athletics Association in 2022.”

McPherson said the longstanding reputation of the district’s wrestling program is appealing to both male and female students, thanks to the success of Todd Haverdill, the high school’s wrestling coach.

“He’s got three to four teams at a minimum scheduled each year – varsity A and B teams, junior varsity and freshmen,” McPherson noted.

Currently, the board has approved the funding of five wrestling coaches for the district. Three are at the high school-level and two are at the middle school. However, a total of up to eight coaching positions for the sport are available, and McPherson requested that one of the remaining positions be filled and funded for a female wrestling coach.

“I would hope we can agree that it does not make sense for girls to compete against boys in this sport for some obvious physiological reasons,” he said. “We need to get our act together for these girls.”

School board member Kathleen Mack indicated she and the rest of the board members were unaware of the changes to the wrestling program.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Mack said.

Treasurer’s contract renewed

Board members voted unanimously in favor of renewing the contract of district Treasurer Craig Yaniglos.

“The board has been extremely pleased with the productivity and performance of our treasurer, and we are very pleased he wants to remain part of the district,” said President Mark Dosen. “We are very excited about continuing to work with him and look forward to better things to come.”

The move extends Yaniglos’ salary, which is set to expire July 31, 2023, through July 31, 2028. He will retain a base salary of $160,000 and will continue to receive an annuity that will increase from 6.5% to 10.5% by the fifth year of his new contract.

The contract also specifies that Yaniglos will receive 25 vacation days per year.

Restroom concerns

During the public comment portion of the meeting, a parent of a high school student requested the board develop a new restroom policy for the school after it was brought it to his attention that transgendered students are not assigned separate restrooms in district school buildings.

Brian Kirin, a Brecksville resident, told the board that broaching the topic publicly was slightly “embarrassing” and noted that he chose his words carefully. However, he said he wanted to be fully transparent in the point he was trying to make.

“Just to be frank, I don’t care about the rights of others. I don’t care about the feelings of people. I don’t care about what federal judges have opined. I don’t care about the Ohio Department of Education. I don’t work for them and neither do you,” Kirin told the school board. “I just want a place for the girls in the school to be able to go to the bathroom without people with penises. This is not an unreasonable request.”

The school board declined to comment on the matter as is standard procedure during the public comment period.