‘It’s just constant discrimination.’ Minisink mom alleges district refuses to recognize daughter as girls wrestling state champion

NYSPHSAA says the event Pauls competed in was meant to “build momentum” for the sport and that the state will hold an official girls wrestling championship next year.  

Blaise Gomez

Jan 24, 2024, 10:01 PM

Updated 143 days ago

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‘It’s just constant discrimination.’ Minisink mom alleges district refuses to recognize daughter as girls wrestling state champion
A Minisink mom is accusing the district of discriminating against her daughter after the teen won a state competition that she says the school refuses to recognize.
Sara Pauls, 14, was among the first group of girls to win a state wrestling title last year.     
“NYSPHSAA did an amazing job honoring these girls and putting on an equivalent event to a boys state championship,” says the girl’s mother, Jaqueline Vance-Pauls.    
Despite the win, the athlete’s mom says her daughter was snubbed by the Minisink Valley School District and left off the high school’s state championship banner.     
“They didn’t acknowledge their section wins at all and boys at that banquet each got a trophy.”     
Vance-Pauls filed a complaint in October and district superintendent Brian Monahan decided this month, after an independent investigation, that Pauls isn’t a state champion,” according to district documents obtained by News 12.     
“I don’t understand why they’re choosing to take this stance and dilute what she did that day,” says the teen’s mother.     
The district says the family's concerns were thoroughly investigated by an outside investigator. Minisink also wrote an article about the competition and Pauls’ win that was posted on the district website.   
A representative for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tells News 12 that Pauls won an “invitational” and therefore cannot be considered a state champion, but her mom says other female winners from the same event were photographed and videotaped for news reports and social media posts being recognized by their schools and officials as state champions, and says the reason being given is just an excuse.     
“It’s just constant discrimination,” says Vance-Pauls. “To turn around and now say, almost a year later, she doesn’t deserve it and wasn’t a real state champion is absolutely heartbreaking.”     
Girls wrestling in New York is in its inaugural year for high schools statewide.     
NYSPHSAA says the event Pauls competed in was meant to “build momentum” for the sport and that the state will hold an official girls wrestling championship next year.  


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