What to expect from JWS Next, bringing girls’ high school sports to life

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Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) players huddle before a game against St. Paul VI on Jan. 9 in Chantilly, Va. (Scott Taetsch for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Five years ago, I was a mainstay in Washington, D.C.-area high school wrestling rooms.

I was not a wrestler but a reporter, on scene to chronicle the growing number of girls taking up the sport. There were no girls’ teams at the time, so the students were made to compete alongside their male classmates, and with their bright clothes and ponytails, they stuck out amid the hyper-masculine environment of grunts and expressionless faces.

Now girls’ wrestling is booming in the United States, with 32 states holding sanctioned championships. Much like aspiring basketball, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse players, a whole generation of aspiring female wrestlers are learning they can experience their dreams.

That’s a powerful feeling for a teenager to have, and it’s part of why I’m so excited to lead Just Women’s Sports’ new high school sports vertical, JWS Next. I’ve covered college football and basketball national championship games and MLB postseason races, but there is something special about high school sports. It’s at this level where future stars are born, and we’ll be telling the stories of these athletes before they become household names.

We’ve already started to publish stories that bring readers beyond the box scores and into the lives of the athletes at the top of their craft. Our focus will be on basketball, soccer and volleyball, but you can expect content from across the sports spectrum.

We take pride in our weekly rankings, which have already debuted for basketball and will continue with soccer and volleyball. We have our eyes on the national sports scene, reflected in our Player of the Week awards recognizing the very best across the country. And our features and profiles shed light on the lives of the athletes at the center of the high school sports world.

@justwomenssports destined for greatness @laurenbetts51 🔥 #JWSNextxUnderArmour @_nashley911 ♬ original sound - Just Women’s Sports

Our coverage extends to TikTok, where we break down some of the best players and teams in the country even further. On Instagram, we give athletes more of the spotlight they deserve.

In the coming weeks and months, you can expect more of everything as we dive deeper and deeper into the national high school sports scene. We hope you’ll follow along as we continue this journey.

Josh Needelman is the High School Sports Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JoshNeedelman.