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IHSA Girls Flag Football State Finals set for October - FlagSpin

IHSA Girls Flag Football State Finals set for October

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois High School Association announced Wednesday girls flag football will be added to the list of IHSA State Series beginning in the fall of 2024.

The inaugural IHSA Girls Flag Football State Finals will take place on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12.


The Chicago Bears hosted the High School Girls Flag Football State Championship at Halas Hall, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Lake Forest, Illinois. The IHSA will begin a state series for girls flag football this fall.

“The addition of girls flag football furthers the IHSA mission of creating participation opportunities for high school students in Illinois,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The sport has experienced significant growth in a short amount of time, and our member schools are excited to see it become an IHSA sport.”

The IHSA said it has commitments from over 100 schools to participate in the inaugural state series in 2024, while “nearly 40 other schools have expressed that they anticipate fielding a team in 2025,” according to a statement released by the IHSA. The IHSA Board of Directors approved the Girls Flag Football State Series during their regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 4.

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The IHSA Girls Flag Football Advisory Committee has met twice previously and will look to finalize the rulebook and structure of the state series at upcoming meetings. The IHSA will also create a Request For Proposals in order to find sites interested in hosting the State Finals at an upcoming board meeting.

“There is a lot of work to done before we crown the first IHSA Girls Flag Football State Champion,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Tracie Henry, who will serve as the IHSA Girls Flag Football administrator. “We have a group of people who are dedicated to seeing the sport flourish and putting on a first-class state tournament.

“One area where we know we will need help is with officiating. We hope we can recruit some new officials to the sport, while also having current IHSA officials in other sports, including 11-player and 8-player football, add licenses to referee girls flag football as well.”

Individuals interested in becoming IHSA Girls Flag Football officials can begin licensing on May 1.

Anderson said the Chicago Public Schools Athletic Administration and the Chicago Bears helped build interest in the state with a grassroots efforts. 

“It is important for the IHSA to continue to adapt to the interests of our students and schools,” said Dan Tully, principal at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles and president of the IHSA Board of Directors. “Girls Flag Football is somewhat unprecedented in terms of its growth and timeline for achieving an IHSA State Series. We are enthusiastic about how much has been accomplished in such a short amount of time, and expect that participation will continue to increase in the years ahead.”

The Chicago Public League held a postseason tourney in 2021, which was won by Back of the Yards High School. The CPL and Chicago Bears then joined together to host a state championship event at Halas Hall in 2022 and 2023, with Willowbrook and Lane Tech winning state championships, respectively.

“The Chicago Public League (CPL) is thrilled that high school girls flag football is now an IHSA-sanctioned sport,” said David Rosengard, executive director of sports administration at Chicago Public Schools.” It is amazing to see the rapid growth of the sport across the state.”

Chicago Bears President & CEO Kevin Warren said the Bears are “committed to championing the growth of girls’ flag football.”

“By providing opportunities for talented girls and women, we will be able to follow some of the world’s best athletes competing on local, national and international platforms, leading to the 2028 Summer Olympics,” Warren said. “The Chicago Bears remain committed to aggressively championing the growth of girls’ flag football. This is the beginning, but access and equity begin with these historical first moments that make the Chicago Bears, and me personally, inspired for the future of girls’ flag football for generations to come.”

Girls flag football joins a growing list of sports and activities that have recently conducted their inaugural IHSA State Series, including girls wrestling (2022), Esports (2022), boys and girls lacrosse (2018) and competitive dance (2013). The IHSA will offer a State Series in 40 total sports and activities in 2024-25.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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