LINCOLN – Bowling will become a sanctioned sport in Nebraska, but girls wrestling will have to wait longer to get the full state-tournament treatment.

The NSAA Representative Assembly voted 31-20 Thursday to add bowling as the first new championship sport in the state since softball in the 1990s.

Girls wrestling fell three votes short (28-23) of the three-fifths threshold needed. But it gained approval as an emerging sport by a 7-1 vote earlier in the day at the NSAA board of directors meeting.

That status allows in the next three seasons for girls to participate in both their school’s wrestling program and the emerging girls wrestling program. There would not be a separate girls tournament at the start, but the NSAA board could adopt one during the three-year window.

In other NSAA board action, it approved starting the eight-man football playoffs with a substate round for the 32 qualifying teams with a split based on geography. The 16 winners will be placed on a statewide bracket. It also approved bringing Class A cross country districts to one site and enlarging Class C in cross country from 44 to 60 schools.

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