Willowbrook set to host inaugural IHSA girls flag football state finals

IHSA board approved 3-year contract at its meeting Monday

The Chicago Bears host the high cchool girls flag football state championship last fall at Halas Hall. The IHSA announced Wednesday that girls flag football will become a sanctioned sport. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Public Schools Athletic Administration.

Willowbrook High School in Villa Park will host the inaugural girls flag football state finals this fall. The IHSA Board of Directors approved a three-year hosting contract at its Monday meeting.

The first state finals will take place Oct. 18 and 19. The move comes after the IHSA sanctioned flag football in February.

“The Willowbrook High School team, coaching staff and administration have been a model program in girls flag football in the state, so it seems fitting that they will serve as the host of the inaugural state finals,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a news release. “We appreciate their passion for the sport and are excited to work together to create lifelong memories for our participating schools.”

Flag football is set to make its debut this fall with more than 100 teams committed for this season and 40 more teams interested for 2025. Willowbrook head coach Rachel Karos was excited to have her school host the inaugural event.

“We are proud to be part of growing girls flag football in Illinois, throughout the U.S. and internationally,” Karos said. “Through the support of the IHSA and the Chicago Bears, girls flag football creates tremendous opportunities for a diverse group of students – including engaging them with athletics, providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences and connecting them to scholarships. The inaugural IHSA state championship will be a historic event to continue to drive the sport forward and inspire the next generation. We are excited to provide an experience that promotes inclusion, access, diversity and equity for female athletes in Illinois.”