Iowa wrestler defaults rather than face girl in state high school tournament
The decision Joel Northrup made can't have been an easy one, especially for a wrestler with a 35-4 record entering the state tournament. But rather than face a girl in the first round, Northrup defaulted and Cassy Herkelman became the first girl to win a match in the Iowa state tournament.
A home-schooled sophomore who wrestles for Linn-Mar, Northrup was a favorite in the 112-pound class. Because of his default, he will now wrestle in the consolation bracket. Herkelmen, of Cedar Falls, entered the competition with a 20-13 record.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and [Ottumwa's] Megan [Black] and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," Northrup said in a statement. Herkelman and Black are the first girls to qualify for the tournament.
"As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa."
"It's nice to get the first win and have her be on the way to the medal round," Bill Herkelman, Cassie's father, told the Associated Press in a text message. "I sincerely respect the decision of the Northup family especially since it was made on the biggest stage in wrestling. I have heard nothing but good things about the Northup family and hope Joel does very well the remainder of the tourney."
Did Northrup make the right decision? Scott Bordow thinks so. Northrup may face the same situation again in the consolation bracket. Black, who also wrestles in the 112-pound weight class, was pinned in her first match.
| February 17, 2011; 3:55 PM ET
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