If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed or follow us on Facebook. Thanks for visiting!

Cassy Herkelman wins her first round match by default when Joel Northrup refuses to wrestle her

The Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament is going on in Des Moines this week. This year, 2 female wrestlers qualified for state. In most years this is an opportunity for the athletes to prove themselves and showcase their talents based on what they can do on the mats, not because of their gender. One wrestler, however, has decided to make a statement based on his religion.

112-pound sophomore Joel Northrup of Linn-Mar of Marion, ranked #4 in the state of Iowa, refused to wrestle freshman Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls because he didn’t want to compete against a girl.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. 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 of the high school sports in Iowa.” -Northrup

Maybe I’m insensitive when it comes to religion. Or maybe I consider sports a kind of religion of their own. And maybe this isn’t really even about religion. What if it’s just an excuse?

As far as I’m concerned an opponent is an opponent, male or female. Your job is to beat that opponent whether you’re in wrestling, football, volleyball or ping pong.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward I guess. Boys are stupid if we think girls don’t belong in “our” world. Personally I like having them around. Most of the time anyway.