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The Gazette KCRG
Posted February 17, 2011
Faith, physicality reasons Northrup forfeit to first female qualifier

After a few days of speculation, Linn-Mar Athletics Director Scott Mahmens confirmed that Lions’ 112-pounder Joel Northrup will forfeit his opening round match of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 3A state wrestling tournamentto Cedar Falls Cassy Herkelman, the Iowa’s first female state qualifier.

Mahmens released a prepared statement Thursday morning.

“I have a tremendous am ount of respect for (Cassy) and (Megan) and their accomplishments,” Northrup said in the news release. “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 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.”

Northrup was a state title contender. He was 38-4 last year placing third at 103 pounds as a freshman. Northrup is ranked fifth with a 35-4 record. Northrup is home-schooled by his mother, Sara, and his father, Jamie, is a minister at Believers in Grace , which is a non-demoninational church in Marion.

Northrup was forced to take the mat to forfeit directly to Herkelman to remain eligible in the consolation round. he wrestles the loser of Matt Victor of Indianola and Sam Jameson of Glenwood.

Herkelman qualified with a 20-13 record. Ottumwa’s Megan Black (25-13) also qualified and drew Bettendorf’s third-ranked Logan Ryan (26-7).

Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman is declared the winner after her opponent Linn-Mar's Joel Northrup defaulted their class 3A 112 lbs. match during the Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)

Linn-Mar's Joel Northrup stands on the mat before his class 3A 112 lbs. match against Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman during the Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. Northrup defaulted the match. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)

Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman signs in at the scorer's table as she waits for the start of her class 3A 112 lbs. match against Linn-Mar's Joel Northrup during the Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. Northrup defaulted the match. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)

17 Responses to Faith, physicality reasons Northrup forfeit to first female qualifier

  1. This confirms that the only ones who have problems with girls in sports are the men. Once the men get over themselves and see us as serious competitors (20-13 record is a great acheivement for any athelete, way to go Cassy), sports will be a better place for all.

    Go Cassy!

  2. Jesus C!! what did you want JLB123? for her to get ripped to shreds?? I say let the kid beat her to a pulp on the mat, that way JLB123 can come here and post how men are super aggressive towards women and that is why they will never accept women in sports… ridiculous…

  3. Whoever told this kid to quit is wrong.. I just don’t think he wants to be beat by a girl.. NOWHERE does it say you cannot wrestle a girl in the bible, matter of fact the old testament has several cases of throwing around women.

  4. 35-4 Male vs 20-13 Female

    Wonder who is going to win that one…

  5. OH Please, I support the decision to not fight her. I want to point out that the majority of the people saying that he is somehow wrong for not doing so or scared to be beat by a girl, are in fact the same people that would be the first to give him crap if she got hurt.

  6. She probably would have beat the s___t out of him. Just a wuss with a nut-job for a father.

  7. The Iowa high school wrestler who forfeited match against female opponent illustrates a serious dilemma. Did he make the right choice? I don’t think you can blame him for not wanting to wrestle a girl in such a physical, sometimes violent sport.

    http://philiptortora.blogspot.com/2011/02/iowa-wrestler-who-forfeited-match.html#

  8. I, for one, commend him. Where many teenage males might take an opportunity at what they thought would be an “easy win,” or a chance to get inappropriate contact with a young lady, Joel instead sacrificed victory for the sake of principle. I certainly respect his choice, and salute him

  9. Joel made a difficult decision that is right for him! Who cares who would have beat who? Wrestling is a contact sport where moves include touching personal areas of the body. Whether he didn’t want to touch her, or have her touch him, is immaterial! The courage that it took for this young man to make his own decision demonstrates more about his character than any win, or loss, in this tournament! In junior high school I lived at a camp that had several high school male wrestlers. When my science teacher (also the wrestling coach) found out I was wrestling the guys at home and usually beating them, he showed me additional moves to not only improve my skills but those of the boys. Some of these moves included touching/grabbing in areas I wasn’t prepared to touch on someone of the opposite sex. My brother was an outstanding high school wrestler in the late 70s. We had these discussions and he felt the same way about many effective moves and where he might have to touch a female.

  10. He’s making excuses. This decision has nothing to do with religious faith. He has a problem, in his mind, wrestlig a girl. That kind of stuff has come up before. But it has zero to do with religious faith; I think he’s only mentioning that because he thinks it will keep people from questioning his decision.

    This girl qualified for the state tournament. She is a talented wrestler. He shouldn’t be worried about hurting her just because she’s a girl. It’s a sexist decision, reflecting his belief (and his family’s belief) that girls, even tremendously fit and athletic ones, are fragile and dainty.

    I would ask young Mr. Northrup two questions:

    (1.) Of all the opponents you’ve wrestled this year, how many did you injure? I’m guessing the answer is “none” or “very few.” So why are you suddenly worried that you will injure someone at state?

    (2.) Over the course of the season, you probably went up against several other boys who were far less experienced, far less talented, and far less physically strong than you. Did you forfeit those matches because you were worried about hurting them? Isn’t there a greater risk of injury when you go up against an inexperienced and overmatched boy, than when you go up against a girl who is experienced enough and talented enough to qualify for state?

  11. Yes, there are religious beliefs with guidelines for male/female relationships. My cousin was raised in a faith where boys/girls who are unmarried were required to remain a certain distance apart. Its not for you to judge because it doesn’t match your beliefs. It takes a stronger person to stand for what they believe than it does for someone to criticize. As for being his parents beliefs…Last time I checked, the biggest role of a mom/dad was to guide their child. We gain our beliefs, values and esteem in the surroundings we are raised in. As for injury, it can happen to any wrestler regardless of the skill level. My JV wrestler broke a bone in his hand and my Varsity wrestler accidentally broke an equally skilled wrestlers facial bone which now requires surgery to heal correctly. Oh, and if someone is trying to avoid having his choice questioned, why would he ever mention faith? Remember…\If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all\.

  12. As an ex wrestler: He had a 35-4 record, she a 20-13 record. Say what you want, that first round in state tournaments are designed to pit the stronger against the weaker. Generally the stronger goes on, with very few exceptions. His past STATE standing puts him in strong contention. He would/should have won.
    As a father: He would have to box me after touching my daughter like some of those wrestling moves require. Unlike ANY other sport, he could prolong the touching part for the whole 6 minutes of the match (plus longer in overtime), and as a father I would object.
    As a pastor: 1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. (area of unmarried people), and 1 Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Joel Northrup wins! And I would rather be on God’s winning side any day.

  13. This story caught my eye because of what it suggests about the current state of American Common Sense. Both my parents came from Iowa: my mother played basketball and my father played football in high school. Iowans are passionate about their sports. However, the officials who specified an All-State Iowa wrestling match between a boy and a girl need to consider how their misguided liberality has turned an ancient and honorable sport into a fool’s game…and turned innocent competitors into hapless victims.

    Both the guy and the gal found themselves in an awkward predicament: if Mr. Northrup had beaten Ms Herkelman, on what grounds could he boast at over-powering a girl, even if she happened to be in his 112 lb weight class? On the other hand, losing to a girl would have had serious consequences for his reputation and confidence as male athlete, to say nothing of the inhibiting effect arising from his natural reluctance to grab a girl in her private parts and throw her onto a mat, a reticence that seriously effects his competitiveness in what is perhaps the most intimately physical of all sports

    I understand that there are girls for whom wrestling is a great passion and they only compete with guys because there are not enough girls around to wrestle with. That I can sympathize with, but every girl needs to understand that she is not doing herself or any guy a favor by ignoring the biological reality that guys cannot engage in intimate physical contact with a woman without experiencing an undesirable physical response. Different men will do different things. An honorable man will do what Joel did. Every athlete, since time immemorial, has felt most comfortable competing with a member of his own sex.

    I do not blame the girls for the fact that Iowa, since girls were permitted to wrestle in 1926, has not seen fit to allow girls to compete fairly with girls and rise to the top of their own food chain without entangling themselves in the male food chain.

    Meanwhile, the almost total absence of public outrage over this travesty is deafening. One blinkered article () sees a moral equivalence with Blacks having being barred from professional sports in the 1940′s. He suggests that Mr. Northrup’s principled stand is just like the Major League bigots who would not play with a black man and so, he fears, Northrup will be consigned to the wrong side of history.

    Am I the one who has lost his mind?

  14. His choice was rooted in sexism. There’s no doubt about it. The religious b/s is just a cover up. He probably knew full well that the religious zealots would support him and push the “he’s guided by faith” mantra. Please. Gimme a break. It doesn’t fool me at all. This is yet another male who uses religion as a way to oppress females from achieving. The tought of her beating him probably terrified him. However, I don’t completely blame him for his mindset. There’s no doubt that he picked most of it up from his father. That’s how patriarchy survives, thrives and continues to this day. I know there are some middle aged men with young sons reading this comment rigt now — and you know exactly what I mean.

    And yes, it was a stupid choice, and yes, we do have a right to criticize it. They’re at state, therefore they’re open to criticism. If they don’t like it, they should get out of the public spotlight. His choice is an insult to a perfectly capable female who earned her way to that game. She was insulted and ridiculed by a young male that’s been raised to think sexism is okay. That’s what patriarchy gets you.

  15. There used to be a day in which protecting females was seen as a way to honor women. How did it turn into dishonor?

    Frankly, I’m baffled that we still have people who insist that men and women are basically the same. Why would you want them to be the same?

    If I were Cassy Herkelman’s Dad, I’d encourage her to look for another sport in which to find honor, rather than one in which she may emotionally maim her peers, while winning a reputation for herself as an Amazon.

    Do we as a culture really want to encourage physical conflict between males and females? As I recall, men have 20% more muscle mass plus a much more fragile ego than women.

    Vive la difference.

  16. Those responses along the line of: “He’s just too afraid she would have kicked his a–,” display a conspicuous ignorance about scholastic wrestling, and obviously made by people who are not students of the sport. Linn-Mar is THE standard of high school wrestling in the state of Iowa, and Iowa is the standard for the entire country. Linn-Mar’s wrestling program consistantly produces the best high school wrestlers. I’m a wrestling coach in California, and I follow Linn-Mar. In one year they produced two wrestlers who were 4 time Iowa State wrestling champions. Two students from a single high school wrestling program, who were state champions every year of high school. And in 2010, two wrestlers dominated their weight class at the collegiate level, winning the NCAA Championships. Both of them were products of Linn-Mar high school.

    As a team, our own wrestlers decided not to ever wrestle girls, for the simple reason that they understand that they are never willing to physically combat a young woman, and to commit the kind of legal battery on her, that they are willing to inflict upon a young man, when they are on the mat.

    The Israeli army did extensive experiments in the 1960′s and 70′s trying to incorporate women into combat roles along side males, at a time when the survival of Israel was hanging in the balance. But the results were so disastrous, that they were soon abandoned. They found that men would routinely risk themselves and the units safety, and even abandon mission completion, whenever a female member of their combat unit was captured, or even injured. This protective role seemed to be so hardwired into these young men, that it was deemed impossible to “train out” of them. The Israelis determined that a boy would have to be trained from birth to disregard a foundational understanding (call it God given, or evolved) concerning the importance of women, as THE essential element in the continuum of human existence. To try and remove that understanding from the thought process of young men would result, I feel, in a world not worth occupying.

  17. I bet a lot of you who say Northrup made the wrong decision are the same people who believed Andy Kaufman was right in the way he treated women in the ring. I feel sorry for you.

    I applaud young Northrup for not giving in to peer pressure and couragously standing up for his beliefs. This is why I love this great country, a place where a boy can make decisions the way he believes is right, he has loving, supportive parents behind him, and he has his priorities straight.

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