MARION – Linn-Mar’s Joel Northrup spoke Wednesday morning about his decision to never wrestle a female opponent. Northrup talked to various national media, including CNN’s “American Morning,” about why he made the decision not to compete in his first round match of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 3A state wrestling tournament against Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls.
Herkelman, the first female state qualifier, became the first female to win a match at the state tournament as well, when she received the default at 112 pounds.
“Wrestling is a combat sport,” Northrup said on “American Morning” via satellite feed from Cedar Rapids accompsnied by his father, Jamie. “At times it gets violent and you get put in moves and holds that are compromising.
“I just don’t believe it’s right a boy and a girl should, in this manner, wrestle.”
Northrup said he isn’t against females being involved in the sport. Participation between genders is what he doesn’t favor.
“Of all sports, wrestling especially, I don’t think it should be a co-ed sport,” Northrup said. “I believe if girls want to wrestle they should wrestle other girls, and that boys, if they do wrestle, wrestle other boys.”
Northrup’s father, Jamie, said the decision was up to Joel, and that he believed to be the proper action. It’s consistent with one of his long-time views.
“It’s something Joel has stood by for quite a few years now,” Jamie Northrup said. “We gave him the opportunity and said Joel do what you feel is right. Do what you feel is the right choice to make at this particular situation and he certainly made his own decision.”
Herkelman lost her next two matches after that default. Northrup, ranked fifth who was third at 103 pounds last year, won his first consolation match before being eliminated.