Linn-Mar High School sophomore wrestler Joel Northrup is facing a major decision. The 103-pound wrestler made the Iowa Class 3A state tournament after posting a record of 33-4 this season. Unfortunately Northrup (pictured) got matched up with a girl in the first round, and he’s considering forfeiting his match.
Cassy Herkelman has made history by becoming the first female to qualify for the state wrestling tournament (another female, Megan Black, also did this year). Herkelman is 20-13 on the season, and The Des Moines Register says Northrup’s possible refusal to wrestle her is based on religious beliefs.
The two were actually scheduled to meet last month, but Northrop was replaced by a teammate who pinned Herkelman. If Northrup misses the tournament match, the best he can do is place third in the state, so the decision is obviously critical.
My man Jay Christensen of The Wiz of Odds who shared the story with LBS says the story has been front page news locally this week. That’s no surprise; this is the typical ethical quandary that people love to argue over. My advice to him would be to wrestle and win. End of story.
UPDATE: Northrup forfeited the match and released the following statement “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.”