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Thursday, February 17, 2011



A standout Iowa high school wrestler refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament on Thursday, relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.

Joel Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High School this season, praised his first-round opponent, Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman, and Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who became the first two girls to make the state wrestling tournament in its 85-year history.

But in a brief statement issued through his school, Northrup said he defaulted on his match with Herkelman because he doesn't think boys and girls should compete in the sport.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," said Northrup. "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.

First of all, as a home-schooled youngster, he shouldn't be participating in states to begin with. You want to opt out? Fine. You opt out of EVERYTHING. Go show your prowess against the other homeschooled kids. Secondly, this has nothing to do with religion. He's up against females who have proven that they're just as skilled as he is, and he doesn't want to risk losing to a girl.

And that's the real reason he wont wrestle.

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