- The Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament has never received more national attention. It’s almost all because of a match that didn’t really even take place. When Linn-Mar’s Joel Northrup refused to wrestle Cedar Falls’ Cassy Herkelman because she’s a girl, it was inevitable the story would blow up and fragment in several directions.
- I don’t understand the basis of Northrup’s decision being faith and conscience, but I don’t need to. It’s his faith, and his conscience. In Northrup’s shoes, I would wrestle a girl, and I expect my boys would do the same. However, I respect Northrup for standing by his principles. As I said here last night, principles only mean something if you stick by them when they’re inconvenient. This was inconvenient for Joel.
- Forget talk Northrup didn’t wrestle because he fears losing to a girl. Barring an all-time upset, Northrup wins easily.
- I also feel for Cassy Herkelman. She just wants to wrestle. It’s her passion. Cassy didn’t ask to win this way, or all the attention that came with it. It’s also nice to see the Herkelmans respect the Northrup’s decision, which isn’t the same as agreeing with it.
- There are five states that offer girls wrestling, how can Iowa not be one of them? I think that has to change. No doubt more girls would wrestle if they didn’t have to go against boys. It can be uncomfortable for both sides, though I must say of the wrestlers I’ve seen and talked to, boys and girls, all have handled it well. Kids are much more laid back about it than adults.
- There are physical differences between boys and girls—duh—which is why the IGHSAU won’t allow a boy to play volleyball, or some other girls sport. Boys in a girls sport—generally—gain a size, speed, and strength advantage. The reverse is not true. Girls should wrestle girls, and boys should wrestle boys, unless that option does not exist, then you have to open it up. Iowa has done that.
- I think it’s possible, if not likely, we’ll one day see a lawsuit if boys are not allowed to play volleyball. There are just too many people ready to shine a light on what they see as hypocrisy.
- Final thought, Cassy Herkelman and Megan Black wrestled at state because they earned it. They weren’t there on a sponsor’s exemption or a free pass. That makes them like all the other wrestlers who worked their butts off for a shot at their dream, and that includes Joel Northrup, a guy who gave up a title shot for a belief.
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