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An Iowa high school wrestler who was one of the favorites to win his weight class defaulted on his first-round state tournament match rather than face one of the first girls to ever qualify for the event.

Joel Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High this season, said in a statement that he doesn?t feel it would be right for him to wrestle Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman. Herkelman, who was 20-13 entering the tournament, and fellow 112-pounder Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who was 25-13, made history by being the first girls to qualify for the state tournament. Black was pinned quickly in her opening round match.

?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. 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 other high school sports in Iowa.?

Joel Northrup, Linn-Mar High, Iowa
There were several thousand fans on hand Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena, but many were watching other matches when the referee raised Herkelman?s hand to signal her win. There was a smattering of cheers and boos from the crowd before Herkelman was whisked into the bowels of the arena.

Continue Reading Article By The Associated Press, ESPN

Iowa State Tournament Coverage