Iowa Teen Defaults Wrestling Competition Because He Didn’t Want To Fight A Girl

- By Bossip Staff

What a stand-up guy:

After a standout season in which he went 35-4, Joel Northrup had every reason to dream of winning an Iowa wrestling championship this year, but he gave it all up before his first state tournament match Thursday. Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who competes for Linn-Mar High School, said his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to wrestle Cassy Herkelman, a pony-tailed freshman from Cedar Falls who is one of the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history.

Northrup issued a statement (posted here on, an NBC affiliate in Des Moines) through his school expressing his “tremendous” respect for what Herkelman and Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black achieved this season, but he said didn’t feel he had a choice. “Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times,” Northrup said in a statement released by his high school. “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.”

His father, Jamie Northrup, told The Associated Press later Thursday that his son struggled with the decision. “He’s poured his heart and soul into wrestling and into being the best in the state,” Jamie Northrup said. “He’s never won a state championship, so he’s certainly looking forward to that day. So it’s agonizing, from all the work and the effort and the hope. “But it’s easy in that, he, a long time ago, drew a line and said ‘I don’t believe it’s right for a boy to wrestle a girl.'”

There were several thousand fans at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday, 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.

Northrup’s decision to default put Herkelman in the quarterfinals in the 112-pound weight class, and it put her name in the record book as the first girl to win an Iowa state tournament match. But it deprived her of the chance to show the skills that earned her a 20-13 pre-tournament record.

Tournament organizers declined to make Herkelman available for questions. But her father, Bill Herkelman, told The Associated Press via text message that he understands and respects Northrup’s decision.

“It’s nice to get the first win and have her be on the way to the medal round,” Bill Herkelman wrote. “I sincerely respect the decision of the Northrup family especially since it was made on the biggest stage in wrestling. I have heard nothing but good things about the Northrup family and hope Joel does very well the remainder of the tourney.”

Because he defaulted and didn’t forfeit, Northrup was allowed to compete in the consolation rounds, and he won his first match later Thursday by major decision. He was spared any chance of meeting up with Black — who also wrestles at 112 pounds and was 25-13 entering the tournament — when she was eliminated after being pinned in both of her matches. But Northrup and Herkelman would be matched up again if both were to make the finals in the consolation bracket.

Northrup’s father is a minister in the Believers in Grace Fellowship, an independent Pentecostal church in Marion that believes young men and women shouldn’t touch in a “familiar way,” said Bill Randles, the church’s pastor. “We believe in the elevation and respect of woman and we don’t think that wrestling a woman is the right thing to do. Body slamming and takedowns, that full contact sport is not how to do that.”

Randles said Joel has been involved in wrestling for many years, and he and his family have discussed before the possibility of girls getting involved in the sport. “It’s totally his choice. He’s a young man now and he’s worked hard to get where he’s gotten. It’s up to him, and it was his conviction” not to wrestle Herkelman.

Black said Northrup refused to wrestle her three years ago, and that she respects him for adhering to his beliefs.

Thoughts on his decision???


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  • yt

    he knows if she beat him he could never go back home

    • Greeneyez

      Ummm if anyone knows wrestling this would be really inappropiate.. Alot of these moves are done between the legs. Good for him!!!

    • Wrestlingmom

      Greeneyez … that is such a silly comment not all wrestling moves done between the legs … if you were trying to be funny it wasn’t

    • drenk

      @ greeneyez i dunno what you did, i wrestled varsity 4 years and there wasnt one move that had me touching between the legs. by mistake you might get a knee or elbow there but that was a regular thing

  • Simeon

    Rasclaat!! Him fraid she a beat him!

  • Ellie

    The guy had a 35-4 record, he could have probably easily beat the girl. It’s nice to know that there are still men out there who respect women.


      Respect WOMEN? You mean the same bytches that scream their damn heads off to be treated “EQUALLY”? Yeah right! When I was wrestling in high school, we had a few girls try out for the team too, so our coach let them, and had the best guys on the team wrestle them. I just so happened to be one of those guys. The girl I got matched up ended up submitting after she got “PANCAKED” and “CRABBED”. Personally, I think that kid is a friggin wuss, because as an athlete, you strive to be the best, and eliminate your competition, not wimp out just because they have a vajinga. If she’s bad enough to get on the mat, she’s bad enough to get crotch grabbed an slammed in my opinion… 😈 πŸ˜†




    • I'm mad as hell!

      You better believe it!!

  • Marie

    um what religion is that? You can fight a man but not a woman?? Ehhh #FAIL!

    • deznuts

      you sound like u want a man to kick your ras

  • thad

    i wrestled in HS and we had a girl on the team. he parents made her leve because there were no other females. i understand where he’s coming from. but i wonder how she felt. she wants to be seen as a competitor not a girl. but it is what it is. it’s a personal choice he made. much respect. now if she wasn’t allowed to compete then that would be another issue

  • MacMoon

    He should of fought her.Could have got a win and a free feel!LOL

  • dee

    Good job kiddo!

  • RMEs

    I really like this story. Chilvary is not dead. Girls can compete but compete against other girls. As much as society tries to say there is no difference between men and women–there is. Don’t believe the lie.

  • Tm30

    This is a tough one, most men are taught from birth not to fight girls. So I can understand where he’s coming from. In this situation, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. It’s the same thing with girls playing football.

  • moon

    Dont take the chance of getting beat.

  • truth teller

    Good for him! No matter what other people think about the situation, at the end of the day it’s just wrestling and his beliefs are way more important than a sport.

  • oh well

    Young man it’s a sign of the times. At work we now have to let the tranny use the ladies bathroom … that hoe is disgusting! It thinks its so clever sneaking in to mens room to hump our boss! Then coming in to the ladies bathroom to clean her azz hole up!

  • Slide Like a Fresh Pair of Gators

    Why do women have to join in on ALL men sports???

    This and allowing them to join mens footb@ll teams is stupid!!!

    Men and Women are NOT the same = we are built differently, have different mentalities, play sports differently, approach certain situations differently, etc…

    This is getting out of hand…

    When you play with a female you HAVE TO BE less aggressive and that messes up the whole competitiveness found in sports, SMMFH…

    • Bopa

      I can see women playing football with guys because football isn’t one on one full contact like wrestling is. I wouldn’t allow girls to wrestle in a school unless they were wrestling other girls and only other girls. As a woman I wouldn’t want some strange guys balls in my face like that.

    • Slide Like a Fresh Pair of Gators

      football isn’t one on one full contact

      No comment…

    • Soul Touch

      Unless we’re talking about flag football, football is VERY much a contact sport.

      I use to play flag co-ed football, but I wouldn’t dare go head to head with any of those boys.

  • Soul Touch

    Why are they making a boy fight/wrestle with a girl anyway.

    I agree with him, I don’t think it should be allowed.


    I agree with you…I don’t know where this world is going.

    • Slide Like a Fresh Pair of Gators

      Sweetheart, it’s those (*excuse my French) d@mn feminist and their ridiculous mentality that men & women are equal…

      NO, men & women are NOT equal and there are double standards that exist based off of that FACT… People just need to accept that and deal with it…

      *Off the top of my head – More times than not double standards benefit women anyways = men paying for the first date, opening doors, walking on the side of the road, etc… By the way I’m just fine with those things…

    • Soul Touch

      Exactly. Men and women are built differently, period.

      As Marolyn Manroe said…I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.

      …and I am very much a woman. I have no interest otherwise. I like having a man be a gentleman and he has no doubt I will be his lady.

  • Bopa

    If she wanted to be a stand up chick she should have refused the placement and possibly gave them both the chance to pair off with others.

  • Brother John

    So you desensitize young men to the differences of the sexes and push this equality “I’m your equal physically” “treat me like one of the boys” shyt. Put them on the football field and herald them as tough….file lawsuit after lawsuit to make young aggressive athletic young boys accept them as equals..only to want them locked up after one of these young men does just that and puts his foot in one of em’s az for getting out of pocket. I mean if wanna push that these chicks are just as tough as young men and some of these chicks take it way farther than that with the slapping and hitting because they fell as if they can get away with it…..don’t act surprised that they getting punched like they another nicca.

  • http://bossip Pimp4ADay

    Why force men to compete against women? Would anyone have suggested Laila Ali get in the ring with Tyson? Her ovaries and eggs would have been scrambled real quick.

    • Soul Touch


  • Aztec Queen

    I respect his choice.

  • beasly

    I think this is pretty messed up, he had to give up his moment like that. they need to have all girls, and all boys. no mixing. this is just stupid to me, makes me want to say something i shouldn’t say. But good for him for sticking with his morals

  • Naija Gal

    I commend the boy. Congrats to him for sticking to his Christian faith, especially in times like these.

    Also, big ups to the young lady for respecting his decision and not mocking him for it.

  • ayo

    having Men wrestle Women is the most stupidiest idea ever.

    you know what ? one of this men should go ahead and wrestle her because someone needs to teach her a lesson that she will remember for the rest of her life; obviously she and at least one of her parents think it is a good idea for her to wrestle men: nonsense at the highest order.

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