Cedar Falls, Iowa, high school wrestler and sophomore Cassy Herkelman, pictured right, won a bittersweet victory today when she became the first female wrestler to win a match at the traditional Iowa state wrestling meet. Though, it wasn’t by any feat of strength or skill. She won by default when her opponent, Joel Northup, pictured left, refused to face her in the ring.

Despite his daughter having won by a technicality, Herkelman’s father, Bill Herkelman, was pleased, and made it clear that he did not harbor any negative feelings toward Northrup. “My understanding is that they’ve got strict convictions [as a family], and I respect them,” said her father told The Des Moines Register. “I don't have any ill will toward them and I don’t think it’s any kind of boycott about [Casey] being a girl.” After all, he points out, she will inevitably confront a boy in her next match.

Along with Megan Black from Ottumwa High School, Herkelman made history when they became the first females to qualify for the Iowa High School Athletic Association state wrestling tournament. The duo qualified for the Class 3A meet at 112 pounds.

Northrup, who cited religious reasons for his decision, also stayed positive. “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,” wrote Northrup in a statement reported by USA Today. “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.” –SAM LACROIX


A week of entertainment news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

Leave a comment

Read more about: