A high school wrestler sent shock waves through the stadium at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament when he walked off the matt and refused to wrestle his opponent.
Because his opponent was a girl!
Home-schooled sophomore Joel Northrup explained his decision to default to Cassy Herkelman, one of the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history, by saying:
"As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner."
Northrup cites the violent nature of the sport as a his reason to surrender the match, saying:
"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."
Or maybe he was just afraid to lose to a girl! Ha!
Cassy, who did not comment until after the tournament in order to focus on her matches, didn't seem to take his decision to personally and said:
"He had the right to make his own choice. It was not like it was something he didn't want to do. I knew it was an option."
Cassy became the first girl to win a match in Iowa's biggest high school wrestling event, but unfortunately lost her following matches.
Her father, Bill Herkeman, spoke highly of his daughter and defaulting opponent, by saying:
"We praise them for sticking to their beliefs when it tested them the most."
We couldn't agree more and hope there are no hard feelings between the competitors.
We'd like congratulate Cassy, as well as her fellow female wrestler Megan Black, for their landmark achievement this past weekend and wish them the best of luck as they continue to participate in the sport of their choice.
Check out the news story posted above for more details on this historic victory!