Female Competitor Gets A Shot At High School Wrestling Greatness

In my high school, we had a girl on our football team. I always thought she was pretty awesome because A) she had an insane level of knowledge of football statistics, B) she played pretty well, and C) no one ever made a fuss about her being there. Cassy Herkelman and Megan Black—two female high school students who’ve made it to this year’s Iowa state high school wrestling championship—aren’t getting quite the same treatment. In the competition’s 85-year history, this is the first time girls have competed. And while it’s mainly a non-issue, they are finding that not everyone is excited to wrestle them. Yesterday, a competitor named Joel Northrup opted out of the first round of the tournament rather than wrestle Cassy, giving her a win by default and sending himself into the consolation rounds. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Cassy apparently doesn’t have any hard feelings. “It’s nice to get the first win and have her be on the way to the medal round,” her dad said. “I sincerely respect the decision of the Northrup family especially since it was made on the biggest stage in wrestling.”

What do you think—should Northrup have opted out of the match rather than fight a girl? Are there moral issues in a male/female wrestling match? Or does this make you mad? After all, it’s not like there’s a girls wrestling bracket Cassy can go into.