Cassy Herkelman wrestling Scott Morehouse, this win made her the first female to qualify for the state wrestling tournament in Iowa.
Two girls made history last weekend as the first girls to compete in the State Wrestling Championships in Iowa. According to the DesMoines Register, the Iowa High School Athletic Association was sanctioned in 1926 and has never featured a girl in the state wrestling tournament. This year, there were two! Last weekend Megan Black and Cassy Herkleman made Iowa history as the first girls to compete in the high school state wrestling championships in it’s 85 year history.
The Cedar Falls assistant coach says of Herkelman, a freshman sensation,
“The biggest thing about her is she’s a gamer. When she gets out on that mat, she’s going to do everything that she can to win.”
Black told the Des Moines Register:
“I don’t think it adds any pressure on me. I don’t think of myself as a girl wrestler – just another wrestler. I want to make state just as badly as any boy out there.”
The state tournament was this past weekend. On Friday, Cassy Herkelman became the first girl to win a state tournament, by default. According to NESN she was paired up with Jamie Northrup who is home-schooled, but wrestling for Linn-Mar High. Northrup has a 35-4 record. When he was paired up with Herkelman he defaulted the match because he wouldn’t wrestle a girl.
Northrup’s first opponent was a girl, and he doesn’t believe it is right for a boy to wrestle a girl. “Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times,” Northrup said in a statement released by the 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 told the Associated Press that his son struggled in making this decision. “He’s poured his heart and soul into wrestling and into being the best in the state,” Jamie Northrup told the AP. “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.'”
Northrup and his father released statements saying that this was a decision based on religion and morals. I understand why his father supported his decision, I mean he’s the pastor of their church, of course he’s going to feel the same way. But if you ask me a responsible parents should have stressed the importance of girls being just as equal as boys in sports. Especially in a sport with weight classes, where she wasn’t being put up against a boy twice her size. I think this is a direct relation to how we’ve overly sexualized the human body. There’s a small part of me that believes he wouldn’t wrestler her because he was scared out of his mind that he might get an erection in those tights. ESPN reported:
Northrup’s father, Jamie Northrup, 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.”
Caffeinated Thoughts says,
“I happen to agree. Having wrestled myself, I understand the sport well enough along with different moves, etc. to know that there are positions you can be placed in that would be inappropriate. There are many sports where girls and boys can compete, but because of the physical contact involved I don’t believe wrestling should be one of them. Joel wanted to avoid the very appearance of impropriety. We’ve raised him to treat his mom and sisters with gentleness and respect. We’ve taught him to never, ever use physical force against a girl (unless there is a legitimate need for real self-defense with an older woman). He does things like *gasp* opens doors for his mother and sisters. We want to raise a modern-day knight. I assume it is the same with the Northups, as it is with many Christians within (and without) the homeschool community.”
Caffeinated Thoughts, proves even more how this is a result of a total over-sexualization of the female body. This boy and the writer at caffeinated thoughts think this was “inappropriate” because they, like most people in our culture see the human body, especially the female body, as purely sexual.
I recently read an article called “Who’s body is it, anyway” by Pamela Fletcher, where she stressed the importance of girls being involved in physical activity. For me, and I think many other women and girls, playing sports as a young girl taught me that my body was good for more than just sex and motherhood. Like boys, my body could do really cool things like run and skate and shoot hockey pucks.
I would never tell someone they’re morals or beliefs are wrong, but it saddens me because instead of the articles I found about this incident being titled, First Girls to Wrestle in State History or Herkelman, First Girl to win Iowa State Championship, they were titled, Rather Than Face Girl, Wrestler Defaults and Iowa High School Wrestler Joel Northrup Refuses to Face Girl in Championship Tournament or Boy Won’t Wrestle Girl at Iowa State Meet. And my personal favorite *gag* Chivalry is not Dead, At Least not on the Wrestling Mat. (are you kidding me?)
Wtf? How did all the glory and headlines get turned on him? These two girls, Cassy Herkelman and Megan Black, deserve a lot of credit. They’ve been competing in a boy’s world for a while and had the talent and drive to make it farther than any other girls in Iowa state history.
There are some states that require girls only wrestle other girls, but the catch is that only Hawaii, Texas, California, Washington and Tennessee sponsor girls-only tournaments.
I would like to send a big huge congratulations to these girls! Good for you for having a dream and going after it! You should be incredibly proud of yourself you are an inspiration and role models for girls everywhere! CONGRATS!