Joel Northrup is a sophomore at Linn-Mar High in Iowa. He is also considered one of the best wrestlers in his weight class and was a favorite to win in the state wrestling tournament he was to compete in yesterday.

Then he showed up to the first rounds of the tournamnet, officially reported, and withdrew from the first match he was to compete in. His scheduled opponent? Cassy Herkelman, one of two girls who qualified to compete in the Iowa state wrestling tournament.

Northrup made the following statement: “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. 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.”

Girls have been allowed to compete in boys wrestling teams in Iowa for more than 20 years but this was the first season where any girls have qualified for the state tournament.