DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa high school wrestler who became the first girl to win a state tournament match when her opponent refused to compete against her for religious reasons lost her quarterfinals match Friday.

Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman lost 5-1 on points to Indianola’s Matt Victor in their 112-pound matchup. Despite the controversy Herkelman was thrust into when her first-round opponent defaulted rather than face her Thursday, there was little reaction from the roughly 6,000 Wells Fargo Arena spectators when she lost to Victor. There were several other matches taking place at the time.

Herkelman had a 20-13 record entering the tournament, but was deprived of the chance to show her skills when her favored opponent, sophomore Joel Northrup, defaulted rather than wrestle her. Northrup, who is home-schooled but competes for Linn-Mar High School, said wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.

Herkelman and Ottumwa High School sophomore Megan Black were the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history.

Herkelman was expected to compete in a consolation round match later Friday.

Black was eliminated Thursday after losing both her matches.

Tournament organizers didn’t make Herkelman or Victor available to the media after their match. They said Herkelman wouldn’t discuss the tournament until she is finished competing.

On Thursday, Northrup said he respected Herkelman and Black but didn’t think girls should compete against boys in wrestling. In a statement issued through his school, he called wrestling a combat sport and said “it can get violent at times.”

Herkelman’s father, Bill Herkelman, told The Associated Press that he respected Northrup’s decision and wished Northrup well.

High school and college wrestling draw huge crowds in Iowa, and the annual tournament in Des Moines is followed closely throughout the state.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (12)
  1. Easy on the take down tiger says:

    right fool … he (Northrup) was only 34-5 in matches and she was I believe 20-13 after the forfeit.
    So maybe scared indeed – that he would kill her. 😉
    I respect what he did – obviously barring him suffering a stroke on the mat, lol, it was a mismatch. He showed respect but it maybe cost him a title which is a shame. I was 103-11 in my 4 year career and if I was forced to deal with a gal in a meet I would have hoped I had the same respect and control he showed.
    At that age I suspect I would have shot for a pin just to show her up. That would have been stupid and nasty _ but that’s what I was then I am afraid.

    1. connor schupp says:

      i agree but i woulld srestle her

  2. connor schupp says:

    i think he was scared to wrestle cause if he lost he would’ve been embaressed

  3. connor schupp says:

    but the girl looks very strong

  4. connor schupp says:

    dont listen to this next comment not me

  5. caytlin basel says:

    haha i would’ve wanted to wrestle

  6. Mike says:

    It was against my religion? Really? What relgious principal or commandment would he have been breaking?

  7. dudeski says:

    are you kidding me it would of been the bowling ball grip take down commandment

  8. Dwight says:

    According to one article, he was Pentecostal, and his home church ” believes young men and women shouldn’t touch in a familiar way”. By this reasoning, they must condone males touching other males “in a familiar way”!

    1. JD FROM ALA says:

      Right on Dwight!!! Logic is soooo messy.

  9. mark from says:

    Well you play with the boys, you get beat like a girl

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