First! 'Kudos of Respect' go to 16 year old Joel Northrup, an Iowa high school sophomore athlete, for REFUSING to wrestle female wrestler Cassy Herkleman in the State Championships based on his "conscience and religious beliefs".
With a 35-4 winning season, Joel was a favorite to win his division. A dream that very well may have come true, but won't now because wrestling rules deemed Joel's decision as 'a forfeit' which effectively took him out of the competition.
Yesterday, Joel issued a classy and articulate written statement saying he has "tremendous respect" for Cassy, one of the first two girls to ever qualify for the tournament in it's 85 year history. He also said, "wrestling is a combat sport and can get violent at times. I do not believe it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner".
YES! JOEL! About 90% of thinking people would agree with you. For a lot of reasons.
One reason is that should a 16 year male be found in such a 'wrestling' circumstance with a girl outside the tournament venue, he would probably be arrested and hauled off to jail for some kind of sex crime!
California and other States have segregated wrestling tournaments. Boys tournaments and girls tournaments. Why not Iowa?
A message to Joel: Joel, your decision based on YOUR principles is a far bigger WIN than a tournament championship. You are a fine young man. A role model to not only your peers, but to all people!