Cassy Herkelman: Wrestler Wins, Forfeit By Joel Northrup

February 17, 2011

Meet Cassy Herkelman she is the amazing female wrestler from Cedar Falls High School, who became the first girl to win a wrestling match at the Iowa State High School Wrestling Championships due to the decision made by Joel Northrup who refused to wrestle her because she is a girl. Keep reading to know more about this news and about her. Don’t miss the opportunity to speak your mind with your comments and don’t miss young Herkelman’s photos and videos after the jump.

Cassy Herkelman

Cassandra or Cassy Herkelman, as many people know her, is a freshman at Cedar Falls High School in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where she trains with Wil Kelly as part of her school wrestling team “The Tigers”. Her passion for wrestling runs through her veins, her father Bill Herkelman, a former wrestler, is a fervid fan, her most loyal indeed.

112 pounder Hekelman joined the Cedar Falls Kids’ Wrestling Club when she was just a second grader, she kept training and became better each year, fearless and lethal but still one of Iowa’s few female wrestlers. It did come as an obstacle until she was in ninth grade when fellow male wrestlers refused to wrestle her for being a girl. That certainly didn’t stop her.

She eventually joined the West High Kids’ Wrestling Club and started winning match after match. In 2006 she won first place at the Iowa USA Kids / Cadets State (Freestyle), the following year she placed second at the IWF Kids Cadet State Freestyle, won the U.S. Girls’ Wrestling Association National Championships (105 pounds) and the Girls Folkstyle Nationals when she was an eight grader at Peet Junior High.

She has been named Most Valuable Wrestler and USGWA National Wrestling Champion two years in a row (2009- 2010), Iowa Girls Wrestling State Champion (2010), but don’t think that she is only a terrific wrestler she is also an amazing softball player and can defeat you and me together at a cross country event.

Before 2010 ended she planned with her dad to get into the USA Wrestling Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, N.D in 2011 and hopefully into the Olympic Wrestling team where she might be able to compete at the 2012 event in London. For now she is Iowa’s female wrestler champion forfeited by Joel Northrup, so what was that all about? The match didn’t even take place? Yes that was what happened, it all started when the young wrestler from Linn-Mar High School refused to fight her for being a girl, in his own words…

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy. 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.”

It is very likely he would make a similar decision if he met with her during the finals, or do you think he will change his mind? After all, this is not the first time he has refused to wrestle a girl, he truly is a man of his word and belief. Either way Herkelman is putting her mark in history, it is not everyday a female high school wrestler gets to be a champion in Iowa, but not the first, it is a dream that started to take shape when she qualified for the state wrestling tournament, the first of two girls (Megan Black from Ottumwa), last December. Check Cassy Herkelman’s picture here. Ms. Herkelman is not the only girl from Iowa to find herself in a wrestling championship, other female wrestlers achieved the same around the 1920’s.

We want to congratulate Cassy for all her achievements and all the many she will win in the future, an inspiration to many girls and boys, Well Done!!

Share your comments about her and this story in our comments box below but not before you have a look at Cassy Herkelman’s pictures and awesome videos below.

Cassy Herkelman 1Cassy Herkelman 1 2
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Cassy Herkelman Videos
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4 Responses to “Cassy Herkelman: Wrestler Wins, Forfeit By Joel Northrup”

  1. 1
    dean pocci Says:

    I grew up wrestling in Western PA. It’s not Iowa, but judging by most years results of the Pittsburgh Classic in which high school wrestlers from all over the country, including Iowa, come to compete against the top senior wrestlers of the WPIAL, it’s darn close. As a young kid wrestling throughout the state of Pennsylvania I saw and even competed against girls my age and weight. One in particular stands out in my mind.
    Her name was Tara. She wrestled for a school district outside of Pittsburgh, and she was good. She wrestled with the best around and held her own, sometimes pulling out the victory. Then Tara entered high school. Puberty hit. All of a sudden guys she had crushed only one or two seasons prior were bouncing her from one end of the mat to the other. She was a better wrestler than most but wasn’t nearly as strong at the same weight as her competition. Tara had to deal with knowing she was better than the guys that were beating her, but was unable to do anything to stop it.
    The point is, in contact sports such as wrestling there is a point where it is harmful for women to compete directly with men. It can be harmful to both parties. Sure there are exceptions to the rule. However, there are undeniable differences in the make up of men and women that make this type of competition not level at all.

  2. 2
    Jack Says:

    While I commend Cassy for putting up a fight (npi) to be a female wrestler in a male dominated sport, I also have to toss some kudos to Joel. There is a lot of effort being expended lately to create more co-ed activities and for a young man to go in the face of that on his beliefs requires some emotional strength.

    I also don’t agree with the homogenization of all sports; there is a need for women to have access and that can be done in female leagues. Sometimes in the name of equality we get it wrong and I think this is one of those areas.

  3. 3
    king Says:

    OMG…I’ve never heard of anything so dumb!!!! why don’t u make it nude wresting to really break some ground. i can’t think of anything more inappropriate than this?? in addition to the obvious impropriety if teenagers of the opposite sex groping each other, there are few areas of life where gender make more of a difference that in a sport like wrestling. what kind morons thought this would be a good idea??!!!! shoot them right now…

  4. 4
    Osler Says:

    Just a point, according to other sites, she did not win the championship, she lost in her next round which was a quarterfinal. This was just a preliminary round. An accurate statement would be she is not an Iowa State Champion, she is the first female to be declared a winner of a match in the Championship tournament.