The state of Iowa takes high school wrestling seriously. Iowans take wrestling so seriously, in fact, that the state wrestling champion among high school boys in Iowa is like “Mr. Basketball” in Indiana — a celebrity for life. Joel Northrup is only a sophomore, but the home-schooled student who wrestles for Linn-Mar High School went into the state wrestling tournament with a 35-4 record and high hopes.

Nevertheless, in his first match, he forfeited. Why? Because he could not by conviction wrestle against a girl.

In a statement released to the media, young Northrup said: “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 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.”

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