No consensus among Missouri wrestlers on Iowa controversy

Monday, February 21, 2011 | 8:33 p.m. CST; updated 8:56 p.m. CST, Monday, February 21, 2011

COLUMBIA — Nathan McCormick, a 133-pound sophomore on the Missouri wrestling team, has wrestled a female before, all the way back in sixth grade.

“I crushed her,” he said. “I don’t think it’s weird.”

Tigers freshman 125-pounder Alan Waters disagreed.

“It’s kind of awkward wrestling a girl,” he said. “You don’t want to hurt her.”

McCormick and Waters were responding to questions about a high school wrestling controversy that happened Thursday in Iowa.

Joel Northrup, a sophomore 112-pound wrestler from Linn-Mar High School, forfeited instead of wrestling Cassy Herkelman, a freshman from Cedar Falls, in the first round of their state high school wrestling tournament. Citing his religion, Northrup said he didn’t wrestle Herkelman because boys and girls aren’t supposed to have that much physical contact.

After forfeiting to Herkelman, Northrup won his first consolation match before losing his second match and being eliminated from the tournament. Herkelman lost her next two matches after Northrup's forfeit.

Tigers senior 133-pounder Luke Cherep said he doesn’t think Northrup should have faced a situation like that.

“I do believe they should have their own sport. Just like any other sport, they should split them up (males and females),” he said.

But if a female was scheduled to wrestle Cherep, he said he wouldn’t back down.

“I’d definitely wrestle a girl.”

Jake Cyr, a freshman 141-pounder for the Tigers, said he thinks there was another reason Northrup didn’t want to wrestle Herkelman.

“I just think he was kind of scared,” he said.

Waters wrestled and defeated a female while he was in high school, but he said he thought it was weird and can understand why Northrup forfeited.

Cyr has wrestled females before as well and doesn’t see anything wrong with it.

“She knows what the sport is,” he said.

“It’s her decision to step out on the mat,” McCormick added.

Though Waters would rather not wrestle a female, he said he wouldn’t have done what Northrup did.

“It’s a sport. Women are allowed to do it, too,” Waters said. “He should have just sucked it up and went out there and wrestled her.”

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