Monday, August 03, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Respect the Northrups' decision

The Class 3A portion of the state wrestling tournament had barely started this morning when the first big jolt of the meet occurred.  Linn-Mar sophomore Joel Northrup defaulted his first round match at 112 pounds to Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls, one of the first two girls to ever qualify for the state meet. Readers of the Metro Sports Report were aware this was going to happen because of an exclusive report our Jim Ecker had Tuesday night.

Northrup cited religious beliefs as his reason for not wrestling a girl.

While some may choose to condemn Northrup and his family for their choice not to compete, I believe we should respect their decision.

Because he defaulted, Northrup sacrificed his chance to win a state title. He was third at 103 pounds last year and was regarded as a title contender this season. He still could match that third-place finish by battling back through the consolation round. He won his first round consi match with a major decision over Sam Jameson of Glenwood this morning.

But he will not be a champion.

This is not to say that girls should not be allowed to wrestle.  The rules are that they can and, with numbers being what they are in many programs, they will be wrestling varsity competition.

And this is not a lament for the terrible luck Northrup had in being paired with Herkelman in the first round. Fate seems to find a person in these situations.

This is to acknowledge that Northrup was placed in what he and his family saw as a moral dilemma and had the fortitude to make the hard decision, to sacrifice a possible state championship for their beliefs.

For that, they deserve our respect.


Lions 21-0!!!

With their two big men still on the bench with injuries, the Linn-Mar boys sent their 10 seniors off with a bang on Senior Night Thursday in the regular season final by pounding Dubuque Wahlert, 71-50.

The win gave the 4A top-ranked Lions (21-0, 16-0 MVC) their second consecutive undefeated conference season. In the last three years, they are 47-1 in the  Mississippi Valley, the only blemish coming two years ago against Cedar Falls.

"That's a great accomplishment," said Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson. "I couldn't be happier for our seniors to go out with a win."

Next up is a home game next Friday night against Xavier or Ottumwa as substate tournament play begins.

Robertson said of his two senior stalwarts, 6-foot-6 Ian McBrayer should be ready to suit up. He's been hobbled by a groin injury.

The good news for 6-foot-7 post man Josh Montague is that he will not face surgery for a strained  ligament. Roberston said he's in therapy now and might be back in a couple of weeks if the team continues winning.

In their absence, however, Linn-Mar may have found an able substitute Thursday night in 6-foot-7 sophomore string-bean Derrick Gogg. He came off the bench and more than  held his own against the shorter but far bulkier Wahlert crew around the basket.

The rail-thin Gogg scored eight points but also clogged up the middle on defense and battled for rebounds.


Get state wrestling results on MSR ticker

All seven Metro schools have at least one wrestler in the Class 3A state tournament in Des Moines this week. Better still, the Metro has at least one wrestler in all 14 weight classes.

All told, the Metro has sent 30 wrestlers to Des Moines for the 86th version of this popular IHSAA event at the Wells Fargo Arena.

The tournament began Wednesday in Class 1A and Class 2A, but Class 3A action does not begin until Thursday morning.

Wrestling fans can get all the match-to-match results for the Metro wrestlers on the Metro Sports Report ticker at the top of this page. We'll be reporting the results from Wells Fargo Arena and posting them on the ticker as quickly as possible.

We used the MSR ticker from the state swimming meet in Marshalltown last Saturday and now we're ready to tackle wrestling.

In addition to the ticker-tape results, we'll provide stories, features, breaking news and pictures from the Class 3A state tournament from start to finish.


Northrup may forfeit wrestling match to girl

The Metro Sports Report has learned that Linn-Mar sophomore Joel Northrup is considering the possibility of forfeiting his first-round match in the state wrestling tournament because he may not want to compete against a girl.

Northrup is scheduled to meet Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman at 112 pounds when the Class 3A state tournament begins Thursday morning at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The possibility exists that Northrup will forfeit that match.

"I know it's been talked about. I can answer that. Yes," Linn-Mar activities director Scott Mahmens told the Metro Sports Report Tuesday night.

"I know it was kind of being tossed out there, but I don't think a decision has been made yet, as far as I know," he said.

Sources have told the Metro Sports Report that the Northrup family has strong religious beliefs, which may be a factor in the decision to wrestle Herkelman or not.

"I'm sure they talked about it," Mahmens said.

Linn-Mar wrestling coach Doug Streicher could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

"I'll be anxious to talk to Doug in the morning as well," Mahmens said.

Girls have been allowed to wrestle for Iowa high school teams for more than 20 years, according to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, but this is the first time any girls have qualified for the state tournament. Herkelman finished second in her district Saturday and has compiled a 20-13 record for the Cedar Falls varsity this season.


The Greatest Show in Iowa

Once again it’s time for the annual event known as the “8-Ring Circus”!

Of course we are talking about the state wrestling tournament, which begins its annual four-day run today (Wednesday) at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Many Metro wrestlers will be taking to the mats on Thursday morning in the 3A session, and while a team trophy will in all likelihood not be coming back to town, there are several opportunities for an individual title and many placewinners.

Speaking of the state wrestling tournament, I have been covering high school sports since 1989 and nothing can even hold a candle to the excitement that is produced at this event, especially on Saturday night during the finals.

While Wells Fargo Arena is a great venue and has all the amenities that the modern-day fan needs, the tournament shined brightest across the street at "The Barn" -- Veterans Auditorium. It didn’t matter the day, it didn’t matter the class and it didn’t matter which session of the meet it was, the place was special. It was full to the rafters more than it wasn’t for every session, and even when there were a few precious seats to be had,  the atmosphere was second to none.


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