(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- A high school sophomore decided Thursday to default his state tournament wrestling match rather than face one of the first girls ever to qualify for the event.
Joel Northrup, who was a favorite to win in his weight class, was to compete against freshman Cassy Herkelman, who, along with Meghan Black, qualified for the 112-pound weight class.
Northrup said that he respected his opponent, but because of his conscience and his faith, he didn't think it was appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner.
Northrup's father, Jamie said he believed his son's decision to be based in principle and that the nature of the sport did not correspond to Joel's belief that girls should be treated with dignity and respect.
"Taking nothing away from those two female athletes, but wrestling's a combat sport," Jamie Northrup said about his son's decision to default. "And they're out there and it gets violent at times. My son doesn't believe that girls should be engaged in that way."
Herkelman won her first-round event and will wrestle again on Friday.
Northrup, who had a record of 35 wins and just four losses, is still eligible to compete in the consolation rounds.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio