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Former high school wrestler goes from girls’ trailblazer to tournament coach

Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 12:52 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - No one appreciates the girls’ state wrestling tournament more than Cassy Jakoubek.

Hardcore wrestling fans may remember her as Cassy Herkelman. 10 years ago, she was chasing a dream as a freshman on the Cedar Falls wrestling team.

“It got me excited,” Jakoubek said, at the time. “I am going to be a girl who goes to state. I am going to do it.”

And, she did. Jakubek was the first girl to qualify for the boys’ state wrestling tournament. She won her first match by forfeit and lost her two others. But she had broken the barrier and drew much media attention.

In this image made with a fish eye lens, Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman, left, addresses the...
In this image made with a fish eye lens, Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman, left, addresses the media after being eliminated from the state high school wrestling tournament, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. Herkelman lost 5-1 on points to Indianola's Matt Victor.(STEVE POPE | AP Photo/Steve Pope)

“I looked forward to do it. I didn’t take it as anything special,” Jakoubek said, now, reflecting back on that time. “I signed up for the sport. That was my goal. I went out and did it.”

What goes around comes around: Jakoubek is in her first year as the head coach of the Cedar Falls girls’ wrestling program.

“I am glad I can give back to the sport that gave me a lot,” Jakoubek said. “Some of them [know about my career]. They know I wrestled but I don’t know that they realize the things I have accomplished in my wrestling career.”

After Jakoubek’s Cedar falls days, she was a two-time all-American wrestler at McKendree University. She is now married and expecting.

Jakoubek has come a long way in 10 years, and so have the opportunities for girl wrestlers in Iowa.

“When I was wrestling in high school, there were 20 girls registered on boys teams,” Jakoubek said. “And now, to have 470 girls at the state tournament. Never could have imagined.”

10 years ago who could have pictured this: 457 girls at their own state tourney. And, in part, they have Cassy Herkelman to thank.

Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman prepares to wrestle with Indianola's Matt Victor in a Class 3A 112...
Cedar Falls' Cassy Herkelman prepares to wrestle with Indianola's Matt Victor in a Class 3A 112 pound quarterfinal match, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. Herkelman lost 5-1 on points to Victor.(STEVE POPE | AP Photo/Steve Pope)

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