The greatest pair wrestling of all time: Oklahoma Street v Iowa on Valentine’s Day

The Greatest Dual Ever Wrestled: Oklahoma St. vs Iowa On Valentine

The greatest pair wrestling of all time: Oklahoma Street v Iowa on Valentine’s Day


It’s fitting that Oklahoma State entered the double on February 14, 1998, with Iowa in second place. The two teams have a combined 47 NCAA Tournament titles, and the Cowboys have an all-time lead of 30-17.

Still, the first 21 seasons weren’t the best of times for Oklahoma State. Dan Gable and his Hawkeye wrestling empire have won 15 NCAA championships, while Oklahoma State has three. And, just 11 months ago, Gable led his team to a record NCAA Tournament victory over the favored Cowboys at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The 1998 season represented a new era in college wrestling. Gable made the 1997 season his last, and assistant coach Jim Zaleski took over as the new head coach of the Hawks.

The heir to Gable’s coaching throne appears to be Oklahoma State coach John Smith. The former cowboy superstar set the standard for wrestlers by winning six consecutive world and Olympic titles from 1987-92. Smith led his team to the 1994 NCAA Championship in his second year as a full-time coach.

Despite finishing seventh and sixth under par in 1995 and 1996, respectively, Oklahoma State completed a perfect 1997 double season, including a 21-13 victory in the national doubles event. Hawkeyes.

However, Oklahoma State chose not to play in the 1998 national doubles tournament. So the Cowboys and Hawkeyes meeting at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Valentine’s Day is the only game of the season.

The final score was 22-18 in favor of Oklahoma State, but the end result could be the greatest doubles ever.

2022 baseball games

a double era

It’s all set, an all-time classic: two greatest programs, a fierce rivalry, nine returning U.S. champions, five returning NCAA champions, and the first two teams in the post-Gable era. a meeting.

If we give us a glimpse of future success, the combined seniority of the 20 wrestlers who competed that day is as follows: 16 NCAA Championships, 44 All-Americans, 3 Olympians, 12 World Teams, 2 World Medals, and 1 Olympic medals.

The first game set the tone for the entire night. Teague Moore and Eric Juergens fought a fast-paced battle that ended Moore in a big 15-7 decision. The game came to a close in two quarters, but the Cowboys star broke it down early in the third quarter with a four-running score from a shovel.

126-pound Eric Guerrero — Oklahoma State’s only returning NCAA champion — emerged as the favorite against freshman Doug Schwab. Guerrero led 6-2 with just over a minute left until Schwab made a thrilling comeback with a stunning 9-8 victory.

“The noise from the crowd after that game was amazing,” referee Chuck Yagra said. “It’s by far the loudest voice I’ve heard as an official.”

Next is Mark Ironside, the first of four Iowa NCAA champions. Ironside faced Jamill Kelly, who eventually won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. Ironside’s relentless speed and offense are too much. He pinned the then-underdog in the second quarter, giving the Hawkeyes a 9-4 lead and gaining some temporary momentum.

“That’s what you compete and train for,” Ironside said. “I know we need extra points and maybe a pin and that’s what I want. Playing against high-level opponents means a lot to us.”

Carver-Hawkeye Arena seems to be working its magic. Next up is Iowa City’s own Jeff McGinnis, the 1996 NCAA champion who moved up two weight classes after a redshirt season.

His opponent was No. 1 and undefeated Steve Schmidt, who was runner-up at 134 pounds and could never beat Ironside at the lower weight class.

The game seemed to be locked up early on by McGinnis. His cradle was hooked and was trying to get Schmidt to get the ball, but when McGinnis rolled the wrong way, Schmidt had the upper hand. McGinnis fought hard, but Schmidt eventually saved the game with less than a minute left in the first quarter.

Steve Schmidt just stopped one of the biggest power swings in the franchise’s history.

“I remember the excitement and the fans the most,” Ironside said. “That’s what this sport is all about. The big game came in the 142nd minute when McGinnis was on target.”

Jimmy Arias and Hadlemore gave the Cowboys a 16-9 lead at 150 and 158 pounds, respectively. The 167-pound game looks good on paper, but not on the mat. Iowa’s Joe Williams won two NCAA championships at 158 ​​pounds, while Mark Smith — John’s younger brother — returned to the nation at 177 pounds. In the only one-two game of the night, Williams won 4-2 in overtime.

lasting impact

As usual, the classic duo is decided by two unranked wrestlers. That was the case when Oklahoma State’s Mark Muñoz took an 8-6 lead in the third quarter for a 15-8 victory over Paul Jenn’s 177-pound bout.

Iowa needed extra points in the next two weights, and defending NCAA champion Lee Fu Hart got the points in the strangest of ways. Yagla disqualified sophomore Pat Poplozio as he led the Cowboys 19-18 with 11 seconds left in the second quarter.

“That guy was drinking kudzu,” Smith said of Yagla’s disqualification.

The last game is the most important – and the most boring. Exciting results in any hemisphere. Sophomore Wes Hand has faced heavyweights twice this season — both in the fall and both at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Can Ben Lee continue his winning streak? Yagla couldn’t take it any longer as the pair stalled in overtime (each was asked to delay twice in the rules). He doubled delays on both wrestlers and the bout automatically went into overtime.

Lee won the flip and picked down. All he has to do is escape in 30 seconds and the Cowboys will win the game. When Agra blew his whistle, Hand was caught off guard and Lee escaped within seconds. The Cowboys just wrapped up Iowa State at home, and in the process won one of the most bizarre and exciting events of all time.

“What a double encounter,” Smith said later. “That was college wrestling. The guys who came tonight definitely saw one of the better fights they’ll ever see in their lives.”

Perhaps Smith was referring to Frank Popolozio, the brother of Oklahoma State’s 190-pound Pat. Frank was so inspired by the meeting that he returned to New York dreaming of starting his own tournament. This dual factor is the catalyst for skilled wrestling and a series of successful annual tournaments owned and operated by Popolizio.

“I remember intensity, power, charisma, whatever adjective you want to describe that dual session,” Frank said. “I don’t know if there’s anything to compare to. That particular double put a stamp on my mind. I brought two athletes from the east coast and we still talk about it to this day. That meeting made me fascinated.”

The all-time double record between the two historic events ended 15-15-1 in the final year before the weight class in college wrestling was permanently changed.

Box Score – February 14, 1998

Oklahoma 22, Iowa 18

Attendance: 13,240

118 – Teague Moore (Oklahoma) Eric Jurgens, MD (Iowa), 15-7 (4-0)

126 – Doug Schwab (Iowa) Dec. Eric Guerrero (Oklahoma State), 9-8 (4-3)

134 – Mark Ironside (Iowa State) over Jameer Kelly (Oklahoma State), 4:09 (4-9)

142 – Steve Schmidt (Oklahoma State) over Jeff McGinnis (Iowa State), 2:01 (10-9)

150 – Jimmy Arias (Oklahoma) Dec. Jamie Hayter (Iowa State), 8-2 (13-9)

158 – Hadlemore (Oklahoma) December. Gabe McMahon (Iowa State), 10-3 (16-9)

167 – Joe Williams (Iowa) December. Mark Smith (Oklahoma State), 4-2 overtime (16-12)

177 – Mark Muñoz (Oklahoma) December. Paul Jenn (Iowa State), 15-8 (19-12)

190 – Lee Fullhart (Iowa State) DQ Pat Popolizio (Oklahoma State) (19-18)

285 – Ben Lee (Oklahoma) Dec. Wes Hand (Iowa State), 4-3 SD (22-18)

wrestling certificate


118: Eric Jurgens: 2-time NCAA champion, 4-time All-American

126: Doug Schwab: 1-time NCAA champion, 3-time All-American, 2007 World Team member, 2008 Olympian

134: Mark Ironside: 2-time NCAA champion, 4-time All-American

142: Jeff McGinnis: 2-time NCAA champion, 3-time All-American

150: Jamie Hight: 1x All-American

158: Gabe McMahon: 1x All-American

167 – Joe Williams: 3-time NCAA champion, 4-time U.S. champion, 2004 Olympian, 2-time world bronze medalist, 6-time world team member

177 – Paul Jenn: 2 National Qualifiers

190 – Lee Fullhart: 1x NCAA Champion, 4x National Champion

HWT – Wes Hand: 2x All-American


118: Teaguemore: 1 NCAA title, 3 All-American

126: Eric Guerrero: 3-time NCAA champion, 4-time U.S. champion, 2004 Olympian, 4-time World Team member

134: Jameel Kelly: 2003 World Team Member, 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist

142: Steve Schmidt: 3 All-American

150: Jimmy Arias: 1x All-American

158: Hadlemore: 2 All-American

167: Mark Smith: 3 All-American

177: Marc Muñoz: 1-time NCAA champion, 2-time All-American

190: Pat Popolizio: 3 National Qualifiers

HWT: Ben Lee: 3 National Qualifiers

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