Jan. 9, 2013
STILLWATER--Just one year ago, in front of over 15,000 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, the Oklahoma State wrestling squad upset top-ranked Iowa in one of the season's most anticipated match-ups. It ended the Hawkeyes' 84-dual unbeaten streak.
The dual was tied after the 10 bouts, but the Cowboys came out victorious with the tie-break criteria on their side, winning, 17-16.
For years, the Hawkeye and Cowboy wrestlers have had one of the most intense rivalries in college sports as they are two of the most storied programs in the nation. The two teams have combined for 57 national championships. OSU leads the series, 26-18-2.
"It's a historic rivalry," said club coach and former Cowboy Kenny Monday. "When I was a kid, I used to dream about that match and wrestling in it. I'll never forget the first OSU-Iowa match I ever saw. When I finally got to college, I got the opportunity to do that. It was the greatest thing ever."
This year, the excitement surrounding the match is no different. The undefeated Cowboys are ranked No. 2 in the nation and have already conquered a top-ranked team in Minnesota this season, as well as other top-25 teams. Iowa is similar in their successes this year. The No. 4 Hawkeyes are coming off a 22-9 upset win over then-No. 4 Ohio State and a 29-9 win over No. 21 Purdue.
"The Hawkeyes are a tough squad," Monday said. "They're going to be typical Iowa and wrestle hard. On the other hand, our team is really starting to shape up. This is one of the most crucial times of the season. We're getting into the groove of things. It's exciting to have Blake Rosholt (197 pounds) back in the lineup. Our team is complete now. We can really define who we are going into the rest of the season."
This weekend will feature several exciting bouts with 15 top-20 wrestlers, including top-five match-ups between No. 5 Jon Morrison for the Cowboys and No. 2 Tony Ramos of Iowa at 133 pounds and No. 1 Chris Perry for OSU vs. No. 4 Mike Evans of the Hawkeyes at 174 pounds.
"I'm excited, Perry said. "Last year, I didn't have the performance I wanted at Iowa. I've got a good kid this weekend, and this is something where I want to go out and show the weight class what I'm made of. I'm really trying to turn it up this weekend."
Monday said the excitement for the rivalry didn't stop when his OSU career ended.
"Getting to watch these guys go through it replays that passion and that excitement I felt when I was wrestling," he said. "It's still just as exciting. You got two of the best college programs in the world going at it, and they both have great coaching staffs. That's what wrestling is all about."
The No. 2 Cowboys and No. 4 Hawkeyes will face off on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
"It's one of the biggest duals of the year," Perry said. "As a team, it's one of the things you look forward to the most. This is a dual that can really make a statement for our team during the season."