The anticipation is growing. Number 1 versus number 2 in a contest that won’t determine, but may well influence the outcome of a national championship. No – not Florida and Alabama for the SEC football championship. It’s time again for the annual dual wrestling meet between The University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones – one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. ESPN has included this event on its list of “101 Things All Sports Fans Should Do Before They Die”. If you’re a wrestling fan and have never attended – shame on you.
The meet has somewhat of a different feel this year because former Iowa State coach and Cyclone icon, Cael Sanderson, has moved on to become the head coach at Penn State. Sanderson has been replaced by Kevin Jackson who in his collegiate competitive days transferred to Iowa State after LSU dropped wrestling. His matches with Iowa’s Royce Alger are legendary.
Legend – that’s part of the appeal. Fans on both sides have their favorite moments. For many Cyclone fans it’s Dave Osenbaugh pinning Lou Banach. Fanatics in black and gold favor a similar upset by Brooks Simpson over Eric Voelker. Each was a major upset and each won the meet.
The last three editions have featured newsworthy “extracurricular” aspects. In 2006 Iowa coaches Tom Brands and Dan Gable squared off in a heated debate with Sanderson and his assistant, Tim Hartung. It generated one of the most famous photos in recent years. Then came “the curtain” in 2007. Iowa State athletic director, Jamie Pollard, decided to limit seating by curtaining off thousands of seats. (Note: this will not be done this year.) Last year’s edition brought a new NCAA dual meet attendance record. People traveled from all over the country just to be able to say that they were there that night.
This year’s battle will feature two senior-dominated lineups, but two redshirt freshmen just might provide the highlight bout of the night. Both are three-time Iowa high school champions and both are off to undefeated and dominating starts in their first year of varsity competition. The Cyclones’ Andrew Long is from Creston and the Hawks’ Matt McDonough is from Marion.
For over 30 years Iowa Public Television has broadcast this and dozens of other top quality wrestling meets. Thanks to IPTV we’ve had the chance to see future Olympic and World Champions like Kenny Monday, Kendall Cross, John Smith, Tom and Terry Brands, Randy Lewis, Ed and Lou Banach, Cael Sanderson and Kevin Jackson as collegians. IPTV has used this broadcast as a fund raising event for the past several years. In these days of statewide budget cuts they’ll need your support more than ever. A feature of the telecast has been when Dan Gable gets out his checkbook and writes his check “on air” (by the way – according to IPTV’s public records – he writes a big one).
If you’re one of the 30,000 or 40,000 people watching the telecast – please call and make your pledge. If you’re going to be in Hilton Coliseum for the live action, stop now and send your check to
Friends of IPTV
PO Box 6400
Johnston, IA 50131
Make that number 1 on your agenda.