STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State and Iowa clash on the mat at 2 p.m. Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
For wrestling fans, it gets no better than this because by any measure, Oklahoma State and Iowa are the elite programs in the sport of wrestling.
In fact, and Iowa are two of the three winningest programs in all of college athletics. Cowboy wrestling leads all intercollegiate sports with 34 team titles. Iowa wrestling’s 23 team titles ranks third, trailing only OSU’s 34 and the 26 won by men’s outdoor track and field.
Oklahoma State and Iowa have combined for 211 individual wrestling champions, with the Cowboys good for 133 and Hawkeyes tallying 78. Those are the top two figures in the sport.
It’s a similar story when you look at wrestling All-Americans. Oklahoma State wrestlers have combined for 422 All-America honors, while Hawkeye grapplers have 286 All-America honors to their names.
If recent history is the judge, then and Iowa still rise to the top. Seven of the last eight wresting team titles have been won by either the Cowboys or the Hawkeyes, with the Pokes claiming the crown in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and the Hawks winning in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Success after college? Oklahoma State and Iowa wrestling both have that as well. has produced 40 Olympic wrestlers and Iowa has generated 17.
Dominant programs are borne of dominant recruiting and development, and the men on the bench for both programs have certainly achieved in both areas. Oklahoma State coach John Smith – known in wrestling circles as the greatest American wrestler of all-time – owns six world championships and every award available in the wrestling world. He is assisted by three-time champion and 2004 Olympian Eric Guerrero. Smith has served as coach of the U.S. senior freestyle world team each of the past two summers and Guerrero coached the U.S. junior freestyle world team in 2009. Four-time All-American Tyrone Lewis rounds out the Cowboy coaching staff.
Iowa coach Tom Brands won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and is a four-time All-American and three-time champion. His brother and top assistant coach, Terry Brands, won two world titles and the bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics. Three-time All-American and 2008 Olympian Mike Zadick also serves on the Hawkeye staff.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing storylines behind this year’s Oklahoma State-Iowa dual is the fact that the Hawkeyes enter with a school-record 69-match win streak in duals. That is the second-longest streak in history, trailing only the 76-match win streak put together by the Cowboys from 1937-51. coaches John Smith and Eric Guerrero have experience with long winning streaks, as the Pokes won 69 duals in a row from 1996-99 with Smith serving as head coach and Guerrero competing as a wrestler.
It’s a rivalry unlike any other because no other sport features a head-to-head clash of royalty quite like Oklahoma State and Iowa on the mat.
The legendary rivalry will be renewed at Gallagher-Iba Arena this Sunday. Tickets are $12. Admission is $6 for groups of 20 or more, but to be eligible, group tickets need to be reserved ahead of time. All students are admitted free with valid student ID. Members of the Alumni Association are eligible to receive half-price general admission tickets. Members may purchase discounted tickets by visiting orangeconnection.org/cowboys and logging in with their active account.