NCAA.com is running a series of polls this week to determine the best championship match in NCAA history. Not surprisingly, several Iowa wrestlers are featured in the championship matches selected by the NCAA.com folks. You should definitely go vote for them. Here are the first two quarterfinals, which are open for voting today:
In 1993, Fresno State's Gerry Abas was heavily favored to win the 142-pound national title, but Iowa's Lincoln McIlravy pulled out an improbable 16-15 victory to become just the second true freshman in NCAA Division I history to win a national title.
Time on the Clock
With only three seconds remaining in the 2003 NCAA Championship final at 197 pounds, Minnesota's Damion Hahn secured a takedown and a 5-4 victory in dramatic fashion over John Trenge of Lehigh.
BHGP: Look, this is a no-brainer. Even if The Comeback didn't feature an Iowa wrestler, it would be worth voting for anyway because it's one of the most thrilling championship matches -- if not just plain matches, period -- in NCAA history. The fact that it also features a win by one of Iowa's all-time greats, Lincoln McIlravy, is just icing on the cake. Vote for this. Do it now.
In one of the most highly anticipated matches of all time, Oklahoma's Mark Schultz defeated two-time defending NCAA champion Ed Banach of Iowa to secure the 1982 title at 167 pounds.
The Grudge Match
In a tight battle that ended 4-3, Mark Perry of Iowa topped Johny Hendricks of Oklahoma State, who had previously owned the series between the two.
BHGP: This is another no-brainer, at least for me. Schultz-Banach is a good match -- especially by heavyweight standards -- but Perry-Hendricks is one of my all-time favorite matches involving an Iowa wrestler. Seeing Mark Perry finally -- finally! -- beat his longtime nemesis, Johny Hendricks, was incredibly satisfying.
P.S. You can watch the full Perry-Hendricks match here. You can also watch the full Schultz-Banach match here, as well as what's arguably an even better heavyweight match, Lou Banach vs. Bruce Baumgartner. It's astounding to see so much action among heavyweights.
I'll post a new post tomorrow with those quarterfinal matchups.