The second came last week against Iowa State. "This is a must for us," said Gable before tangling with the Cyclones. "Not for winning the nationals but for getting good recruits"—particularly in-state blue-chippers. Iowa takes its wrestling, and its rivalries, very seriously. Saturday's meet featured seven wrestlers ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in their divisions by the Amateur Wrestling News. Three of them were Iowa natives.
Two of the matches directly pitted No. 1 in the country against No. 2. In the first, Heffernan, a senior 150-pounder, lost 4-3 to Cyclone sophomore Tim Krieger. The second one-two showdown came at 167 pounds. Hawkeye senior Royce Alger wanted to prove that his January 11 win over Iowa State's three-time All-America, Kevin Jackson, had not been a fluke. Down 8-3 in the third period, Alger had stormed back to win 11-9. "I wish I had 12 Royce Algers," says Gable.
But Jackson was subsequently chosen over Alger for the East-West All-Star meet. "I guess they thought I was lucky," Alger said with a shrug. Jackson thought so, too. "If I hadn't stubbed my toe, he wouldn't have taken that match," Jackson said before last week's meet. " Alger's just a brawler. I'm better than he is." Their reunion came with Iowa trailing 12-6. Interspersing his moves with the occasional gratuitous shove, Alger prevailed once again, 5-3. That made the score at 12-9 Iowa State. Cut to the Butcher.
Chiapparelli pinned Cyclone senior Steve Metzger 28 seconds into the third period to give the Hawkeyes six points and their first lead of night, 15-12. In the process, he dusted off the Rico Roll, a daring contortion that exposes his shoulders to the mat at one point. If the maneuver is executed with sufficient momentum, it then sends him another 180 degrees and into position to score a pin. That's just what happened.
But Iowa's Rollie Kane then lost at 190 pounds. Immediately afterward he repaired to the Hawkeye wrestling room, where he ran sprints in an apparent quest for penance. Kane's defeat left the score tied at 15. The heavyweights would decide the match.
They were Mark Sindlinger, a center on the Hawkeye football team, and Andy Cope. The prevailing mood in Carver-Hawkeye was one of hope rather than confidence. Sindlinger had been a great high school heavyweight, but what had he done lately? "Nothing," said the 240-pounder. Now, after winning four of six matches since the end of the football season, he rode a 4-1 lead into the final period.
Just two minutes would spell the difference—for Sindlinger and most Iowans—between glory and immeasurable depression. Cope escaped and shot for Sindlinger's legs but was himself taken down—6-2 Sindlinger. Cope escaped again, and again went for Sindlinger's legs. The result was the same—8-3 Sindlinger. Glory for the Hawkeyes it was. Sindlinger was still signing autographs when Gable was smiling in spite of himself and looking ahead to "more important things."