With No. 5 Minnesota set to face off against top-ranked Iowa on Sunday, February 14 at Williams Arena, the Gold Zone looks back at arguably the biggest dual in the history of the series. On January 18, 1998, the Golden Gophers faced off against No. 1 Iowa in the championship of the National Duals at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa looked to be in control of the match early as they rattled off three straight wins, including a pair of majors, to take an 11-0 lead. The Golden Gophers cut the lead to 11-9 behind three straight decisions from Jason Davids, Chad Kraft and Josh Holiday. The two teams traded decisions, capped off by Lee Fullhart's double-overtime victory against Tim Hartung at 190 pounds. The victory appeared to give Iowa an insurmountable 17-12 lead.
In front of the Hawkeye faithful, heavyweight Shelton Benjamin did the unthinkable. He pinned Wes Hand at 2:16 to give Minnesota its first National Duals title. The Golden Gophers became just the second team in 16 years to top Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The win also symbolized the arrival of Gopher wrestling as a budding national power. Following a third-place finish at the 1997 NCAA Championship, Minnesota claimed its best finish in the history of the program with a runner-up performance at the 1998 NCAA Championship. The Golden Gophers would go on to win three national titles in the next 10 years.
National Duals Championship Match
Minnesota 18, Iowa 17
118 - Eric Juergens (Iowa) maj. dec. Brett Lawrence, 14-5.
126 - Doug Schwab (Iowa) dec. Pat Connors, 9-5.
134 - Mark Ironside (Iowa) maj. dec. Troy Marr, 20-7.
142 - Jason Davis (MN) dec. Jeff McGinniss, 3-1 (OT).
150 - Chad Kraft (MN) dec. Kasey Gilliss, 8-3.
158 - Josh Holiday (MN) dec. Ben Uker, 9-7.
167 - Joe Williams (Iowa) dec. Zac Taylor, 5-3.
177 - Brandon Eggum (MN) dec. Paul Jenn, 7-3.
190 - Lee Fullhart (Iowa) dec. Tim Hartung, 7-6 (2 OT).
Hwt - Shelton Benjamin (MN) pinned Wes Hand, 2:16.