The heated intrastate battle for the NCAA Wrestling Championship went down to the final session at Cole Field House yesterday after five victories in eight consolation matches enabled Iowa to boost its slim lead over defending champion Iowa State to three points, 92 1/2 to 89 1/2.
The Hawkeyes were not ordering champagne for a victory party, however. They sent only two - both under-dogs - into the finals, while Iowa State was depending on two favorites and one with a 50-50 chance.
Iowa's maximum possible point output from the finals was 10 and, should both its wrestlers follow form and lose, the Cyclones, with a possibility of 15 points, would need just one victory to top the Hawkeyes. Oklahoma State, with 81 1/4 points, was still alive, needing victories from all three of its finalists.
The key bout was the 126-pound final between unbeaten Mike Land of Iowa State and Hawkeye freshman Randy Lewis. Land already had beaten Lewis three times this year, although the scores were progressively closer.
Iowa's other finalist was Bruce Kinseth, paired against defending champion Mark Churella of Michigan at 150.
Besides Land, Iowa State was represented by the 190-pound defender, Frank Santana, who battled Ron Jeidy of Wisconsin, and 158-pounder Kelly Ward, the Kennedy High product who challenged two-time winner Lee Kemp of Wisconsin.
Charles Gadson was Iowa State's hero during the afternoon consolations, which drew 10,184 fans. Wrestling favored Don Shuler of Arizona State for third place at 177 pounds, Gadson won, 9-8, by registering a near fall with 10 seconds left.
Those two team points greatly enhanced with Cyclones' situation, since it left them needing only one more victory than Iowa in the finals, rather than two.
Joe Zuspann, the Cyclones' second-seeded 150-pounder, wound up fourth when he permitted Dave Schultz of Oklahoma State to escape with 12 seconds left in overtime. That tied the match and provided Schultz with the necessary criteria to take the decision.
Mike Moore of Lock Haven earned fifth place at 142 pounds by thrashing Iowa State's Randy Nielson, 14-2. Moore had Nielson in a painful hold for most of the third period, but couldn't record a pin. Iowa State Coach Harold Nichols threw in a towel in an attempt to halt the ordeal, but a mat official just threw it off and let the noncontest continue.
Iowa's Scott Trizzino, disqualified for inaction during his 142-pound semifinal Friday night, came back with renewed vigor and scored a pair of one-sided decisions to earn third place. After routing Moore, 17-4, Trizzino whipped Brigham Young's John Mecham, 11-5, the same score as their match Thursday in the round of 16.
Notre Dame linebacker Bob Golic salvaged third place by pinning Gary Peterson of Brigham Young. Earlier, Golic beat Iowa's John Bowlsby, 2-1, on riding time. Bowlsby took fifth place with an overtime criteria decision over Jeff Blatnick of Springfield.