ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Dake made history Saturday night.

The junior 157-pounder for Cornell became the first wrestler in Division I history to win three championships at three different weight classes.

Dake, a native of Ithaca, N.Y., won his fifth match of the week, beating Iowa’s Derek St. John 4-1 in the title bout. A first-period takedown was the difference in his 100th career victory.

“A really good feeling, doing something that no one’s done before,” Dake said. “And it’s a tough match. [St. John] went hard like any Iowa guy would.

I’ve got three now. So now we can talk about four, because that’s obviously the next step that comes up.
-- Cornell's Kyle Dake

“I’ve got three now. So now we can talk about four, because that’s obviously the next step that comes up.”

As a true freshman 141-pounder Dake went 34-2 and beat Iowa’s Montell Marion in the 2010 final. Last March, as a 149-pounder, Dake was 31-2 with a victory against Penn State’s Frank Molinaro in the final.

Saturday night he completed a junior season in which he went 35-0.

“The fact that he hasn’t redshirted, it’s pretty amazing to see what he has accomplished,” Cornell head coach Rob Koll said. “Next year he will do something that’s never been done, winning four titles without redshirting. He’s really special, that’s proven by what he’s already done.”

Next March when the 2013 Division I Championships commence in Des Moines, Iowa, if and when Dake qualifies, he will go in search of a fourth national title. Only two – Cael Sanderson and Pat Smith – have accomplished that feat.

Sanderson won his fourth title in Albany, N.Y., in 2003. Smith’s fourth came in 1994 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Sanderson, now the head coach at Penn State, watched three of his pupils win individual titles on Saturday night. Molinaro, David Taylor and Ed Ruth each won on the big stage and Penn State ran away with a second consecutive team title, outdistancing second-place Minnesota by 25.5 points. PSU had 143 points, one of four teams to reach the 100-point plateau. Iowa (107.5) and Cornell (102.5) also hit the century mark. Fifth-place Ohio State (68.5) rounded out the top five.

Molinaro completed a perfect season, beating Minnesota redshirt-freshman Dylan Ness 4-1 in the 149-pound final. A four-time All-American, Molinaro ends the season 33-0.

Taylor, a sophomore, made his second appearance in the final. The second time around worked out much better as the Ohio native dominated from the outset in a 23-7 technical fall of Lehigh’s Brandon Hatchett at 165 pounds. Taylor (32-0) is now 70-1 in two seasons. He was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler with four pins and a technical fall. Also heading home with Taylor is the Gorrarian Award for most falls in the least amount of time and the inaugural “Most Dominant Award” given by the NCAA for his body of work during the 2011-12 season.

“I couldn’t be more happy for David,” Sanderson said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a more dominant performance in the NCAA tournament. I was just sitting back like everybody else, going ‘Wow.’ ”

“I had a vision in my head that I was going to do the same thing last year,” Taylor said. “My motivation is just to go out and dominate someone. So I go to practice every day. That’s what I train my whole life to do.

“It’s awesome. Winning team championships are rare; win two in a row, and this year it really even wasn’t close. And hopefully we can keep adding on to it. And I think this year you’ll be able to enjoy it more than last year.”

Ruth (31-0), also a sophomore, seeminly started hooking up cradles during the national anthem, eventually winning 13-2 against Stanford’s Nick Amuchastegui to win the 174-pound championship.

“When you have the guy who really wants to be successful and is willing whatever you ask him to do, and they take advantage of the opportunities they have in front of them, you can’t really do anything but sit back and stay out of their way,” Sanderson said.

Cornell also had three champions with Steve Bozak and Cam Simaz joining Dake.

Bozak, a senior from State College, Pa., kept Penn State’s Quentin Wright from winning a second championship. Tied at 2-2, Bozak (33-4) won an overtime scramble to win 4-2.

Simaz, also a senior, beat Edinboro’s Chris Honeycutt in the 197-pound final. Simaz, a four-time All-American, finished his senior campaign with a 31-1 record.

“All three of my champions, just salt-of-the-earth guys,” Koll said. “All we can do is keep working, producing All-Americans, and we will get that championship. We score 90-something points last year and we are second. We go over 100 [this year] and you look up and we are in fourth. Pretty hard to believe but that’s the competition right now.”

Ohio State redshirt-freshman Logan Stieber kept Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver (28-2) from repeating as 133-pound champion. Oliver somehow avoided a Stieber attack late in the first to maintain a 2-1 advantage after three minutes. He couldn’t fight off a second-period attempt and the Buckeye took a 4-2 lead. Two late Oliver attempts resulted in nothing, including one last double-leg at the end, and Stieber (33-2) picked up the win.

Earlier this year Oliver beat Stieber.

“I’ve wrestled in so many events, a million events, but nothing compares to this,” Stieber said. “Nothing compares. It’s the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.

“Jordan [Oliver] is an awesome wrestler, one of the best wrestlers in the weight class. I knew it was going to be a handful to maintain the score because last time he whipped my butt. Beating someone of Jordan’s caliber, it’s really amazing.”

Taylor was the Most Outstanding Wrestler.
NCAA Photos

A third finalist, Lehigh senior Zach Rey, also failed to win a second title. Minnesota junior Tony Nelson (32-2) scored a late takedown and added a riding time point to win 4-1 in the 285-pound title bout.

Two managed to get that second championship.

Iowa’s Matt McDonough finished a 36-1 season with a 4-1 victory against Penn State’s Nico Megaludis in the 125-pound final. Tied at 1-1 early in the third, McDonough secured a takedown for a 3-1 lead. The Hawkeye was able to ride out the Nittany Lion rookie the rest of the way for his second title in three trips to a final. Megaludis finishes 28-8.

Michigan’s Kellen Russell (33-1) claimed his second title, beating Marion of Iowa 6-4 in overtime. Marion (31-4), also a senior, tied the bout at 3-3 with a second-period takedown. Russell worked the riding time to 59 seconds before a Marion escape tied it at 4-4. For the third time in four meetings the two went to overtime where Russell countered a Marion shot for a 6-4 victory.

The team race was wrapped up Friday afternoon. After breaking a 58-year drought in 2011, the Nittany Lions have now won two consecutive team titles. Six All-Americans helped PSU total 143 points. The Gophers had a tournament-high seven All-Americans.

What does 2013 have in store? The tournament point record is 170 scored by Iowa in 1997 in Dan Gable’s final season. This Nittany Lion program isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Big numbers
For the second consecutive year, a new attendance record was set. Last March in Philadelphia, the six-session total went over 100,000 fans. St. Louis’ Scottrade center drew 120,393 fans this week, shattering last season’s total by more than 8,000. St. Louis now holds four of the top five attendance totals.

NCAA Awards
The NCAA handed out its inaugural season statistical awards after the finals. Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo and Honeycutt had the most technical falls this season. Oregon State’s Roger Pena had the most falls, while, as you might expect, Taylor was awarded the inaugural Most Dominant Award.

So many a few were missed
Earlier Saturday, this scribe reported 10 freshmen All-Americans. With apologies to Illinois’ Jesse Delgado (125), Nebraska’s James Green (157) and Cam Tessari (149), the total is actually 13, tying a record number for an NCAA tournament.

Quick turnaround
Lehigh sports information director Steve Lomangino had double-duty this weekend. Two Mountain Hawks reached Saturday night’s finals – Hatchett and Rey – keeping Lomangino busy. At 5:50 a.m. Lomangino will catch a plane and head to Charlotte, N.C., for a second-round NCAA men’s basketball game on Sunday evening. Lehigh, a 15th seed, upset Duke 75-70 on Friday and will meet Xavier on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. ET.

Lehigh’s sports information staff includes just three members.