Cornell's Dake wins fourth national title in fourth different weight class
DES MOINES, Iowa -- He did it.
On Saturday night at the 83rd NCAA Wrestling Championships, Cornell senior Kyle Dake became the first wrestler in Division I history to win four championships at four different weight classes.
And he did it in classic Dake fashion against one of the best wrestlers at any weight class -- Penn State’s David Taylor.
|2010||141||Montell Marion (Iowa), 7-4|
|2011||149||Frank Molinaro (Penn State), 8-1|
|2012||157||Derek St. John (Iowa), 4-1|
|2013||165||David Taylor (Penn State), 5-4|
It was one of the most anticipated finals matches in collegiate wrestling’s history. So much so, the NCAA broke up the usual schedule of starting at 125 pounds and working up to the heavyweights. The 165-pound finals were put at the end as the showcase of an always-fabulous Saturday night spectacle.
Taylor (30-2) drew first blood with a cat-quick low-level attack for a 2-0 lead. But a low-level attack by Dake made it 3-2 after three minutes. An escape in the second gave the Cornell grappler a 4-2 advantage after five minutes.
And in the final two minutes of his collegiate career, Dake used his patented, clingy ride to build 1:13 of riding time. A pair of warnings resulted in a point for Taylor, but the riding time advantage was the difference in a 5-4 victory.
“Kind of at a loss for words,” said Dake. “Definitely an amazing feeling. [Taylor] is one of the best wrestlers of all-time and I’ve got to give him credit for getting that first takedown. I just fought hard, got right out, off bottom and just stayed on him.
“One of the best aspects of my game is that I’m really good on top, and David is really good. He’s just, like I said, he’s a really good wrestler and he’s really tough. I was able to neutralize his tripod and when he started rolling around a little bit, I didn’t make the mistake of trying to roll with him because he’s really good there.”
Cornell head coach Rob Koll has used one word throughout Dake’s four years on campus: “unflappable.”
The line for autographs, photos, and handshakes started somewhere near Ithaca after the history-making win.
Dake finishes his career 137-4 with seasons of 34-2, 31-2, 35-0, and 37-0. He was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in 2013.
Taylor completed a perfect sophomore season at the 2012 NCAA Championships, dominating the field at 165 pounds and earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award. His first year produced an undefeated season until the 157-pound NCAA finals where he lost to Arizona State’s Bubba Jenkins. Taylor will take a 100-3 record into his final collegiate campaign in 2013-14.