Dake leads USA to gold medal dual

Kyle Dake has lighted a fire under the Carver crowd on his way to picking up three superiorities in three matches.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben A

America’s Kyle Dake (red) takes down Sohsuke Takatani (blue) of Japan at 79 kg during the 2018 Men’s Freestyle World Cup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, April 7. Team USA defeated Japan 729-312 in Session 2. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Kyle Dake’s April 8 performance at the wrestling World Cup in Carver-Hawkeye has resembled that of Team USA’s — a lot of scoring and dominance.

Through three duals, Dake has three technical falls in just over seven minutes on the mat, leading the U.S. to three victories.

“I’m just trying to score points,” Dake said. “Trying to get off the mat as quick as possible … Watching teammates do well, you kind of want to out-do them a little bit. We’re just out there having fun.”

Dake’s showings have ignited the crowd, which was especially evident in the U.S. 7-3 win over Japan.

After losing the first three matches, James Green and Jordan Burroughs picked up wins, and Dake followed with nothing other than a 10-0 technical fall. When his opponent hesitated in meeting back at the center of the mat, Dake got the crowd involved, waving his arms and sending Carver-Hawkeye into a frenzy.

The momentum carried over, as the rest of the lineup followed in Dake’s footsteps by racking up their own superiorities to make it five in a row

“Every time our guys do something exceptional, the crowd gets super into it, and they feed off that energy,” Team USA coach Bill Zadick said. “It’s great to have the crowd with you. Rarely do we get to wrestle in front of a crowd like that, so it’s a lot of fun.”

Although his name might not be as big as wrestlers such as Jordan Burroughs or Kyle Snyder, Dake’s electrifying victories didn’t come out of nowhere.

Dake was a four-time NCAA Champion at Cornell. His fourth title put him in the company of Cael Sanderson and Pat Smith as the only college wrestlers to take home four national titles. Teammate Logan Stieber accomplished the feat after Dake.

In his post-college career, Dake took home a U.S. Open title in 2016 and has finished as a U.S. World Team Trials runner-up three times and an Olympic Trials runner-up once.

When Dake was on the mat, Burroughs joked about all of his interviews getting cut short because of crowd noise when Dake wrestles, as he has developed into a crowd favorite at the World Cup.

“When you’re followed up by Kyle Dake, you’ve got to do something cool or you get left behind,” Burroughs said.

The athletes following Dake in the American lineup have been tremendous throughout the tournament as well.

Snyder and David Taylor have three tech falls, and J’den Cox and Nick Gwiazdowski each have one.

In fact, only one wrestler in the final five weight classes has lost a match at the World Cup; J’den Cox lost to Dato Marsagishvili of Georgia, 5-0.

Team USA’s three victories puts it in the gold medal dual with Azerbaijan at 4 p.m. With what has occurred in Carver thus far, it seems as if Dake and the rest of the back end of the lineup will be ready.

“We have James Green, Jordan Burroughs, myself, David Taylor, J’den Cox, Kyle Snyder, Nick Gwiazdowski — a bunch of hammers right there,” Dake said. “That’s what we’ve been rolling with, and we got to keep it going for tonight.”

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