By Mike Finn
Two of the this year’s top college wrestlers were Penn State’s David Taylor, who won the Hodge Trophy after capturing the 165-pound weight class, and Cornell’s Kyle Dake who became the first wrestler to win three championships at three different weight classes with a title at 157 pounds in March in St. Louis.
The two wrestlers, who have become close friends after competing in freestyle tournaments during their childhoods, met in a 163-pound consolation match during the Challenger tournament and Dake prevailed with a second-period pin over the Nittany Lion. Dake also won the first period, 5-0, when he used a double hook to put Taylor on his back for exposure points.
“I wrestled tough at that’s what happened,” whose only loss of the Challenge tournament was against former Iowa State wrestler Trent Paulson and won twice against Nick Marable, formerly of Missouri, to finish third.
“It was kind of like a clinch position,” added Dake about the pin. “It felt like he was looking for a pushout and wasn’t protecting his legs. I just picked his knee and he went to his back.
Dake tried to downplay the importance of the match that kept many of the record 13,520 fans who filled Carver-Hawkeye Arena in their seats for the consolation match.
“Let’s go wrestle, what the hell,” said Dake about meeting Taylor, who wished each other luck as the day started but did not speak much during the day’s action. “We’re still friends. It is what it is.”