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WIN Magazine NCAA Preview • 165 pounds

165-Pound Scouting Report

There are only two wrestlers people are talking about as favorites at this weight: Cornell’s three-time NCAA titlist Kyle Dake and Penn State’s David Taylor, last year’s 165-pound champion and Hodge Trophy winner.

Cornell's Kyle Dake (left) has beaten last year's NCAA champion David Taylor of Penn State twice this season: this 3-2 win in the Southern Scuffle and a 2-1 overtime win in the 2012 NWCA All-Star Classic

Cornell’s Kyle Dake (left) has beaten last year’s NCAA champion David Taylor of Penn State twice this season: this 3-2 win in the Southern Scuffle and a 2-1 overtime win in the 2012 NWCA All-Star Classic

The NCAA apparently wanted to created a “Main Event” format to the national tournament finals and saved the most anticipated match for last. And it most likely will showcase these two young men who are friends, dating back to their competitive days at Junior and Cadet Nationals in freestyle at Fargo. The competitors have faced each other three times since last year’s NCAAs:

• at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Iowa City, where Dake caught Taylor in an underhook situation and pinned him in the freestyle bracket at 163 pounds;

• at the 2012 NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington, D.C., Nov. 2, when Dake won 2-1 by riding out Taylor for 30 seconds of his offensive tiebreaker phase. This was considered an exhibition and did not count on their season’s records;

• at the Southern Scuffle, Jan. 2, in Chattanooga, where Dake won again, 3-2, when the Big Red senior scored a late reversal and rode out the Nittany Lion the final 30 seconds.

 

Probable All-Americans

At the start of the season, there were some who thought Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell could push Dake and Taylor. But the Cowboy — who finished second nationally in 2011 for Oklahoma University before redshirting and transferring to Bedlam-rival OSU — is 0-3 against the duo and lost a late-season match with Iowa State’s Mike Moreno. If Caldwell can keep matches close in the same manner in which he stayed close in a loss to former Nebraska-star Jordan Burroughs, then he should in the hunt to place high.

Tyler Caldwell

Tyler Caldwell

Oddly, the wrestler Caldwell beat for the Big 12 title was Patrick “Bubby” Graham, who came with head coach Mark Cody from American University after the 2011 season and is wearing the Sooner colors.

Bubby Graham

Bubby Graham

The state of Georgia, which does not feature a Division I program, has not produced that many college All-Americans. The last one is Virginia Tech’s Peter Yates, from Conyers, Ga., who helped the Hokies capture their first ACC team title and will lead a talented group to Des Moines.

North Dakota State, once an NCAA Division II powerhouse, winning titles in 1988, ‘98, ‘00 and ‘01, moved up to the Division I level four years ago, is still looking for its first All-American since the move. (Five different Bison — Bill Demaray (1971), Lee Peterson (1973-74), Brad Rheingans (1975), Mike Langlais (1984) and Pat Johannes (1988) — did place at a time when non-Division I champs could compete in the Division I tournament.)

The first could be Steven Monk, who came within a victory last year and is coming off a West Regional championship.

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