Kyle Dake wins his semifinal match at the World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 21, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.
Kyle Dake waited years for his chance to represent the United States at the World Wrestling Championships. On Monday, he capped off his debut appearance with a performance he’ll never forget.
The 27-year-old from Ithaca, New York, is the newest world champion at 79 kilograms after a 2-0 victory over Olympic bronze medalist and two-time world championship bronze medalist Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijan in Budapest, Hungary.
Dake earned his first point when Hasanov couldn’t score to start the match and went to the break leading 1-0. He got a single leg to force a step out and take a 2-0 lead and then the clock ran down on Hasanov.
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Dake, a four-time NCAA champion from Cornell joins another former college standout, Penn State’s David Taylor, who won the first U.S. gold medal of these championships for Team USA on Sunday. The U.S. has now won five medals so far at the world championships.
This was Dake’s first time on the senior world team after finding himself stuck behind Jordan Burroughs and J’den Cox the past several years. Burroughs defeated Dake in 2013, 2015 and 2017 to make the world teams at 74 kg. and Cox beat him in the finals of the 2016 Olympic Trials at 86 kg.
Cox is wrestling this year at 82 kg. and Burroughs won bronze at 74 on Sunday. Dake entered the competition ranked No. 4 in the world at 79 kg.
Earlier in the tournament, Dake scored a 13-0 technical fall over 2018 European champion and top seed Akhmed Gadzhimagomedov of Russia in the semifinals. He also defeated both Martin Obst of German and Davit Khutsishvili of Georgia, with technical falls, 11-0.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.