Final X Special Wrestle-off: Dake vs. Dieringer

Kyle Dake's Prodigious Hit List

Kyle Dake's Prodigious Hit List

Kyle Dake has defeated world champs and Olympic medalists, as well as NCAA champs and multiple-time All-Americans in his storied career.

Aug 4, 2019 by Wrestling Nomad
Kyle Dake is already a legend, having won four NCAA titles and a world gold. But it's easy to forget who he has gone through to achieve some of his accolades.

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Kyle Dake is already a legend, having won four NCAA titles and a world gold. But it's easy to forget who he has gone through to achieve some of his accolades.

Watch Dake vs Dieringer Wrestle-Off Live On Flo

Saturday, August 17 | 1:00 PM Central

Over the course of his career, Dake has compiled an incredible resume of wins. His hit list includes four world champs and 13 different guys with NCAA titles.

For simplicity sake, we're excluding high school accomplishments at events like Fargo or Junior Open/Trials. To start, let's take a look at his four NCAA tournaments (as well as his All-Star Classic and Southern Scuffle wins over David Taylor).

At his first national tournament in 2010, Dake took out Reece Humphrey of Ohio State in the semis, his second win over Humphrey that season. Humphrey is a three-time All-American and three-time world team member. In the finals, Dake beat three-time All-American and two-time finalist Montell Marion of Iowa.

The next year, it was Penn State's Frank Molinaro who Dake bested for his second NCAA crown. Molinaro was a four-time All-American, a 2012 NCAA champ, and fifth-place finisher at the Rio Olympics.

Title #3 came in 2012 at the expense of Hawkeye great Derek St. John, an NCAA champ the year prior and a four-time All-American for Iowa.


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To go 4 for 4, Dake had to go through yet another four-time All-American in the semis in Tyler Caldwell, who he had beaten in the 2011 World Team Trials. Following that was the showdown with four-time finalist, two-time champ, and two-time Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor. In the college match of the millennium, it was Dake who prevailed for the third time that season along with the All-Star Classic and Southern Scuffle final.

All told, he beat eight other AAs during the course of his career while those guys were at the same weight that he was.

World Champs

  • Jordan Burroughs
  • David Taylor
  • J'den Cox
  • Denis Tsargush

NCAA Champs

  • Jordan Burroughs
  • David Taylor
  • J'den Cox
  • Alex Dieringer
  • Isaiah Martinez
  • Andrew Howe
  • Frank Molinaro
  • Keith Gavin
  • Derek St. John
  • Trent Paulson
  • Jon Reader
  • Matt Brown
  • JP O'Connor

Now let's examine his senior level career and some of the notable wins he's notched.

2011 World Team Trials

At his first senior Trials, Dake beat 2010 NCAA champ J.P. O'Connor, a fellow New Yorker who won his title as a senior when Dake was a freshman. He also registered his first of many wins over Tyler Caldwell.

2012 Olympic Trials

He twice defeated Nick Marable there,  who would go on to make the world team in 2014. But the big one was of course his pin of David Taylor, his first such win over his Best Rival.

2013 World Team Trials

Dake took out NCAA champion Trent Paulson 8-1 before once again beating David Taylor 7-4. Then it was a showdown with another NCAA champ in Andrew Howe, who had come so close to unseating Jordan Burroughs in the 2012 Olympic Trials. Dake squeaked by Andrew Howe in OT and advanced to the best two-out-of-three wrestle-off with the eventual world champ Burroughs, their first of eight eventual meetings between the two.

Though he fell short of his goal of competing in the first World Championships, Dake nonetheless notched one of his most impressive wins later that year overseas when he beat three-time world champ and Olympic bronze medalist Denis Tsargush of Russia at the 2013 Golden Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.

2015 World Team Trials

Injuries kept Dake out of action for basically all of 2014, but he came roaring back in 2015. At the World Team Trials in Madison, Dake once again beat Taylor, this time by the score of 8-2. Then it was another date with Andrew Howe. Things played out similarly to 2013, as Dake would beat Howe, this time 2-1, but then lose to Burroughs in the best two-of-three wrestle-off.

2015 Senior Nationals

Dake made his domestic debut at 86kg in December of this year, and won a star studded bracket. He started by pinning three-time All-American for Michigan (and new Missouri assistant coach) Tyrel Todd. That set up a quarterfinal win over 2007 NCAA champ and 2013 world teamer Keith Gavin, now the head coach at Pittsburgh.

In the semis, he won a tight one over current Wisconsin assistant Jon Reader, who won his 2011 national title at 174, the same year Dake won his title at 149 pounds. The tournament culminated against familiar foe David Taylor, who fell victim to Dake's trap arm in an 11-4 final.

2016 Olympic Team Trials

No stranger to changing weight classes, Dake would stay up at 86kg for the 2016 Olympic year. There he would once again fall just short of making the team, although he did rack up a few more bold-faced wins. Taylor—who also moved up a weight class—was beaten 4-3, and Richard Perry, very much a full-sized 86-kilogrammer, was felled by the score of 10-7.

Dake would take the future world and Olympic bronze medalist J'den Cox to the limit, winning one of the best two-out-of-three matches 5-3 but falling short in the series 2-1.

2017 Paris Grand Prix

Dake was with the sizable American contingent that trekked to Paris in early 2017. At the Grand Prix of Paris, Dake dispatched three-time NCAA champ Alex Dieringer for the first time, 10-0. Dake beat another NCAA champ, Matt Brown, by the same score at that tournament.

2017 U.S. Open

With Burroughs no longer sitting in the team trials finals, Dake jumped into the U.S. Open to try to earn the spot. He bested Dieringer, this time 3-0; however, Dake was foiled in the finals by Burroughs once more.

2017 World Team Trials

Another team trials brought another victory over Dieringer for Dake. Dieringer continued to close the gap with Dake but lost 2-1 nonetheless. Earlier in the tournament, Dake dispatched two-time NCAA champ and four-time finalist Isaiah Martinez of Illinois to the tune of 9-2.

Then it was another showdown with Burroughs. Dake managed to win the first bout in the best two-out-of-three wrestle-off, but Burroughs would come storming back and make seventh straight world team.


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2018 World Cup

Dake was part of the World Cup-winning American squad that took home the top prize in Iowa City. At that event, Dake beat two world medalists, Sosuke Takatani of Japan, who won silver in 2014, and Jabrail Hasanov of Azerbaijan. Hasanov also took bronze at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, before moving up to silver in 2018.

2018 U.S. Open

Dake would qualify for Final X by dint of his U.S. Open title, which he won by beating Josh Asper 10-0 and Dieringer in a 5-5 thriller.

2018 Beat the Streets

The Titan Mercury star demolished the highly credentialed Cuban Livan Lopez Azcuy at Rumble on the River, the 2018 edition of the annual Beat the Streets event. Lopez has two world bronze medals, a world silver, and an Olympic bronze to his name, all in four consecutive years from 2011 to 2014.

2018 Final X

In the first year of Final X, Dake finally made a world team. At Final X: Stage College, he took two closer than expected matches against Zahid Valencia, by that time a three-time Junior world teamer, and two-time NCAA finalist. The Arizona State star was coming off a Junior world silver in 2017 and NCAA title just a few months prior. He would go on to win another national title this year and make his second straight national team.


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2018 World Championships

One of the most dominant performances we've ever seen at the world level. Dake did not give up a single point in four matches in Budapest, punctuated by the 13-0 shellacking he laid on Russia's Akhmed Gadzhimagomedov in the semis. The eventual world bronze had previously beaten Dake 8-2 in the Yarygin finals in January.

Alex Dieringer has already fallen victim to Dake four times, and that number could increase to as many as six at their special wrestle-off for the 79kg world team spot in Austin in two weeks.