Last night, in my capacity as a staff writer for the amateur wrestling website, Intermat, I had the pleasure of attending the NWCA All-Star classic at American University.This is an annual wrestling dual meet where some of the nation's best division one wrestlers come together to wrestle exhibition matches to kick off the college wrestling season.
There were ten enthralling matches in the main dual, but one, in particular, demanded the attention of the wrestling public. At 165 pounds, the wrestling match of the century was taking place between David Taylor and Kyle Dake. Penn State's David Taylor's only career loss came by shocking pin to Bubba Jenkins in the 2011 national finals, and is the current possessor of the Heisman of college wrestling, the Hodge Trophy. Kyle Dake of Cornell is the only wrestler to win three national championships in three different weight classes, and looks poised to make it four. This is a true "planets aligning" situation as generational talents, such as these two, rarely lock horns as collegians. The eyes of the wrestling world were justly fixated on the mat in our nation's capital.
I find it interesting to note that the MMA community is beginning to embrace wrestling at a much faster rate than wrestling is embracing MMA. Two reporters from major MMA websites were present to cover this event, yet in the event itself, there were no attempts to celebrate wrestling's fortuitous ties to mixed martial arts, ties which can result in wrestling's exposure to a much wider audience.
As for the MMA prospects of the participating wrestlers, it is difficult to make predictions. It is certainly likely that one or two of the participants will end up in an MMA career, but from the perspective of someone who covers this sport, it is still rather uncomfortable to approach an active college wrestler with his coaches nearby and ask him if he has designs on a career as a prize fighter. As of right now, I am not sure what to make of this, but I can say that the competitors in the main event, Taylor and Dake, will be competing for Olympic wrestling spots for years to come, and that there is almost no chance, in my opinion, that either one will pursue the MMA option. Though it would certainly be a lot cooler if they did.
For those who are interested, I provided a summary of the event for Intermat which procedes as follows
WASHINGTON D.C. -- On Saturday night, in the NWCA All-Star Classic's main event at 165 pounds, and before a packed Washington D.C. crowd alive with anticipation, Cornell's Kyle Dake managed to do something that no one else has been able to do in a college wrestling match. When Dake won by virtue of a ride out in double overtime, he became the first college wrestler to defeat David Taylor in a match that went the full distance.
For the last two wrestling seasons Taylor has unleashed an impressive array of offensive weapons against his opponents, and Dake was able to nullify all of them. Dake was never threatened by Taylor's lavish top skills, and he was able to fight off each of Taylor's most threatening takedown attempts. In fact, it almost appeared, at times, that Kyle Dake had the reigning Hodge Trophy winner looking tentative and unsure of himself...
To read the rest, visit Intermat here.