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Dake knocks off Paulson, Taylor, Howe to earn shot at Burroughs in finals of U.S. World Team Trials
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Kyle Dake defeated Andrew Howe 4-2 in overtime to win the Challenge Tournament on Friday afternoon. Larry Slater photo.

STILLWATER, Okla. – The question came just minutes after Kyle Dake knocked off Trent Paulson, David Taylor and Andrew Howe to win the Challenge Tournament.

How do you beat the best wrestler in the World?

“I’m the best in the World,” Dake said.

Dake will receive a chance to prove that when he faces reigning World and Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs in the U.S. World Team Trials final-round series on Friday night at Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The fifth-seeded Dake turned in a phenomenal run in the Challenge Tournament on Friday by downing the No. 4 Paulson, No. 1 Taylor and No. 2 Howe in succession.

He looked strong in earning an 8-1 win over Paulson, a past World Team member, in the quarterfinals.

He scored the final three points, on a late reversal and takedown, to outlast 2012 Hodge Trophy winner Taylor 7-4 in the semifinals. Dake had edged Taylor 5-4 to win his fourth NCAA title in March.

Dake then pulled out a marathon win over Howe, who was second to Burroughs at the 2011 World Team Trials and 2012 Olympic Team Trials. The match went into overtime tied 2-2 before Dake gained two exposure points in a scramble to pull out a dramatic 4-2 win. The match lasted 11 minutes, 44 seconds, including 5:44 in overtime before the winning points were scored.

"We were both really, really sweaty, so it was tough to get anything going," Dake said. "Howe's a great competitor. You definitely need more conditioning with these new rules, but luckily for me I'm coming off a college season."

The finals are set for 6 p.m. Central Time in Stillwater.

Burroughs is a perfect 54-0 on the Senior level. He is in the final-round series by virtue of winning April’s U.S. Open. He will meet Dake for the first time. Dake was a U.S. training partner at the 2012 Olympics.

“I’ve been training to wrestle Jordan for a long time,” said Dake, the 2013 Hodge Trophy winner. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Champions at the Trials advance to September’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Past NCAA All-American Jimmy Kennedy landed a spot in the freestyle finals by winning the Challenge Tournament at 60 kg/132 lbs. He downed 2011 World Team member Nick Simmons to earn a spot in the best-of-3 finals against U.S. Open champion Reece Humphrey.

Two-time Oklahoma State NCAA champion Chris Pendleton won the Challenge Tournament at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. He will face past World Team member J.D. Bergman in the final-round series.

It will be a battle of Olympians in the Greco-Roman finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. when two-time World medalist Justin Lester meets two-time Junior World medalist Ellis Coleman.

Coleman made the Olympic Team last year at 60 kg/132 lbs. Lester downed top prospect Kendrick Sanders 2-1 in a hard-fought semifinal. Lester has made five U.S. World Teams.

Olympian Spenser Mango rolled into the Greco finals at 55 kg/121 lbs. where he will meet U.S. Army teammate Nate Engel. Mango has made the last three U.S. World Teams.

U.S. Open champions Jordan Holm (84 kg/185 lbs.) and David Arendt Jr. (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) also advanced to the Greco-Roman finals.

World champion Adeline Gray won the Challenge Tournament at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. She will face U.S. Open champion Brittney Roberts in the finals.

Past World Team member Whitney Conder won the Challenge Tournament at 55 kg/121 lbs. She will battle 2012 World silver medalist Helen Maroulis in the final-round series.

Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott suffered an injury in his first-round freestyle match with Brandon Wright and had to default at 60 kg/132 lbs.

This event has been named an official Olympic Day Event by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Day 2 of the World Team Trials is set for Saturday in Stillwater. Competition in men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

June 21-22, Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Okla.


Men’s freestyle

60 kg/132 lbs.
Reece Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio (New York AC) vs. Jimmy Kennedy (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) vs. Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Titan Mercury WC)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
J.D. Bergman, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC) vs. Chris Pendleton (Laramie, Wyo./Titan Mercury WC)

Women’s freestyle

55 kg/121 lbs.
Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids) vs. Whitney Conder (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Brittney Roberts (Santa Fe, Texas/Gator Women’s RTC) vs. Adeline Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)


55 kg/121 lbs.
Spenser Mango (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) vs. Nate Engel (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) vs. Justin Lester (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Jordan Holm (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) vs. Peter Hicks (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
David Arendt Jr., Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines) vs. Robbie Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)

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