DES MOINES – Many people Cornell’s Kyle Dake and Penn State’s David Taylor to waltz to the finals Saturday night.
Tournament organizers even altered the championship format so the marquee matchup would be the 165-pound final bout of the evening, almost making it a “main event” contest.
The duo’s performances have been ridiculous through Friday mornings NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships quarterfinal round at Wells Fargo Arena.
Top-seeded Dake handled Virginia’s No. 8 seed Nicholas Sulzer, 13-0. He did not surrender a single point in the tournament, outscoring his first three foes, 26-0, including two major decisions.
Not to be out-done, Taylor pinned his first three opponents, decking Illinois’ No. 7 seed Conrad Polz in 24 seconds in the quarterfinals. He spent a total of 5:58 on the mat before the semifinals. Taylor, a two-time NCAA finalist and defending 165-pound champion, lost a close decision to Dake earlier this season and once in an exhibition match.
Dake is attempting to become the third NCAA Division I wrestler to win four national titles. Dake, who has won at 141, 149 and 157 the last three seasons, moved up to 165, and could become the first to win four titles at four different weights. Last year he was the first to win in three divisions.
The finals are set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.
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