Jordan Burroughs is the defending Olympic and World champion. Now he’ll have a chance to win another significant international crown after he captured the 74 kg class in the best-of-three championship series at the World Team Trials in Stillwater, Oklahoma over Cornell’s Kyle Dake.
Burroughs came out firing, taking a 2-0 lead just seconds into the first bout of the best-of-three championship series. Afterward, he continued to attack, notching a 7-0 technical fall in the opening stanza.
The second match was a different story as Dake made adjustments to push Burroughs to the limit in an electrifying contest. The former Nebraska star took an early 1-0 lead, but Dake bounced back with a three-point move and at the conclusion of the first period, it was 4-4. In the second, Dake took a 6-4 advantage with 1:50 remaining, but Burroughs responded with just under a minute to go to tie it up again at 6. In overtime, Burroughs ended things with a takedown to get the victory. (The final score was 9-6 after Dake lost the appeal of the winning TD).
To punch his ticket to the title series, Dake had a difficult path and a number of high quality victories. In the span of just a few hours, he defeated a former World Team member (Trent Paulson), the top seed in the Challenge bracket (David Taylor) and a very formidable freestyle wrestler (Andrew Howe). To put it in perspective, each of those three opponents is a three-time college All-American and an NCAA champion.
It all began against Paulson, the last wrestler to defeat Dake. The former Iowa State grappler topped the Cornell graduate at the US Olympic Trials in 2012 in a three-period contest, but this time, it wasn’t close. The Lansing native earned a technical fall with an 8-1 victory which he controlled throughout.
Next up was another familiar face – Taylor. In their only freestyle meeting, which was last spring, Dake won by fall. Then, during the 2012-13 collegiate campaign, Dake registered a trio of one-point victories, including at the NCAA tournament where Dake collected his fourth national crown. The location of the match was new on Friday, but the outcome was the same, as Dake came out on top 7-4 to earn a meeting with Howe.
The Sooner grappler jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Dake bounced back to tie things up at 2, sending the bout to overtime. It took nearly six minutes for the winning points to come about, but it was Dake that struck in the extra session, clinching a 4-2 triumph and first place in the Challenge Tournament.
That finish meant the opportunity to battle Burroughs in the best-of-three series.
Dake wasn’t the only New York entrant at 74 kg on Friday. Both Hofstra assistant Dan Vallimont and Staten Island native Kevin Hartnett competed in that bracket, each dropping a pair of bouts.
In Greco Roman, Dmitry Ryabchinsky began the competition with a 7-0 technical fall before dropping his second bout to top seeded Spenser Mango. The former PSAL grappler took fourth place at 55 kg.
Meanwhile, Mary Westman took the mat in women’s freestyle, but didn’t place at 72 kg.
Action resumes tomorrow at noon Eastern time with men’s freestyle (55, 66, 84 and 120 kg), Greco Roman (60, 74 and 96 kg) and women’s freestyle (48 and 63 kg).
For full results see here.