Lansing wrestler Kyle Dake faced a deficit for the first time at the Senior World Championships, but rebounded to capture his third title with a 7-3 victory over Tajmuraz Salkazanov of Slovakia on Sunday in Oslo, Norway.
“I’m just really happy to be able to go out and represent my country and do my best to represent the red, white and blue,” Dake told reporters after his victory.
Salkazanov and Dake exchanged step-outs in the first period before Salkazanov forced another step-out to take a 2-1 advantage in the second period.
A takedown with 1:23 left in the second period gave Dake a 3-2 advantage. Dake extended his lead to 7-2 with a takedown and gut wrench. Dake gave up a late step-out for the final 7-3 score.
This is Dake’s first world title in the 74-kilogram freestyle class after claiming 2018 and 2019 titles at 79 kg. He said that this time was a bit different than the first two.
“There was just a lot of adversity this time,” Dake said. “The first two times I was kind of the young buck coming up through. This time, I faced adversity in Tokyo, to be able to put that behind me feels really nice. I’m just excited to get back on top.”
Dake has now won a medal in all four Senior World or Olympic events he has entered.
Dake, 30, earned a shot at his third World Championship with three dominant victories Saturday. Dake posted an 11-0 technical fall against Vasile Diacon of Moldova, then he scored a 5-0 quarterfinal triumph against Fazli Eryilmaz of Turkey, and a 9-1 win against Azamat Nurykau of Belarus in the semifinals.
Dake, a four-time national champion at Cornell, is coming off a bronze medal this summer at the Tokyo Olympics.
Dake improved his overall freestyle record to 110–18 and finishes the year ranked No. 1 in the world. He also earned $10,000 for the finish.