Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Cornell's Kyle Dake became the first college wrestler ever to win a national title four years in a row, at four different weight classes this year. His teammates know that is no fluke.
"He lives like he's going to win and that's the thing that sets him apart from everybody else," said freshman Nahson Garrett.
Dake stands alone in the NCAA record books. The 165 pound senior completed his career with a 133-4 career record, and four national titles. Something only two other wrestlers have ever done. But he stands above those other two because his four titles came at four different weight classes.
"It is incredibly hard to accomplish that and I'm super fortunate to have done that," said Dake. "And on top of the fact I came in as a true freshman and I didn't have time to grow up. I had to grow up really really fast and I hit the ground running and that was probably one of the keys to my success."
The biggest thing for Dake to overcome was adapting to a different style at each weight class. What motivated him most was the fact that nobody thought he could do it.
"My freshman year I was a greenhorn," Dake said. "I had to go and prove myself. The next year, people said it was a fluke and I went into the national tournament as a fourth seed and had to prove myself again and then the third year, it was alright, he's a two time champ, can he do it three times? The first two, maybe, lets see if he can do it a third. This year was kind of like putting a stamp on my legacy."
Not only did he win his fourth title, he did it by beating the reigning wrestler of the year, and a friend he grew up competing with.
"It wasn't like I was going out to wrestle one of my actual teammates. If it was like that, it probably would have been heartbreaking. But since it was Cornell v Penn State, I wasn't too worried about it."
Dake has been a part of the wrestling tradition at Cornell, long before he put on the red and white singlet. He was in the arena as a fan when the building opened up about 10 years ago. Now, with his name in the rafters, he will be the benchmark of not only Big Red wrestling, but every college wrestler for years to come.