photo courtesy of Jim Thrall; MatFocus.com
On Saturday from Round Rock High School outside of Austin, Texas, Kyle Dake and Alex Dieringer battled to determine our Senior world team representative for the 79 kg weight class. The series was initially supposed to be decided in early June at Final X Rutgers, but the recovery from an injury that has kept Dake out of action since the 2018 World Championships in October delayed the wrestle-off. The 2018 World Champion earned a place on his second world team when he reminded the country how he is perhaps the most difficult American to score on in his era. Dieringer came into the series red-hot having destroyed the competition at the US Open and World Team Trials and had defeated some of the world’s top wrestlers at the Yasar Dogu. That didn’t matter on Saturday as Dake completely shut down Dieringer, surrendering no takedowns in either of their two bouts. Dieringer himself did not allow a Dake to get a takedown. Kyle’s scoring came from step-out points and shot clock violations.
With Dieringer’s recent success and Dake’s recent history at the World Championships, most Americans viewed this as possible “gold medal match.” The winner would head to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan as a heavy favorite over the rest of the world. With Dake winning, he’ll be expected to win title number two. Last year, in Budapest, Hungary, Kyle claimed his world championships without giving up a point in any of his matches.
Dake’s addition to the world team now makes the Senior Freestyle squad nearly complete. Earlier this week, an independent arbitrator ruled in favor of Dake’s Cornell training mate Yianni Diakomiahlis after he appealed the process of his Final X loss to Zain Retherford. The two will need to complete their wrestle-off with Retherford up a match to none.