March 31, 2013

Dake Earns Hodge Trophy, Continues Piling Accolades

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After his history-making triumphs at the NCAA wrestling championship last weekend, senior Kyle Dake was awarded the 2013 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy.

This prestigious award is considered wrestling’s equivalent to collegiate football’s Heisman Trophy, and is given to the top wrestler in the nation each season.

The criteria for the award, according to WIN Magazine’s website, includes a wrestler’s record, number of pins, dominance on the mat, past credentials, quality of competition, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart. The winner is chosen by a committee of former Hodge Trophy winners, media and retired coaches. Dake received 41 of 43 first place votes from the committee and came out ahead of Penn State junior Ed Ruth, who is now a two-time NCAA champion.

“I was really excited when I got the telephone call,” Dake said. “It was the cherry on top of a perfect season. It is pretty awesome to be included in one of the most elite companies in wrestling.”

Dake ended his impressive final season with a victory over last season’s Hodge winner, Penn State junior David Taylor, in his fourth NCAA championship match. Dake and Taylor competed in the 165-pound weight class, and Dake took the match 5-4 on riding time. The win put Dake’s name down in history, making him the third wrestler to capture four NCAA titles and the first to do it in four different weight classes.

Dake is also the first Cornellian to receive the Hodge Trophy, which was first presented to North Carolina’s T.J. Jaworsky in 1995.

The four-time NCAA champion began his career with the Red at 141 pounds. He moved up a weight class each season. This year, Dake put up 18 pins in his 37-win season and was not scored on in his final four matches leading up to the NCAA finals.

Although Dake’s collegiate wrestling days may be done, his career is far from over. After graduation, Dake will move on to his freestyle career on the Senior level and hopes to earn a spot on the US wrestling team. The road will not be easy though, as Dake will likely have to face reigning Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs. Burroughs won the Hodge Trophy in 2011 for the University of Nebraska and received a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the 74 kiloweight class.

Dake will formally receive his award at the Cornell wrestling banquet on May 5.

Original Author: Ariel Cooper