IOWA CITY, Ia. — Kyle Dake brought all of the fireworks to the UWW Freestyle World Cup on Saturday.
Dake, the 79-kilogram (roughly 174 pounds) starter for the United States, went 2-0 on Saturday, securing wins over India's Sachin Giri and Japan's Sohsuke Takatini. He outscored both of his opponents a combined 21-0.
That's pretty good just written out like that, but Dake, a four-time NCAA Champion from Cornell, decided to show off his explosiveness in the process. Between his two matches, Dake had a handful of high-amplitude scoring sequences that led to lots of points and even more ooh's and ahh's from the Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd.
"Dake is an exciting wrestler," said Bill Zadick, the United States' National Freestyle Coach. "He's a smart kid. I love working with him. He does a great job. His coaches do a great job. He just keeps learning.
"He's hungry. He wants to be exciting."
Against Giri, Dake went in for a low single, came up to a knee and eventually his feet and carried Giri to near the edge of the mat and planted him in danger — which is to say, on his back. The officials awarded him five points.
Check it out here:
Dake, with great awareness, kept his hands locked around Giri's legs and kept wrestling his way to a two-point leglace to go up 7-0 in a blink. Another takedown and a turn led to an 11-0 technical fall in just 37 seconds.
In his second match of the day, Dake brought the fireworks out again. Up 1-0 in the second period, Dake countered Takatini's shot with heavy hips and strong balance. He locked his hands around Takatini's waist, picked him up and launched him over for a four-point throw.
It gets better: Dake held onto that same lock when Takatini got his feet under him and began driving Dake toward the edge — where Dake planted his feet and launched Takatini again for four more points.
Check both of those out here:
Japan's corner challenged that last throw, arguing that Dake had stepped out before initiating the move. The call was upheld, and because of the failed challenge, Dake received an extra point, giving him a 10-0 technical fall.
"I knew that if he got in on a bad shot, I would be in a good place," Dake said afterward. "I was holding center, wrestling really well and capitalized on an opportunity. I knew his feet were coming up right away, and all of a sudden, I was, like, 'OK, I got him. Let's go.'
"He kept pushing, so, 'Let's go again.' "
Dake's victory tied the United States with Japan at 3-3. It was also the first of five technical falls that lifted Team USA to a 7-3 win. The Americans went 2-0 on Saturday, and will wrestle Georgia on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
After the United States' win over Japan, Dake took to Twitter to quickly assess his day:
It was fun for us, too, Kyle.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.