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Dake tops Taylor at sold-out NWCA All-Star Classic at American University with top college stars on display

Kyle Dake of Cornell tosses David Taylor of Penn State at the 165-pound showdown during the NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington, D.C. Tony Rotundo - Wrestlers Are Warriors photo

WASHINGTON D.C. – With 19 Division I All-Americans, three NCAA Champions, and a billed “Match-Up of the Year” in the field, it would have been easy for the All-Star Classic to not live up to its hype. However, the sport of wrestling took a step forward Saturday night as the atmosphere in Bender Arena was electric and the match-ups left fans with a memorable experience.

In the marquee match-up that wrestling fans have long been waiting for, three-time NCAA Champion Kyle Dake of Cornell University and NCAA Champion and Hodge Award winner David Taylor of Penn State University squared off at 165 pounds in front of a sold out crowd of 3,376 fans.

After exchanging escapes in the first and second rounds, the two wrestlers went into overtime and had an exciting scramble before moving into the tie-breaker period. Dake rode Taylor out in the first tie-breaker period and then escaped in the second period for the 2-1 victory.

“I like to think I am the best scrambler in the country,” said Dake. “In the overtime, I was confident I could escape after I rode out Taylor.”

There were several other matches that provided fans with excitement throughout the night. In a tightly contested match-up at 125 pounds, Nico Megaludis of Penn State University scored a late takedown against Jesse Delgado of the University of Illinois to win 4-3. Following the match, Megaludis talked about the excitement of wrestling in his first All-Star Classic.

“As soon as I got the invite, I didn’t even have to think about it. I just accepted. You always learn the most in your first match of the season,” said Megaludis.

At the 133-pound weight class, Aaron Schopp of Edinboro University held off a late takedown by Chris Dardanes of the University of Minnesota to win 2-1.

“Any win is a good win, but I would have liked to score more,” said Schopp.

In battle of two three-time All-Star Classic participants, Josh Asper of Maryland and Jordan Blanton of Illinois matched up in the 174-pound weight class. The local fan favorite Asper scored a takedown in overtime to win 3-1 over Blanton.

“It was an awesome crowd. It is great to be around the corner from Maryland with all of our fans,” said Asper. “It felt great to get my first win at 174.”

At 197 pounds, fans were treated to an exciting match between former 2011 NCAA Champion Quentin Wright of Penn State and All-American Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh. After exchanging the lead multiple times, Wilps took Wright to his back for the fall in the last 10 seconds of the match.

In the local feature matches that kicked off the event, there were several wrestlers that shined in front of the sold out crowd. Kevin Tao of American University put on a show for the local audience in a 12-4 major decision victory over Division III National Champion Kodie Silvestri of Wartburg College.

"He was the first wrestler in American Wrestling history to wrestle in front of a sold out crowd,” said American University head coach Teague Moore. “He felt a lot of pressure because he knew so many people in attendance, but he switched it on and had a great match.”

The individual results for the NWCA Classic were the following:

125 – #2 Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. #3 Jesse Delgado (Illinois); 4-3
133 – #6 Aaron (A.J.) Schopp (Edinboro) dec. #4 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota); 2-1
141 – #2 Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) dec. #5 B.J. Futrell (Illinois); 6-2
149 – #2 Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) dec.#7 Nick Lester (Oklahoma); 6-3
157 – #2 Dylan Alton (Penn State) dec. #3 Jason Welch (Northwestern); 3-2
165 – #2 Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. #1 David Taylor (Penn State); TB 2-1
174 – #4 Josh Asper (Maryland) dec. #2 Jordan Blanton (Illinois); 3-1 OT
184 – #4 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. #3 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota); 5-3
197 – #3 Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh) pin #2 Quentin Wright (Penn State), 6:50
285 – #2 Dom Bradley (Missouri) dec. #5 Mike McMullan (Northwestern); 3-2

Feature Match-Ups

Youth – Sam Kalishman (Pointers Run Elementary) fall Gene Quodala (Frederick Douglass Elementary); 5:22
133 – Travis Barroquillo (Indiana Institute of Technology) dec. Sam Shames (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); 8-2
149 – Kevin Tao (American) MD Kodie Silvestri (Wartburg); 12-4
285 – Matt Meuleners (Northern State) TF Jake Kettler (George Mason); 17-1

With the All-Star Classic serving as a successful signature “kick-off” event for college wrestling, the NWCA now looks to capitalize on the momentum by promoting other key upcoming marquee events.

“The All-Star event was truly an electric event,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “We hope that this will serve as a catalyst to building the sport from a spectator standpoint. We are excited to make our National Duals a major success as well.”

For more wrap-up information on the event, visit the NWCA website and follow the NWCA Facebook and Twitter pages.

The NWCA Classic served as a premier event to help grow the sport of wrestling. Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the sport in the Washington DC area.

About the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a non-profit organization for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on developing coaches who work in academic environments. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling. The three core competencies of the NWCA are: coaching development, student-athlete welfare, and promotion of wrestling.

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