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Frank_Rizzo

Cael > Dake - just the facts

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One can certainly argue that Dake's feat is equal if not more impressive than Cael's.

 

Cael was undefeated. That ends it right there.

 

Also, and this is NOT stated to diminish what Dake did, but just to state a fact that rarely gets brought up (one guy did mention it in this thread), but if there is a top end dominating senior in your weight class then you are not going to win the championship your freshman year.

 

Dake beat the Big10 runner up in the semifinals that freshman year, then got a sophomore Montel Marion in the final. Had he been facing Gallick, J Jaggers, Teyon Ware, or Kellen Russell when those guys were seniors or even juniors, he probably doesn't beat them as a true freshman. So his winning that title as a freshman involved him being very good, but also being lucky in not having to face a dominating upperclassman.

 

The whole changing weight thing is overblown. Dake was never undersized.

 

No that doesn't end it right there because Cael had a year to improve during his REDSHIRT year that Dake did not take and he LOST during that year. We will never know how many more times he would have lost facing the best the country had to offer that year because he spent an entire collegiate year improving before he stepped into the varsity line up. What is so difficult about that to understand? Not to mention during Dake's freshman year he did have a dominating senior named Reece Humphrey who was the defending runner up from the year prior (lost to Gomez) and went on to be a world team member. He was a dominating upperclassman.

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Look, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Dake, but Cael was still on another level in college. Some of the guys he laid waste to for those of you who say Dake faced better competition:

 

Brandon Eggum (multiple times) - World silver medalist

 

Brad Vering (multiple times) - national champ, World silver medalist, 2x Olympian

 

Andy Hrovat (multiple times) - Olympian

 

Daniel Cormier (multiple times) - Olympian, World bronze medalist

 

Justin Ruiz - World bronze medalist, 6x World team member

 

Mark Munoz (multiple times) - national champ

 

Damian Hahn - 2x national champ

 

Rob Rohn - national champ

 

I'm not even going to bother to list other monsters of the sport like Jon Trenge and other multiple-time all-americans who Cael regularly majored, teched, or pinned because it would take too long.

 

Cael also made the 2001 World team while still in college. Dake is one of the best ever, but Cael was even better in college. Just a fact.

 

 

I think this list involves a bit of creative accounting. I don't think it's valid to incorporate freestyle and greco results. (Do Vering's subsequent Greco-Roman results really factor into folkstyle results while in college?). At the very least this is very premature. Let's see how Dake's competitors do internationally first.

 

Also, when you list national champions that Cael defeated, it gets a bit questionable. Take Hahn. He was 5th at 184 in 2001 and 5th again at 184 in 2002 when Cael had moved up to 197. No doubt a quality wrestler at that time but beating him in 2001 and 2002 wasn't incredibly notable. In 2003 and 2004 he went on to be national champion at 197, but that's after the fact. It doesn't seem equivalent to beating a Molinaro or St. John in the finals and then their coming back the next year and winning it all.

The same point can be made about Vering. In 1999 he was 4th at 184 and was majored by Jones 14-2. In 2000 he won at 197 while Cael was at 184. In 2001 he ended up 7th at 197. He eventually became a national champion but in 1999 he was 4th best at his weight.

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No that doesn't end it right there because Cael had a year to improve during his REDSHIRT year that Dake did not take and he LOST during that year. We will never know how many more times he would have lost facing the best the country had to offer that year because he spent an entire collegiate year improving before he stepped into the varsity line up. What is so difficult about that to understand? Not to mention during Dake's freshman year he did have a dominating senior named Reece Humphrey who was the defending runner up from the year prior (lost to Gomez) and went on to be a world team member. He was a dominating upperclassman.

 

So it was the extra year that made Cael great?

 

Cael was still unbeaten. To me, this separates him from all others. The guy never lost. Dake lost four times. FWIW, I still have Dake right there with Smith at #2 not counting the older guys that I never saw.

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i don't feel too strongly in this argument, but am on the side of cael being better. they both have unique accomplishments. i value cael's over dake's. taylor as a folkstyler is better by a large margin than anyone cael beat or were in his brackets. after that it is hard to put dake's competition ahead of cael's. caldwell would have been a huge threat in philly and he got hurt. there has been a lot of debate about final opponents, but no mention of other guys in the weight class that didn't make the finals. here is a list of guys in the brackets for each of them. you can make your own assessment. remember to account for age of the competitors against cael and dake. humphrey is the big argument for dake's freshman year and i hate when people over exaggerate how good hump was at 141. his accomplishments in college were at 133 and he felt 141 was his better shot at the title. ness, dennis, and gomez were at 133 that year and it was a good move for hump to go 141. he did wrestle 132 about a month after ncaa's.

 

cael:

1999: hrovat, jones, munoz, vering, eggum

2000: hrovat, rohn, eggum, cormier, jones

2001: cormier, hahn, hrovat, lambrecht

2002: trenge, ruiz, barker

 

i kept it to the guys who had the most success at some point in their career, not the highest placing finishers that year. all the guys listed made an ncaa final or world team. 1 olympic greco team member, 2 fs olympic team members, 2 fs world medalists, 2 greco world medalists, 3 ncaa champions with 4 titles.

 

dake:

2010: marion, humphrey

2011: molinaro, caldwell, chamberlain

2012: st john, welch

2013: taylor, caldwell

 

keep in mind dake's opponents have a few years left to make the finals and make world teams. the weight changes internationally change the scenario a little with eggum medaling under the old weights. i can't think of any what ifs for sanderson, but two for dake. what if kellen russell doesn't red shirt in 2010 and what if caldwell doesn't get hurt in 2011.

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Does Dake beat a healthy Darrian Caldwell, the # 1seed at 149 when Dake won that weight class. Caldwell won his first match, but had to default after a shoulder injury against Grajales. This is the same Caldwell that manhandled Brent Metcalf a year earlier.

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Does Dake beat a healthy Darrian Caldwell, the # 1seed at 149 when Dake won that weight class. Caldwell won his first match, but had to default after a shoulder injury against Grajales. This is the same Caldwell that manhandled Brent Metcalf a year earlier.

 

he beat metcalf in 2009. was planned to redshirt and had the labrum tear in 2009.

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No love for Uetake? Makes me feel old for bringing him into the mix.

 

Dake, Cael, John and Pat Smith, all incredible wrestlers. I've had the distinct pleasure of seeing all of the aforementioned wrestle at the NCAAs.

 

Uetake was a 3x NCAA champion (when freshmen weren't eligible), 2x outstanding wrestler of NCAA Chamionships, and undefeated in college. 2x Olympic champion as well.

 

As Bum Phillips once said of Earl Campbell, "I don't know if he is in a class by himself, but it doesn't take long to call the roll."

 

If you are one of the handful of elite college wrestlers to be included in this discussion, that is quite a distinction in and of itself.

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Here's one point that I seldom hear made in the discussion of Cael's redshirt year loss, and whether that should be thought of as a loss when considering his overall record/legacy. Redshirt seasons are basically thought of as completely for experience, with an entirely different intensity level than in-season competition. Now here's what is key to focus on- in Cael's case, remember that a few short before he lost to Paul Jenn, he wrestled at Fargo at 165 lbs., i.e. 19 lbs. lighter than he wrestled Jenn at. Point being, he wasn't even a legitimate 184 yet at this point. Clearly, if he wrestled 165 in Fargo that summer, the safe assumption is that had he been competing collegiately, his weight class would be 174 (technically it was called 167, btw, but we were given a seven lb. weight allowance that year following the weight-cutting deaths of three wrestlers, they gave seven lbs. and changed the weigh-in from 24 hours before competition to one hour before in exchange for that weight allowance).

 

So for some the question might be, could Cael have won as a true frosh as Dake did at this weight? I think the answer to that is a resounding "no" as the top four upperclassmen were one of the toughest groups ever- Joe Williams, Brandon Slay, Jeff Catrabone, and Mark Smith. Williams and Slay's credentials need no introduction for the fans, but Catrabone and Smith were almost as good (in fact Smith had beaten Slay during the season and taken Williams into overtime). So I don't know that Cael as a true frosh would have quite been there yet.

 

However, that doesn't lead me to conclude that Dake was better because he did win as a true frosh. Dake's freshman weight was "ok", Reece Humphrey (in folkstyle) and a sophomore Montell Marion don't compare to Joe Williams or Brandon Slay.

 

I think argument of who faced the better competition now has to go to Dake. Cormier and Eggum were studs as evidenced by their freestyle credentials, but no way, no how do they compare to David Taylor in folkstyle wrestling as college wrestlers, regardless of what they went on to accomplish. Anyone who thinks that they did is just insane. Eggum and Cormier were guys that got picked off by other good wrestlers at their weights from time to time (Cormier didn't even place at NCAA's as a junior, for god sake), whereas Taylor, you know, in nine NCAA matches leading up to the finals he didn't go the distance. No comparison, especially with Eggum, whose silver medal at worlds bore zero resemblance to what we saw from him the rest of his career, it was just out of nowhere.

 

On the other hand, those who want to point to four NCAA losses by Dake are missing the point about who Kyle Dake is. If the prior 14 NCAA matches leading to his final with Taylor, Kyle Dake allowed two escapes. Think about that, in 3 years of NCAA Wrestling tournament matches, his opponents managed just two measly escapes. That is a record of dominance that can be put up against anyone's. Even Cael allowed at least that one takedown to Cormier his junior year. Sanderson used to light up the scoreboard in a way that Dake does not, but so does DT (maybe even moreso than Cael did) and it didn't help him beat Kyle Dake. I don't care if Dake got was TECHED in the an early season tournament- the Kyle Dake that shows up to THE SHOW, that guy, nobody has scored on in three years except Taylor. Had Vinson or Levalley made it far enough to face Dake at NCAA's when Dake was a sophomore, he would have handled them just like he did Frank Molinaro in the finals that year.

 

As an Ohio guy that was pulling for David Taylor to the bitter end, I've got to say that you have to give Dake his props. Watching their finals match, it was almost inconceivable to me how anyone could beat this guy in a folkstyle wrestling match. He's impossible to ride, and one of the best ever riders himself. So right there, he's up 2-0 in any match because he's going to get away and he's going to get a riding point. So you need to take him down two more times than he takes you down just to go to overtime (considering he's going to escape after you take him down). And, oh yeah, he's one of the toughest guys ever to take down, go good luck with that. What really spoke volumes for me though was how when he was trailing late in the first, and clearly didn't want to go into the up and down periods at a disadvantage, he needed a takedown and he did something we don't see from him that often in big matches- he took exactly one good shot, and finished the takedown, like he could have done it whenever he needed to.

 

You really can't overstate what an achievement beating David Taylor three straight times is. I know this will be a controversial opinion, but if it's Kyle Dake vs. Jordan Burroughs in a folkstyle wrestling match as seniors at 165, I've got Kyle Dake. Certainly not in freestyle, but in folkstyle, Dake is just such an uber-master of match management, and match strategy, I don't see him losing.

 

So who is the best, Cael or Dake? For me, it's an impossible question to answer because the one thing is, we never saw Cael tested by an opponent like Taylor, where he'd have to have nerves of steel to pull the match out in the clutch the way we've seen Dake do three straight times. As stated, the losses of Dake have no bearing for me in the equation because he's a completely different guy when it counts. Dominance is a "wash" because while Cael lit people up, Dake's dominance is of a completely different nature, i.e. nobody scores on him, ever (again, 14 match NCAA streak while allowing just two escapes).

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One can certainly argue that Dake's feat is equal if not more impressive than Cael's.

 

Cael's ultimate claim to fame is an undefeated record. However, as all know, he was not undefeated in college. He was beaten by the late Paul Jenn 6-4 as a true freshman.

 

Therefore, the following are things Cael never did.

 

- Dake as a true freshman won an NCAA title.

- Dake won 4 titles at 4 different weights in 4 straight years.

- Dake moved up to face and defeat the most dominant college wrestler.

 

It's actually hard to compare the two because of their unique strengths.

 

It amazes me that someone new always jumps in so late and repeats the thing that has been being discussed for 3 pages already...regardless of how many losses Cael had as a RS - he still went 4 years without a loss in NCAA competition. (Not to mention he destroyed Jenn 3 times after that loss)

 

Here are a few thing Dake never did.

 

-Cael went 4 years of NCAA D1 competition without a lose

-Cael won the OW at NCAAs 4 times, and the Hodge Trophy 3 times.

-Cael didn't move up to face and defeat the most dominant college wrestler - he was the most dominant college wrestler.

 

2nd that

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I know this will be a controversial opinion, but if it's Kyle Dake vs. Jordan Burroughs in a folkstyle wrestling match as seniors at 165, I've got Kyle Dake. Certainly not in freestyle, but in folkstyle, Dake is just such an uber-master of match management, and match strategy, I don't see him losing.

 

Perhaps you missed it a few times, but just a couple months, maybe not even a couple, after JB graduated college, he and Dake wrestled. He took Dake down at will, multiple times. This is basically the same Senior Jordan Burroughs that we all know. A takedown is a takedown.

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I know this will be a controversial opinion, but if it's Kyle Dake vs. Jordan Burroughs in a folkstyle wrestling match as seniors at 165, I've got Kyle Dake. Certainly not in freestyle, but in folkstyle, Dake is just such an uber-master of match management, and match strategy, I don't see him losing.

 

Perhaps you missed it a few times, but just a couple months, maybe not even a couple, after JB graduated college, he and Dake wrestled. He took Dake down at will, multiple times. This is basically the same Senior Jordan Burroughs that we all know. A takedown is a takedown.

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You mean when Dake was a 149 sophomore. I too would take Dake over JB in folk style their respective senior years.

 

Start a thread with this. I'd be curious to see what most think. I'm going with JB for the simple fact that it happened just a short time after JB graduated. Dake was still the animal he is now. NOBODY in the world, the WORLD, can stop JB's double.

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Here's one point that I seldom hear made in the discussion of Cael's redshirt year loss, and whether that should be thought of as a loss when considering his overall record/legacy. Redshirt seasons are basically thought of as completely for experience, with an entirely different intensity level than in-season competition. Now here's what is key to focus on- in Cael's case, remember that a few short before he lost to Paul Jenn, he wrestled at Fargo at 165 lbs., i.e. 19 lbs. lighter than he wrestled Jenn at. Point being, he wasn't even a legitimate 184 yet at this point. Clearly, if he wrestled 165 in Fargo that summer, the safe assumption is that had he been competing collegiately, his weight class would be 174 (technically it was called 167, btw, but we were given a seven lb. weight allowance that year following the weight-cutting deaths of three wrestlers, they gave seven lbs. and changed the weigh-in from 24 hours before competition to one hour before in exchange for that weight allowance).

 

So for some the question might be, could Cael have won as a true frosh as Dake did at this weight? I think the answer to that is a resounding "no" as the top four upperclassmen were one of the toughest groups ever- Joe Williams, Brandon Slay, Jeff Catrabone, and Mark Smith. Williams and Slay's credentials need no introduction for the fans, but Catrabone and Smith were almost as good (in fact Smith had beaten Slay during the season and taken Williams into overtime). So I don't know that Cael as a true frosh would have quite been there yet.

 

However, that doesn't lead me to conclude that Dake was better because he did win as a true frosh. Dake's freshman weight was "ok", Reece Humphrey (in folkstyle) and a sophomore Montell Marion don't compare to Joe Williams or Brandon Slay.

 

I think argument of who faced the better competition now has to go to Dake. Cormier and Eggum were studs as evidenced by their freestyle credentials, but no way, no how do they compare to David Taylor in folkstyle wrestling as college wrestlers, regardless of what they went on to accomplish. Anyone who thinks that they did is just insane. Eggum and Cormier were guys that got picked off by other good wrestlers at their weights from time to time (Cormier didn't even place at NCAA's as a junior, for god sake), whereas Taylor, you know, in nine NCAA matches leading up to the finals he didn't go the distance. No comparison, especially with Eggum, whose silver medal at worlds bore zero resemblance to what we saw from him the rest of his career, it was just out of nowhere.

 

On the other hand, those who want to point to four NCAA losses by Dake are missing the point about who Kyle Dake is. If the prior 14 NCAA matches leading to his final with Taylor, Kyle Dake allowed two escapes. Think about that, in 3 years of NCAA Wrestling tournament matches, his opponents managed just two measly escapes. That is a record of dominance that can be put up against anyone's. Even Cael allowed at least that one takedown to Cormier his junior year. Sanderson used to light up the scoreboard in a way that Dake does not, but so does DT (maybe even moreso than Cael did) and it didn't help him beat Kyle Dake. I don't care if Dake got was TECHED in the an early season tournament- the Kyle Dake that shows up to THE SHOW, that guy, nobody has scored on in three years except Taylor. Had Vinson or Levalley made it far enough to face Dake at NCAA's when Dake was a sophomore, he would have handled them just like he did Frank Molinaro in the finals that year.

 

As an Ohio guy that was pulling for David Taylor to the bitter end, I've got to say that you have to give Dake his props. Watching their finals match, it was almost inconceivable to me how anyone could beat this guy in a folkstyle wrestling match. He's impossible to ride, and one of the best ever riders himself. So right there, he's up 2-0 in any match because he's going to get away and he's going to get a riding point. So you need to take him down two more times than he takes you down just to go to overtime (considering he's going to escape after you take him down). And, oh yeah, he's one of the toughest guys ever to take down, go good luck with that. What really spoke volumes for me though was how when he was trailing late in the first, and clearly didn't want to go into the up and down periods at a disadvantage, he needed a takedown and he did something we don't see from him that often in big matches- he took exactly one good shot, and finished the takedown, like he could have done it whenever he needed to.

 

You really can't overstate what an achievement beating David Taylor three straight times is. I know this will be a controversial opinion, but if it's Kyle Dake vs. Jordan Burroughs in a folkstyle wrestling match as seniors at 165, I've got Kyle Dake. Certainly not in freestyle, but in folkstyle, Dake is just such an uber-master of match management, and match strategy, I don't see him losing.

 

So who is the best, Cael or Dake? For me, it's an impossible question to answer because the one thing is, we never saw Cael tested by an opponent like Taylor, where he'd have to have nerves of steel to pull the match out in the clutch the way we've seen Dake do three straight times. As stated, the losses of Dake have no bearing for me in the equation because he's a completely different guy when it counts. Dominance is a "wash" because while Cael lit people up, Dake's dominance is of a completely different nature, i.e. nobody scores on him, ever (again, 14 match NCAA streak while allowing just two escapes).

That's a great post.

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Dake was not as good 2 years ago as he is now. Not even close. As many have pointed out, Dake lost 2 matches that season. He certainly wasn't anywhere near as big as he is now.

 

Dake struggles taking down some good competition in College. What in the world makes you think that Jordan Burroughs who is the best in the world (was out of HS as well), would not blast Dake with that double? Honestly?

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One can certainly argue that Dake's feat is equal if not more impressive than Cael's.

 

Cael's ultimate claim to fame is an undefeated record. However, as all know, he was not undefeated in college. He was beaten by the late Paul Jenn 6-4 as a true freshman.

 

Therefore, the following are things Cael never did.

 

- Dake as a true freshman won an NCAA title.

- Dake won 4 titles at 4 different weights in 4 straight years.

- Dake moved up to face and defeat the most dominant college wrestler.

 

It's actually hard to compare the two because of their unique strengths.

 

It amazes me that someone new always jumps in so late and repeats the thing that has been being discussed for 3 pages already...regardless of how many losses Cael had as a RS - he still went 4 years without a loss in NCAA competition. (Not to mention he destroyed Jenn 3 times after that loss)

 

Here are a few thing Dake never did.

 

-Cael went 4 years of NCAA D1 competition without a lose

-Cael won the OW at NCAAs 4 times, and the Hodge Trophy 3 times.

-Cael didn't move up to face and defeat the most dominant college wrestler - he was the most dominant college wrestler.

It amazes me that someone old to the thread jumps in again so late and repeats the thing that has been discussed for 3 pages already. ;)

 

Your last point is the weakest to me. It only points out that Sanderson never defeated anyone even similar to himself. If he would have wrestled his true freshman year he would have been beaten soundly by Joe Williams or Brandon Slay. I have no doubts of that. Dake facing and impressively beating the amazing Taylor, to all our awe, is something Cael never had the opportunity to do, and therefore we will never know if he would have done so given similar circumstances. That edge goes to Dake.

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I hate to post just to chime in, but indeed, Ohio_Wrestling_Admin's post was not only great, but the best Dake-related post I've ever read. I just saved it.

 

I think the keys to the post are Dake's ability to beat Taylor three times in one season and again in freestyle, all in one year, and the great analysis of Dake's strengths in the NCAA finals. Really good stuff.

 

Had Dake decided to stay at his optimal weight, 157, Taylor might've ended the year pinning his way to both his second national title and Hodge in a row. Howe or no Howe, I like Taylor to win next year at either 165 or 174 and I believe he'll do it in dominating fashion again. Taylor might've ended his career ahead of team mate Ed Ruth, who is often discussed on these boards as the best college wrestler in the country (no, sorry, that wrestler is Kyle Dake). Think about that for a minute.

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Your last point is the weakest to me. It only points out that Sanderson never defeated anyone even similar to himself.

 

It points out that Cael was the most dominant EACH and EVERY year. You can't wrestle yourself. No one was even close to him, not sure how that is a knock. Makes absolutely no sense at all.

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