In his last match wearing the traditional blue-and-white singlet, David Taylor won the 165-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City Saturday night.
The top-seeded Taylor, a graduate student who is completing his fourth season of collegiate competition, shut out No. 2 seed Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State, 6-0, in their title bout which was given “main event” treatment by being the last match wrestled in the finals.
Taylor and Caldwell had wrestled each other three times in college, with the Nittany Lion coming out on top all three times.
It is the second NCAA championship for Taylor, who is only the fifteenth wrestler to have made it to the NCAA finals four times in his college career. The four-time Ohio high school state champ won the 157-pound title at the 2012 NCAAs… but was pinned by Arizona State’s Bubba Jenkins (a former Nittany Lion teammate) in the 2011 NCAA 157 finals, and was edged by Cornell’s Kyle Dake, 5-4, in the 165 finals last year.
In addition to winning the 165 crown, Taylor also won the award for college wrestling’s most dominant wrestler for the season and, just to cap off a career, was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the 2014 NCAAs.
Both Taylor and Caldwell concluded their collegiate careers by becoming four-time All-Americans at the 2014 NCAAs.
How Taylor (34-0 record this season) got to the finals: Rd. 1: Pinned unseeded Joseph Brewster (South Dakota State), 2:59; Rd. 2: pinned No. 16 Jim Wilson (Stanford), 6:55; Qtrfinals: pinned No. 8 Michael Moreno (Iowa State), 3:19; Semifinals: maj. dec. No. 4 Steven Mock (North Dakota State), 13-5.
How Caldwell (28-4 this season) got to the finals: Rd. 1: pinned unseeded Curtis Cook (Utah Valley), 3:36; Rd. 2: dec. No. 15 Danny Zilverberg (Minnesota), 9-2; Qtrfinals: maj. dec. No. 7 Pierce Harger (Northwestern), 14-2; Semifinals: dec. No. 3 Nick Sulzer (Virginia), 5-0.
- 1st Period: Taylor scores a takedown, and accumulates over two minutes of riding time. Period ends 2-0 Taylor.
- 2nd Period: Taylor takes down, escapes within 20 seconds. Later in the period, the Penn Stater scores his second takedown, making the score 5-0 Taylor.
- 3rd Period: The two wrestlers start the third stanza in the neutral position. No scoring. With riding time, Taylor wins, 6-0, to win his second national title.
Quotes from the champ:
- On winning this title: “That’s just the stuff I dreamt about when I was a kid. Kind of sums it up tonight. Just having the opportunity to go out and wrestle for the best fans in the country and have the best coaches in the country.”
- Added pressure of a “main event”? “I think there’s always pressure… (Being in the lat match) I was paying pretty close attention to the score because I wanted to go out on top with a fourth team title this year pretty bad. I was thinking it could come down to my match… I appreciate the opportunity to be that last guy because it means people thought I was going out and wrestle and put some points on the board.”
- Tonight’s plan: “I had to really focus on riding Caldwell and getting weight forward because he was really intent to try to get up to his feet and getting escapes.”
- How it’s different now than the first time: “I think as a little 157-pound freshman with big dreams, thinking I would be an undefeated four-time national champ, nothing could go wrong… I was up there four times. I lost twice. And it’s hard. Winning the national title, you got to be ready to really wrestle, and I think I really developed some skills over the past four years.”
Quote from a proud dad: “He’s just always been a joy,’’ David Taylor, Sr. told Jim Carlson of the Harrisburg Patriot-News. “It was easy. Most people think they know the outcome before it happens. We have to sit and wait even though we’re pretty confident most of the time. He’s never missed a practice, he’s never missed a match. It’s always because he wanted to go, not because we wanted him to go. To do that and do it all by himself and maintain grades and relationships with his family and stuff, it’s a real proud day.’’
2014 NCAA All-Americans – 165 pounds
- David Taylor (Penn State)
- Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State)
- Steven Monk (North Dakota State)
- Nick Sulzer (Virginia)
- Michael Moreno (Iowa State)
- Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (Citadel)
- Danny Zilverberg (Minnesota)
- Pierce Harger (Northwestern)
Take a look back: For all College Wrestling Examiner articles on the 2014 NCAAs, click here... and check out Mat Bracketology, College Wrestling Examiner's weight-by-weight analysis of seeded wrestlers, by clicking on the Mat Bracketology link.
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