Kyle Dake named SI’s College Athlete of the Year

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Any American still looking for a decent reason to support the “Keep Olympic Wrestling” movement need look no further than Cornell wrestler Kyle Dake: The four time NCAA national champ who was also the only USA wrestler to score a win against Iran at last week’s “Rumble on the Rails.”

And now, on top of his successes in the ring and his recent charismatic appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Dake has also been named the inaugural Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year for winning his four already impressive national titles at four different weight classes.

“What Kyle did is more remarkable than anybody who came before him,” Cornell coach Rob Koll told SI’s Luke Winn. “I’m not saying he was better than Cael [Sanderson] or better than Pat Smith. I’m just saying I believe what he did was more remarkable, even though he lost some matches in his career.”

Dake went 137-4 during in college, moving up a weight class each season from 141 pounds to 149, 157, and finally 165 as a senior. And he admitted that the moves were as much about helping his team and that proving wrestlers don’t always need to cut weight as they were about his historic feat.

Dake didn’t make it to London last summer, probably because he shares a weight class with Olympic 74kg freestyle gold medalist Jordan Burroughs. But as one of the world’s top wrestlers, expect to see Dake in Rio, and expect to see him continue the fight to “Keep Olympic Wrestling.”

Olympic Track and Field Trials leave Eugene

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The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials are leaving Eugene, Ore., for the Los Angeles area.

Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in Walnut, Calif., 20 miles east of LA, will host the 10-day event in 2020.

Eugene, which hosted the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, and Sacramento, host in 2000 and 2004, also bid for the USA Track and Field (USATF) event.

“USATF’s board of directors voted to award the Olympic Trials to Mt. SAC based upon its desire to take the sport’s biggest event to the country’s second-largest media market; the historical strength of the sport in the Los Angeles area; Mt. SAC’s record of hosting elite track events that produce top performances; and a $62 million upgrade to Mt. SAC’s Hilmer Lodge Stadium that will enable the venue to expand to a seating capacity of more than 21,000,” USATF said in a press release.

Mt. SAC previously hosted the 1960 Olympic Trials and annually hosts a popular relays meet in April.

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MORE: Van Niekerk breaks another Michael Johnson record

Wayde van Niekerk breaks another Michael Johnson record

Wayde van Niekerk
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Wayde van Niekerk broke another Michael Johnson record, running the fastest-ever 300m in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Wednesday.

Van Niekerk, who broke Johnson’s 400m world record of 43.18 in Rio with a 43.03, ran 30.81 seconds in Ostrava. Video is here.

Johnson’s previous world best in the rarely contested event was 30.85, clocked at altitude in Pretoria in 2000, his final season.

Van Niekerk previously ran 31.03 over 300m in Kingston, Jamaica, last year. At the time, only Johnson and Usain Bolt (30.97 in 2010, also in Ostrava) had run faster in the non-Olympic event.

Johnson, also the former 200m world-record holder (lowered by Bolt in 2008 and 2009), is left with one world record still standing from the 1993 World Championships 4x400m relay.

Van Niekerk is preparing for the world championships in August in London, where he is expected to contest the 200m and 400m.

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MORE: Van Niekerk gets his wish for world champs