By Cornell Sports Information
ITHACA, N.Y. — The last few months have been a whirlwind for Kyle Dake – a fourth straight NCAA title at a fourth different weight class, winning the Hodge Award and the inaugural Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year and a spot in the finals at the World Team Trials. Heck, the City of Ithaca even celebrated Kyle Dake Day.
Add another amazing honor to the list. Dake became the second Cornell student-athlete in the last three years to be nominated for the Male College Athlete of the Year ESPY it was announced today.
An ESPY Award (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) is presented by ESPN to recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance. It is a star-studded event held July 17 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif.
Dake is one of four up for the award, joining national basketball player of the year Trey Burke of Michigan, Heisman Trophy football award winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc of the St. Cloud State hockey team.
Dake joins Rob Pannell ’13, a 2011 nominee in the same category after earning national player of the year honors in men’s lacrosse.
Dake became the first NCAA wrestler to win national titles in four different weight classes, the first to win four national titles without taking a redshirt season and just the third athlete to claim four national titles. The 2013 Hodge Award winner as the national Wrestler of the Year was a three-time EIWA Wrestler of the Year. The Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA tournament in 2013, Dake is the third Cornell wrestler to capture the award and the first since Dave Auble in 1960. He wrapped up his amazing career with a 137-4 record, including winning his final 79 collegiate matches. Dake was named the Charles H. Moore Senior co-Athlete of the Year at Cornell last night at the Senior Athlete Awards Banquet.
Both Burke and LeBlanc were also finalists for the Sports Illustrated Male College Athlete of the Year which was won by Dake.
Last year’s winner was Robert Griffin III of Baylor. Athletes from only three sports have won the award since it was first presented in 2002 – basketball, football and wrestling. Iowa State’s Cael Sanderson won the inaugural award. Other winners have included Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow.