Kyle Dake '13 and Vito Arujau Head to Best-of-Three Olympic Trials Finals; Diakomihals, Dean Defeated
April 02, 2021


FORT WORTH, Texas - Following a pair of victories for each wrestler on Friday, Kyle Dake '13 and Vito Arujau have both advanced to the best-of-three Championship Series at the 2021 U.S. Wrestling Olympic Team Trials. Both wrestlers are just two wins away from realizing their dream of becoming Olympians. Arujau will face Thomas Gilman in the 57kg finals, while Dake meets Jordan Burroughs at 74kg.

Saturday's championship series finals start at 7:30 p.m. ET. Mat 2 will once again be broadcast live on NBCSN, while Mats 1 and 3 will be available on and the NBC Sports App.

As the 2019 World Champion at 79kg, Dake earned a bye to the 74kg semifinals where he met Evan Wick. In the first period, Dake turned a single leg into four points, adding a gut wrench to hold a 6-0 lead over Wick after one minute of wrestling. Just 20 seconds later, Dake took Wick down on a go-behind and gutted him to secure the 10-0 tech fall.

Dake needed just 42 seconds to defeat Jason Nolf in the championship tournament finals, bringing his time spent on the mat to just 2:05 on Friday. A quick ankle pick off the whistle brought the crowd to their feet as Dake threw Nolf for five points. Two additional points were awarded to Dake following the throw as Nolf was called for fleeing the mat. Dake cruised to an 11-0 tech fall following a pair of gut wrenches to close things out.

"This is what I've been training for, for a long time," Dake said. "Every year has been leading up to this moment and this weekend. I'm one step closer to accomplishing that goal."

There were no gimmes for Arujau on Friday, who got his day started against four-time All-American and 2015 NCAA National Champion, Nathan Tomasello. Arujau led Tomasello, 3-0, late into the second period, scoring one point via passivity and two points on step outs. Tomasello took Arujau down in the final 10 seconds of the bout, but Arujau wouldn't be turned.

In the semifinals, Arujau avenged his loss to Daton Fix at the 2019 U.S. Open by defeating the 2019 World Team member, 7-5. Arujau scored on a step out and an arm drag single leg in the first period to take a 3-0 lead over Fix. Coming out quick to start the second, Arujau maintained his pace and built a 6-0 lead using another step out and his second takedown of the bout. Fix pushed the pace for the final two minutes of the period, forcing three step outs and taking Arujau down once to narrow the score to 6-5. A failed challenge as time expired gave Arujau the 7-5 win.

"I realized I had a chance within the first couple of seconds when my arm drag (to single leg) worked," Arujau said. "It was still a tough, hard fought match. I remember looking over to my corner and Mike (Grey) telling me to stay in the fight, and that's what I did."

Also representing Cornell on Friday were Yianni Diakomihalis, Gabe Dean '17, Nahshon Garrett '16 and Ben Honis '19. Diakomihalis and Dean each advanced to their semifinal bouts, while Garrett and Honis were defeated in round one.

Dean's day concluded in the 86kg semifinals, losing to top-seeded David Taylor by a 4-0 decision. Taylor scored two points in the first period via passivity and a step out before scoring a takedown early in the second period. Dean advanced to the semifinals following a 2-1 victory over Myles Martin in the quarterfinals. Both points scored against Martin were due to passivity.

In the 65kg semifinals, Diakomihalis was defeated by Jordan Oliver on criteria, 4-4. Diakomihalis took a 1-0 lead into the second period after Oliver was hit for passivity and increased his lead to 3-0 following an early second period takedown on a single leg that he drove out of bounds. Oliver hit a takedown of his own in the second to cut Diakomihalis' lead to 3-2. With 1:26 to wrestle, Oliver stepped out as he was circling back to center, which gave Diakomihalis a 4-2 advantage. In the final 22 seconds of the match, Oliver earned two step outs which moved the score to 4-4 with Oliver holding the edge on criteria.

Facing former Olympian Frank Molinaro in the quarterfinals, Diakomihalis took a 4-0 lead into the second period after he scored two points on a double leg takedown and earned two for exposing Molinaro's back to the mat. In the second period, Diakomihalis hit an early single leg and leg laced Molinaro twice to earn the tech fall, 10-0.

After the match, Molinaro left his shoes on the mat, symbolizing the end of this wrestling career. Molinaro was the United States' 65kg representative at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's good to know that I'm walking away with a guy like (Diakomihalis) in the weight ? a technical opponent, a strategic and tactical guy," Molinaro said after the match. "He's got a bright future. It's a great weight class for him and he's got a unique style."

Garrett and Honis each lost their opening bouts in the prelims. Garrett was defeated by Anthony Ashnault, 8-2, while Honis was topped by Hayden Zillmer, 9-0.