- by Ross Bartachek
Looking at the 97 kg matchup David Taylor continued his trend of selecting wrestlers with a “home mat” advantage by taking Iowa State grad and Waterloo, Iowa native Kyven Gadson with his top overall pick for this weight-class. That’s not to say Taylor picked Gadson purely based on his hometown appeal for this matchup, as the former NCAA champion has been the U.S. World Team runner-up the last two years.
Kyle Dake on the other hand had a much more difficult decision on his hand, having selected Jacob Kasper and Ty Walz for his roster spot. While both wrestlers are relatively fresh to the senior circuit, Walz was definitely the more credentialed of the two. Over the last 12 months Walz has competed for Team USA on the U23 squad where he was the World bronze medalist, won the Bill Farrell International, took silver at Cerro Pelado International, and made the 2018 U.S. National Team.
Despite all of that Dake felt that Kasper was the better option based on his style of wrestling and how that contrasts with Gadson’s. Kasper’s Senior level credentials are more limited, though the former Duke All-American did make an appearance for Team USA at this year’s Pan American Championships where he competed in Greco-Roman.
Both of these wrestlers are entertaining on and off the mat, which has made them favorite not only to fans who followed their college teams, but both have a charisma that has a broad appeal.
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