BUDAPEST, Hungary — Kyle Dake and J’den Cox captured gold medals on Monday at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, giving the United States three freestyle gold medals overall with one day of freestyle competition remaining.
Dake won his gold medal at 79 kilograms without surrendering a point, outscoring his opposition 37-0.
“It feels pretty great,” Dake said. “I need to keep getting better. That’s the biggest thing. I think a lot of guys are respecting my leg defense. If they want to shoot and test their luck, I welcome it.”
Dake defeated 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijain 2-0 in the gold-medal match.
Cox battled Ivan Yankouski of Belarus in the gold-medal match at 92 kilograms. The American stayed in great position and pushed the pace, forcing his opponent into two shot clock points and when Cox was hit with a caution and one — making the score 2-1 — he timed a perfect single leg takedown for a 4-1 triumph.
“I was expecting to be a world champion this year,” Cox said. “It was a goal I set in place and I did the sacrifices and did everything I had to do to get here today.”
Olympic champion Kyle Snyder advanced to the gold-medal match at 97 kilograms. He will be looking for his fourth straight world-level gold when he competes on Tuesday.
Snyder was methodical and concise in his semifinal match against two-time world medalist Pavlo Oliinyk of Hungary. He led 1-0 at the break and then scored a single-leg takedown in the second period to secure a 3-0 victory.
In a highly anticipated rematch from last year’s World Championships, Snyder will face 2016 Olympic champion and multiple-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia.
“I feel like I’m better than I was last time,” Snyder said. “I got better on a couple hand fighting things. No more added motivation (to help USA beat Russia in the team race). My motivation to wrestle is because I love wrestling.”
U.S. coach Joe Russell was ecstatic about the men’s team and their accomplishments following Dake and Cox’s gold-medal matches.
“It’s pretty amazing to see guys accomplish a dream they’ve had their whole life,” Russell said. “They worked super hard for so many years, [now] to come up with that gold medal, I’m just so happy for them.”
In the other American semifinal match on Monday, Jacarra Winchester suffered a tough defeat to Zalina Sidakova of Belarus. In a 2-1 match, Winchester took a double-leg shot that landed Sidakova on her hip with seconds left in the match, giving Winchester a 3-2 victory. A video review determined that Sidakova got her hip up and there was no takedown.
U.S. coach Coleman Scott was optimistic that Winchester can rebound in the bronze-medal match.
“She’s going to have to regroup,” Scott said. “Winning a medal is way more important than walking away with a fifth. She’ll be fine, she’s got more in the tank and I’m looking forward to tomorrow for her.”
Winchester will wrestle for bronze on Tuesday.
Thomas Gilman, a returning world silver medalist, fell short in the bronze-medal match. He found himself in a 5-1 deficit which he was able to work down to 5-4, but it was not enough as time ran out.
“When you take [things] away from the losses you learn a lot,” Gilman. “I need to get to my leg attacks and figure out the hand fight more.”
Jenna Burkert did not receive a repechage match.