I'm not so sure that having a growth spurt while in college is really all that impressive.
I still find his first title his most impressive however.
After that, I think Dake has proven you can't pick against him. And I would like to thank Dake for going up yet another weight class to face off with last year's Hodge winner so that he can continue to spark this debate about the only person that has a legitimate shot at beating Dake. (He won't, but if anyone beats Dake, it will be Taylor.)
Of course, as any wrestling fan knows, anything is possible. I remember watching Kolat dominate 2X champ Jaworsky in the 1994 All Star match, which back then was in late January. I thought there was no way that Jaworsky would win his third. Then, at NCAAs, Kolat lost to Mohammadi in a major upset in the semis and Jaworsky cruised to his third championship.
But - for what its worth, I would never pick against Dake either
After reading your Herbert story Im really starting to believe you think Dake still weighs 141 pounds. HERBERTS AN 84 lber wrestling someone 100 lbs bigger. Of course he lost. Dake is not smaller than these guys, youre a smart guy. Think.
Dake has wrestled a bigger weight class every year. He himself as adapted and come up to meet each new set of challenges. You're dismissing it because he's the same weight now, but the point is that he wasn't just the year before. He grew, added muscle mass, and then took his style to a new set of challenges with new physical skill sets. And he continues to exert his will. He's not having the advantage of getting to face his opponents multiple times, figure out works best for their styles, etc. like a guy like McDonough, whom I love, who has seen a lot of the same opponents repeatedly.
It's hard to say, sometimes you grow into a weight class that's less competitive than the one you left. I think it's a false premise that it's tougher to win a championship as you move up in weight, so other than Dake's body adapting and growing, what's the added level of difficulty? Winning four titles is the tough thing.
One thing I will add in support of the '4 classes is harder' side-
As you move up, especially that many weight classes, you do have to adjust to a different style of wrestling. You see a different kind of movement being successful. Dake is probably moving through the least different 4 weight classes (compare 174 pounders to HWT or 125 pounders to 149, they just move differently), but still he has to adjust to different wrestling styles.
But otherwise, you only wrestle one group of wrestlers each year. I'm not sold that wrestling the same group is easier because they (in theory) are also wrestling you and learning/adapting to your style. It is a two-way street. In some ways, I feel like it may be harder to keep beating the same guy who is close in ability than it is to keep beating new guys close in ability.