By Jim & Tony Nordland

     In an upstate New York hamlet, known as Lansing, a little over 10,500 people reside there, including two very prominent wrestling families; the Dake family and the Koll family. Doug Dake and his wife, Jodi, have two sons, Kyle and Corey, along with their daughter, Kristin. Kristin doesn't wrestle, she is involved with soccer and dance, and was recently crowned national Disney Dance champion at the age of 13. All the boys have, or will attend Lansing High School. Now entering his 16th season as head coach is Doug Dake and at the helm of the Cornell program for the last 18 years has been Rob Koll. Doug Dake was an Ohio state champion and a NCAA All-American at Kent State in 1985. Rob Koll was a PA state champion and a NCAA chanpion at North Carolina in 1988. Both men have impressive wrestling backgrounds.

     Their homes are less than two miles apart, and the Dake household is only 5.1 miles from the Cornell campus. Coach Koll has been a bit of a visionary and knew years ago, that Kyle would probably enroll at Cornell, especially since he began practicing at the Cornell wrestling room with the Shamrock Wrestling Club when he was in the 6th grade. Little did anyone know that the Dakes and Kolls would be interwined through the sport of wrestling. They have an unique situation and have formed a close friendship that has gone past 20 years. Both men have entrusted each other with the responsibilities of coaching their sons, and so far things have worked out nicely. At the 2010 NCAAs, Kyle won the 141-pound crown as a true freshman and prompted Koll to tease Doug Dake, "I'm doing well coaching your son, because in just one year I've already made him into a national champion." Koll also added,"Coaching a Kyle Dake has made my job a lot easier and we have a great group of guys that are goal-orientated, they all excel in both the classroom and the wrestling room."

     The Cornell University program has a rich tradition and with a plethora of underclassmen, should have a bright future. The school was founded in 1865 and begain its wrestling progrm in 1907-1908. To date, the Big Red has an all-time dual meet record of 722-383-20 and recently won the NWCA National Duals. Many components have allowed that to happen, but the one constant has been Rob Koll. Koll recently notched his 200th career dual meet victory over national power Iowa State. At the 2010 NCAA Championships, Cornell had a 2nd place team finish, the best performance in school history, and garnered four All-Americans, including the aforementioned Dake, along with three AAs; Mack Lewnes (2nd), Cam Simaz (3rd) and four-time NCAA placer and 2009 titlist Troy Nickerson, who finished with a 97-8 career mark. The Big Red return the most NCAA points with 71 and coach Koll recently commented: "We should be ranked in the preseason as the #1 team in the country, and I fully expect to end the season in the same position."

     The coaching staff of: Damion Hahn, Jeremy Spates and Matt Azevedo have complimented the current roster of outstanding grapplers. The captains Mike Grey (133), Justin Kerber (165) and Mack Lewnes at 174, are the team leaders, along with potential finalists Steve Bosak (184) and Cam Simaz (197) hope to lead the team to the top of the NCAA podium. Defending champion Kyle Dake (26-2) on moving up to the 149-pound class said, "I feel good and really like the new weight, he added about his team, "We are all working hard and training for the NCAAs."

     The storied past of Cornell wrestling is apparent, and are always looking to the future. Kyle Dake, now a sophomore, became the ninth NCAA champion in Cornell history and Kyle's mom, Jodi, recalls, "It was awesome, this kid is so motivated and has the mental toughness you just can't teach." She added, "He loves the sport and lives the right lifestyle." It sounds like all the Cornell matmen have the the passion and perhaps that will impact history. Coach Koll has instilled a positive outlook, and that is to claim their first NCAA team title in Philly. It is the only thing missing from his impressive resume.

     Corey Dake, a junior at 119 pounds, recently claimed his second state medal and Willliam Koll, a freshman, recently captured the 103-pound state championship, and for younger brother Daniel (a 6th-grader), his time will come. Coach Dake can now tease Rob Koll on his coaching prowess, especially with William Koll becoming a New York state champion. And after their high school days, it will be onto Cornell University. Just don't ask the younger Dake or the Koll boys as to where they will be headed, just ask coach Koll, he will tell you, "It's in their future."
Kyle Dake
Rob Koll and Kyle Dake
William Koll