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Two Former Penn State Wresters Win Gold At 2023 Wrestling World Championship

After qualifying for the World Championships in June, six members of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club (NLWC) headed to Belgrade, Serbia, for the 2023 international battle.

Happy Valley wrestlers David Taylor and Zain Retherford returned with gold medals, Kyle Dake won a silver medal, Kyle Synder won a bronze medal, and Nick Lee didn’t place. Meanwhile, NLWC star Jennifer Page walked away with a bronze medal.

Taylor led off his first-place win with three pins and two technical falls, finishing with a pin of Iran’s Hassan Yazdani at the 5:57 mark to secure the gold at 86 kilograms. This was the third world championship clinch for Taylor, making him the most decorated Penn State wrestler of all time.

Retherford followed Taylor and redeemed his second-place finish at the 2023 World Championships with an 8-5 victory over Iran’s Amir Mohammad Yazdani. Retherford kept Yazdani at bay the entire bout and confidently defeated his opponent.

Dake also made it to the gold-medal match but was taken down by Russia’s Zaurbeck Sidakov. The pair has seven titles between them. The competitive bout ended with a 10-7 win for Sidakov and Dake fell to second place.

Snyder was pulled back into the competition by way of a repechage after an early loss to newcomer Akhmed Tazhudinov. Snyder’s opponent for the bronze-medal match, Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev, pulled out of the event due to injury and left the medal to Snyder.

Lee didn’t get the outcome he was hoping for after a major win against Yianni Diakomihalis at Final X, but despite the loss in the quarterfinals, Lee has much to look forward to in the coming months.

Finally, NLWC’s Page pinned Alyona Kolesnik of Azerbaijan to earn a bronze medal at 59 kilograms.

Taylor, Dake, and Snyder each qualified for the 2024 Olympics in their respective weight classes, while Retherford and Lee will train for the Pan Am Olympic Games Qualifier in February to secure spots in Paris next year. The Nittany Lions will also host the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials from April 19 to 20.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a junior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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