DES MOINES, Iowa -- The wait is almost over.
Kyle Dake of Cornell and David Taylor of Penn State, both returning NCAA champions, punched their tickets to the NCAA finals with semifinal victories on Friday night.
The two wrestlers will meet in the final match of the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Saturday night.
Dake needed just an escape and riding time point to defeat Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell 2-0 in the semifinals. It was Dake's second victory over Caldwell this season, with the first coming at the Grapple at the Garden in December.
"He had a different game plan," Dake said of Caldwell. "He had a low stance, solid and then when he got close enough he would lock me up with a tie and it made things difficult to get going."
The Big Red senior has not surrendered a single point in four matches over the past two days of competition, outscoring his opponents 28-0.
Dake now stands just one win away from making history as both the first four-time NCAA Division I champion in four different weight classes and the first wrestler to win four NCAA titles without a redshirt season. Pat Smith and Cael Sanderson are the only wrestlers ever to win four NCAA Division I titles. Both redshirted during their careers.
Standing in the way of history is Taylor, the returning Dan Hodge Trophy winner. Dake has two close victories over Taylor this season.
"It's just another wrestling match for me," said Dake. "The mat size hasn't changed. There is going to be a referee, a guy sitting across from me, two coaches in my corner and two coaches in his corner. So really it's not that much different. We're going out and wrestling."
Taylor reached the finals by pinning Virginia Tech's Peter Yates early in the second period. It was Taylor's fourth pin in four matches over the past two days.
"I get in this tournament and something happens where I have to pin people," said Taylor. "I'm not complaining. This is a tournament where bonus points are everything, and they're preached by every coach. You don't realize how important bonus points can be."
So what does Taylor expect will happen on Saturday night?
"We will shake hands," said Taylor. "There is going to be a lot of wrestling done and I'm going to get my hand raised at the end, that's what I've been thinking about all season."
Penn State opened up its lead in the team standings on Friday night after going five-for-five in the semifinals. The Nittany Lions are 20.5 points ahead of second-place Oklahoma State. Minnesota is in third place, eight points behind Oklahoma State.
Also advancing to the finals for the Nittany Lions were Nico Megaludis (125), Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184), and Quentin Wright (197).
Megaludis reached the finals with a 2-1 victory in tiebreaker over top-seeded and previously unbeaten Alan Waters of Missouri.
It's the second straight finals appearance for Megaludis, who fell to Iowa's Matt McDonough in last year's championship match.
"Last year I expected to get in the finals, but this year I just really, really, really expect it, I guess," said Megaludis. "I guess it's because I've been here already, you know, been at this stage. It's like every kid in here ... They want to win it."
Delgado and Megaludis have split two matches this season. Megaludis pinned Delgado in the third period of their first meeting on Feb. 3. The two met again in the Big Ten semifinals two weeks ago, with Delgado winning 6-3.
"He was better than me that day," said Megaludis of his recent loss to Delgado. "That was one day, one week and this is a different match. I have to be offensive, but be aware of his quickness, but I need to get after it."
Delgado, the Big Ten champion, registered four takedowns en route to a 10-5 victory over Cornell's Nahshon Garrett in the semifinals.
"I knew if I didn't attack, he would, so I figured I would keep him off my legs and stay on his," said Delgado, who improved to 26-3 with the victory.
Brown, a Big Ten champion two weeks ago as a No. 5 seed, earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Minnesota's Logan Storley in the semifinals at 174 pounds, avenging a loss from the Southern Scuffle in early January. He will face top-seeded Chris Perry of Oklahoma State in the finals.
Ruth defeated Cornell's Steve Bosak 4-1 in a battle of returning NCAA champions. Ruth's finals opponent at 184 pounds will be Lehigh's Robert Hamlin, who advanced with a 3-2 victory over Central Michigan's Ben Bennett, who entered the match undefeated.
Wright edged Pitt's Matt Wilps 4-3 in tiebreaker, setting up a meeting with Kent State's Dustin Kilgore in the finals at 197 pounds. Both wrestlers enter the NCAA finals undefeated.
It's Wright third straight NCAA finals appearance. He was an NCAA champion in 2011 and finished runner-up last season.
"All or nothing," said Wright. "There is no next year, so this one is a little bit more important. I'm glad to still have my health and my knees and shoulders and all that stuff. I'm excited to go out there and give it everything I have."
Returning NCAA champion and undefeated Logan Stieber of Ohio State continued his dominance as he won by technical fall, 18-2, over Edinboro's A.J. Schopp in the semifinals at 133 pounds.
"I've got the best training partners and coaches," said Stieber. "They allow me to get better every day."
Stieber will meet Iowa's Tony Ramos in a rematch of the Big Ten finals. Ramos reached the finals by defeating Wisconsin's Tyler Graff 6-4 in sudden victory.
Ramos said it's going to take "hard wrestling" to beat Stieber.
"There's no game plans," said Ramos. "Everyone has a game plan, a strategy. You've got to go out there and you've got to fight and fight and keep on fighting, and that's how I'm going to win."
Jordan Oliver, a 2011 NCAA champion at 133 pounds and two-time NCAA finalist, reached the finals at 149 pounds with a dominating 14-3 victory over Columbia's Steve Santos. Oliver, who enters the finals with a perfect 38-0 record, will meet Boise State's Jason Chamberlain, seeded second, in the finals.
Chamberlain reached the finals by defeating unseeded Drake Houdashelt of Missouri, 7-3. The Boise State wrestler said he looked at his team's schedule early on in the year and realized that he wouldn't meet Oliver until the NCAAs.
"I've been looking forward to it," Chamberlain said of meeting Oliver. "I think everybody kind of expected that maybe we would make it to the finals, so it's just something that I've been training for most of the year."
Minnesota's Tony Nelson will be in his search of his second straight NCAA title at heavyweight on Saturday night after advancing to the NCAA finals with a 5-4 victory over Oklahoma State's Alan Gelogaev. Nelson trailed in the third period, but scored a late takedown and rideout for the win.
His finals opponent will be Northwestern's Mike McMullan, who knocked off top-seeded Dom Bradley of Missouri in the semifinals. Like the match at 133 pounds, the heavyweight match will be a rematch of the Big Ten finals, which Nelson won 4-1.
"Going out there and being able to do this again and be back in the finals, it's fun," said Nelson. "I'm excited to see what I can do tomorrow night."
Oklahoma's Kendric Maple will take an undefeated record into the NCAA finals at 141 pounds after a 4-0 shutout victory over K. Undrakhbayar of The Citadel. Maple's finals opponent will be Edinboro's Mitchell Port, who reached the finals by defeating top-seeded and previously unbeaten Hunter Stieber of Ohio State.
Saturday's Session V is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT. The finals (Session VI) will take place at 7 p.m. CT.
Team Standings (Top Ten)
1. Penn State 114.5
2. Oklahoma State 94
3. Minnesota 86
4. Iowa 68
5. Cornell 51
6. Missouri 47.5
7. Ohio State 46
8. Iowa State 41
8. Oregon State 41
10. Virginia Tech 40
No. 4 Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. No. 1 Alan Waters (Missouri), 3-2 TB
No. 2 Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec. No. 6 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), 10-5
No. 1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) tech. fall No. 4 A.J. Schopp (Edinboro), 18-2
No. 2 Tony Ramos (Iowa) dec. No. 3 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 6-4 SV
No. 4 Mitchell Port (Edinboro) dec. No. 1 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State), 7-6
No. 2 Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) dec. No. 6 K. Undrakhbayar (The Citadel), 4-0
No. 1 Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. No. 5 Steve Santos (Columbia), 14-3
No. 2 Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) dec. Drake Houdashelt (Missouri), 7-3
No. 1 Jason Welch (Northwestern) dec. David Bonin (Northern Iowa), 7-1
No. 2 Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. No. 6 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State), 3-2 TB
No. 1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. No. 4 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State), 2-0
No. 2 David Taylor (Penn State) pinned No. 3 Peter Yates (Virginia Tech), 3:24
No. 1 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 4 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska), 4-2 SV1
No. 2 Matt Brown (Penn State) dec. No. 6 Logan Storley (Minnesota), 3-2
No. 1 Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. No. 4 Steve Bosak (Cornell), 4-1
No. 3 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. No. 2 Ben Bennett (Central Michigan), 3-2
No. 1 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) dec. No. 5 Taylor Meeks (Oregon State), 8-6
No. 2 Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. No. 3 Matt Wilps (Pitt), 4-3 Tb
No. 5 Mike McMullan (Northwestern) dec. No. 1 Dom Bradley (Missouri), 3-1 SV1
No. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. No. 3 Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State), 5-4