It finally happened. David Taylor has made the USA World Team after several heartbreaking losses earlier in his career. A history of coming up just short, is in the past, as he took the best of three series against Nick Reenan 2-0 in comfortable fashion. Despite the frustration from so many near misses, Taylor never stopped believing, and has continued to improve into the dominant wrestler he is today.
Upon clinching his first world team, Taylor first thanked the Penn State crowd, his family, his friends, and everyone who supported him despite all the times he came up short. He led a "We Are!" chant, and the Penn State crowd was more than happy to oblige and celebrate with one of the wrestlers who elevated the Penn State program to a national powerhouse.
In the opening match, the first takedown was scored by Reenan, which caused a gasp from the crowd as if to say "oh no, not again." However, Taylor was not worried about the deficit and a quick takedown soon after the restart eased the crowd's nerves with the score even at 2. The most crucial moment of the match came with Taylor up 4-2. Reenan got in deep on a potential throw, but Taylor was able to counter with a throw of his own to get Reenan onto his back for four points. A challenge from Reenan's corner failed, and Taylor was cruising with a 9-2 lead. Even Taylor seemed to be relaxed as he flashed a smile before the restart. Two quick takedowns before the end of the period clinched a 13-2 technical fall victory for Taylor.
The second match was dominated by Taylor, as Reenan was never able to mount much of an offensive threat. Despite a low scoring start to the second period, Taylor was able to turn a takedown into a leg lace for four points that put his lead at 8-0, and Reenan was staring at a nearly impossible task in Rec Hall. Taylor blasted through a double leg for four points to clinch another first period technical fall and win 12-0 over Reenan.
Here was the final takedown that clinched David Taylor's first ever world team spot:
Taylor figures to be among the contenders for a gold medal. He'll have to deal with one of the best wrestlers in the world in 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Champion Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran), but Taylor has already proven he can beat the Iranian. A rematch between the two would be widely anticipated.
When Taylor was speaking to the crowd after he won, he had a clear goal in mind for the World Championships, "I'm coming back with a gold medal."