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Final X Lincoln features four rematches to make 2019 World Team
For a third straight year, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln provides a stage to determine the United States World Championships team. After playing hosts to the 2017 World Team Trials in men’s freestyle, Nebraska hosted one of three Final X sites in 2018 to clinch World Team berths in men’s and women’s freestyle.
This Saturday, June 15, the Devaney Center will be the site for the athletes securing the 15 additional spots on the 2019 USA team in all three styles, including Greco-Roman, that will compete at the UWW World Championships, Sept. 14-22, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
There will be four rematches from last year’s Final X, including Thomas Gilman vs. Daton Fix, Jordan Burroughs vs. Isaiah Martinez and Kyle Snyder vs. Kyven Gadson in men’s freestyle and Kayla Miracle vs. Mallory Velte in women’s freestyle.
Last weekend at Rutgers, 14 World Team weights were determined in another Final X event that was also hosted by USA Wrestling and FloWrestling. The only exception was at 79 kilograms, where World champ Kyle Dake requested a postponement for his meeting against Alex Dieringer because of an injury.
For the next five days, WIN Magazine will provide a daily preview of a men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman best-of-3 matchup that will take place in one of two sessions, starting at either 12 noon and 6 p.m. CDT.
|MFS||57kg/125.5lb||Thomas Gilman vs. Daton Fix|
This will be a rematch from last year’s Final X event in Lincoln, where Gilman, a 25-year-old the native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, four-time Nebraska state champ from Omaha-Skutt High School and former three-time Hawkeye All-American, defeated the young Oklahoma State All-American, 6-3 and 2-1.
Fix avenged that setback at the 2019 U.S. Open where he defeated Gilman, 8-4, and earned an automatic berth in 2019 Final X Lincoln. Gilman earned a rematch when he won two straight matches over former Lehigh national champion Darian Cruz in the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Raleigh, N.C., in May.
This marks the third straight year that Gilman will shoot to make a World Team at the Devaney Center a short hour from his hometown. Two years ago, Gilman ignored a No. 8 seed and eventually won two straight bouts over former Iowa teammate Tony Ramos … and eventually earned a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships in Paris. Last year, Gilman finished in fifth in Budapest, Hungary.
After losing to Gilman last June, Fix went on to earn All-American honors at Oklahoma State as the 21-year-old redshirt freshman from Sand Springs, Okla., finished second to Rutgers’ Nick Suriano in the NCAA final at 133 pounds. He also competed in the 2018 Junior Worlds where Fix earned a bronze medal.
Fix has wrestled in six age-group World championships, highlighted by a Junior World championship in 2017. He also competed in two Cadet Worlds, claiming a bronze medal in 2015. He also earned a bronze in the 2016 Junior Worlds and competed in the U23 Worlds in 2017.
Gilman also excelled at age group World championships as he captured a bronze medal in his second straight Junior Worlds in 2014 and also competed in the 2011 Cadet Worlds.
|WFS||53kg/116.5lb||Sarah Hildebrandt vs. Katherine Shai|
Hildebrandt earned an automatic berth in Final X by claiming a silver medal in last year’s World Championships. Shei later earned a Final X invite when she defeated Tiare Ikei in two straight matches at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament at NC State in May.
Hildebrandt, a 25-year-old native of Granger, Ind., has represented the USA in two World championships; claiming tenth in 2016, before she won three bouts at the 2018 Worlds, where her only loss came in the gold-medal bout to Haruna Okuno of Japan. As a collegiate wrestler, Hildebrandt won two WCWA championships for King University.
Shai, formerly known as Katherine Fulp-Allen, is the daughter of late USA Greco coach Lee Allen and sister of Sara, a former National Team member. The 31-year-old native of El Granada, Calif. (who married Mike Shai on Sept. 27, 2014) had been absent from the World-level scene since losing to Helen Maroulis in the 2016 Olympic Trials, and she also had a child nine months ago. Shai competed in college at Menlo College, where she won two national titles and was named WCWA Wrestler of the Year in 2010
|GR||60kg/132lb||Leslie Fuenffinger vs. Ildar Hafizov|
Fuenffinger became the first man at this weight to qualify for Final X when he won the U.S. Open as a No. 4 seed; beating both top-seed Dalton Roberts in the semis and Hafizov in the finals, 6-4, in April. Hafizov earned a rematch when he won two bouts over Randon Miranda in May’s World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Raleigh.
Both of these men represent the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, including Fuenffinger who is a native of Hibbing, Minn., and later wrestled at Augsburg College. Fuenffinger, who will turn 27 on July 17, has not wrestled at a Senior-level World championship, but did represent the USA in the 2011 and ’12 Junior Worlds.
Hafizov is a 31-year-old immigrant from Uzebekistan, where he competed in the 2008 Olympics and was on three World Teams (2007, ’09 and ’11) for the Eastern European country. He represented the USA at the 2017 Worlds (where he lost his only bout). Hafizov also reached the 2018 World Team Trials finals, where he lost to Dalton Roberts in three matches and the 2016 Olympic Trials, where he lost to Jesse Thielke.
Upcoming Daily Previews of Final X, Lincoln, Neb., June 15
Tuesday, June 11
|MFS||61kg/132lb||Tyler Graff vs. Joe Colon|
|WFS||55kg/121lb||Dominique Parrish vs. Jacarra Winchester|
|GR||63kg/138.5lb||Xavier Johnson vs. Ryan Mango|
Wednesday, June 12
|MFS||70kg/154lb||James Green vs. Ryan Deakin|
|WFS||59kg/130lb||Lauren Louive vs. Alli Ragan|
|GR||72kg:/158.5lb||Alex Mossing vs. Raymond Bunker|
Thursday, June 13
|MFS||74kg/163lb||Isaiah Martinez vs. Jordan Burroughs|
|WFS||62kg/136.5lb||Kayla Miracle vs. Mallory Velte|
|GR||97kg/213.5lb||Lucas Sheridan vs. G’Angelo Hancock|
Friday, June 14
|MFS||97kg/213.5lb||Kyven Gadson vs. Kyle Snyder|
|WFS||76kg/167.5lb||Precious Bell vs. Adeline Gray|
|GR||130kg/286.5lb||Cohlton Schultz vs. Adam Coon|