Day 2 of WIN’s Previews of upcoming Final X

Updated: May 24, 2022

A 2021 World silver medalist hopes to return to the Worlds in front of his college fans against a former NCAA champ, whose wrestling wife has been instrumental in helping him reach this level in his Senior men’s freestyle career; two Army wrestlers are back for a Greco-Roman rematch from 2021 Final X; and a young Iowa woman must beat a strong Californian who came up second in the 2019 Final X.

These is the second installment of stories by WIN in previewing the 2022 Final X matches that will take place June 3 in Stillwater, Okla., and June 8 in New York City.

WIN Magazine will provide a comprehensive look at both the Challenge Tournament and Final X in the next issue of WIN, which will be printed June 16. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe to WIN.

The 30 wrestlers — 10 each in men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman — who eventually win the Final X bouts will represent the United States at the 2022 UWW World Championships, Sept. 10-18, Belgrade, Serbia.

The following is also a schedule of when the Final X previews will take place. Action begins at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater with Round 1 matches at 2 p.m. (CDT) and Round 2 at 7 p.m., Round 3 bouts, if necessary, will follow after the completion of Round 2. The Final X in NYC will take place in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Round 1 matches begin at 2 p.m. EDT and Round 2 at 6 p.m., with any possible Round 3 bouts to follow.

(Please note that 14 World Team Trials Challenge Tourney winners had to win Best-of-3 finals in Coralville before meeting a 2021 World medalist at Final X. The other 16 weights feature wrestlers who only had to win a Challenge semifinal to earn a spot in Final X, where there was no returning World medalist.)

Tuesday, May 24

MFS – 61k: Daton Fix (Cowboy RTC) vs. Seth Gross (Wisconsin RTC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater, Okla.

Daton Fix claimed a silver medal at the 2021 Worlds. (Justin Hoch photo)

Fix, 24, a native of Sand Springs, Okla., and three-time NCAA runner-up at Oklahoma State (2019, 21-22), has appeared in two Worlds; claiming 12th in 2019 and won a silver medal in last year’s Worlds, which earned him an automatic spot in Final X in Stillwater. Fix was seeded No. 4 at the 2021 World Team Trials Challenge tourney, but won three matches, including a 11-0 technical fall over Gross.

Fix followed that win with a victory over No. 1-seed Tyler Graff in the semifinals before sweeping a pair of Final X bouts against Nathan Tomasello, 8-3 and 7-0. Once Fix got to the Worlds, he won four straight matches by technical fall before losing in the gold-medal match to Russia’s Abasgadzhi Magomedov.

Gross, 26, qualified for Final X when he won two matches over Daniel DeShazer, 6-2, and 9-8 in the Best-of-3 finals.

Seth Gross (top) nearly lost a first-round match at WTT Challenge tourney but came back to beat Daniel DeShazier in a best-of-3 finals in Coralville, Iowa. (Sam Janicki photo)

The former NCAA champion and national runner-up from South Dakota State, who finished his career at Wisconsin, was seeded No. 5 at the World Team Trials Challenge tournament … and nearly got beat in his first match against high school star Jesse Mendez, who led 12-3 with 1:51 left before Gross rallied to win 13-12. Gross then followed that dramatic win up with a pin against No. 1-seed Nico Megaludis in the semifinals.

After clinching his first Final X spot, Gross, a native of Apple Valley, Minn. credited his wife and wrestler Ronna Heaton Gross — who finished second at the 2020 Olympic Trials and 2021 World Trials last summer and third last week at 53 kilos in women’s freestyle in Coralville — for reaching a higher level in 2022.

“A big shout out to my wife who has been my warm-up partner before these matches,” said Seth. “We are going back to the drawing board and trying to figure out how we are going to make this World Team.”

“We don’t work together too often because he beats me up,” joked Ronna. “Seth keeps growing in different ways. He is someone who has found a way to love the process. When he does not find success right away, he goes back and works harder and gets grittier.”

GR – 60k: Dalton Roberts (Army WCAP) vs. Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) at June 8 Final X in New York City

Dalton Roberts (left) beat Randon Miranda to reach Final X. (Sam Janicki photo)

This is a rematch of 2021 Final X where Roberts beat Hafizov, the 2020 Olympian, in two of three bouts in a battle between a pair of athletes from the Army World Class Athlete Program. Hafizov won the first bout 3-3 on criteria before Roberts came back to win the next two matches, 5-3 and 9-0. Those victories sent Roberts to Norway, where he lost his only match at the World Championships.

Roberts, 25, is a native of Fowlerville, Mich., and also qualified for the 2018 World Championships but didn’t make it past the first round. Roberts also competed in two Junior Worlds (2015 and ’16) and two U23 Worlds (2017 and ’19) but failed to place.

Ildar Hafizov (left) qualified for a second Olympic appearance last summer before losing to Dalton Roberts in the 2021 World Team Trials. (Justin Hoch photo)

Hafizov, 34, has excelled on the World level and qualified for two Olympics for two countries: in 2008 (11th) for Uzbekistan and 2020 (12th) for the United States. He also wrestled in three Worlds (2007, ’09 and ’11) for Uzbekistan before moving to the U.S. in 2017. He then won a spot on his new country’s World Team and represented the U.S. at the 2019 Worlds (16th).

WFS – 53k: Felicity Taylor (Bearcat WC) vs. Dominique Parrish (Sunkist Kids WC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

Taylor, 21, recently finished her college wrestling career at McKendree (Ill.) University, where she won a NCWWC national championship.

She used that momentum to win a U.S. Open in April — beating five-time World Team member Alyssa Lampe by technical fall in the finals. The native of Spillville, Iowa, earned a trip to Final X after wrestling just one match — a 51-second pin against Haley Franich — at the World Team Trials in Coralville.

Felicity Taylor (top) enters Final X as the 2022 U.S. Open champ that scored a fall in her only WTT bout. (Justin Hoch photo)

Parrish, 25, is a native of Scotts Valley, Calif., and wrestled in college at Simon Fraser in Canada, where she was a two-time (2018 and ’19) U.S. national champion. After finishing fifth and seventh at the 2018 and ’19 U23 World Championships, she qualified for the 2019 Final X, where she lost to Helen Maroulis.

Dominique Parrish also reached the 2019 Final X in women’s freestyle. (Justin Hoch photo)

Click on Previous Dates to preview those weight classes.

Monday, May 23

MFS – 57k: Thomas Gilman (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Vito Arujau (Spartan) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater, Okla.

GR – 55k:  Max Nowry (Army WCAP) vs. Brady Koontz (Ohio RTC) at Final X (June 3) in Stillwater, Okla.

WFS – 50k: Sarah Hildebrandt (NYAC) vs. Alyssa Lampe Sunkist Kids WC at June 8 Final X in New York City


Wednesday, May 25

MFS – 65k: Evan Henderson (Ohio RTC) vs. Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan) at June 8 Final X in New York City

GR – 63k: Sammy Jones (NYAC) vs. Jesse Thielke (Army WCAP) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

WFS – 55k: Jenna Burkert (US Army WCAP) vs. Jacarra Winchester (TMWC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

Thursday, May 26

MFS – 70k: Zain Retherford (NLWC) vs. Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids WC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

GR – 67k: Alejandro Sancho (Army WCAP) vs. Nutter (Sunkist Kids WC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

WFS – 57k: Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Alex Hedrick (USOP/TMWC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

Friday, May 27

MFS – 74k: Kyle Dake (Spartan) vs. Jason Nolf (NLWC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

GR – 72k: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) vs. Benji Peak (Sunkist Kids WC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

WFS – 59k: Lexie Basham (Spartan) vs. Abigail Nette (Army WCAP) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

Saturday, May 28

MFS – 79k: Jordan Burroughs (Penn RTC) vs. Chance Marstellar in June 8 Final X in New York City

GR – 77k: Britton Holmes (Army WCAP) vs. Kamal Bey (Army WCAP) at June 8 Final X in New York City

WFS – 62k: Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Jennifer Rogers (NLWC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

Monday, May 30

MFS – 86k: David Taylor (NLWC) vs. Zahid Valencia at June 8 Final X in New York City

GR – 82k: Ben Provisor (NYAC) vs. Spencer Woods (Army WCAP) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

WFS – 65: Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Mallory Velte (BDRT) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

Tuesday, May 31

MFS – 92k: J’den Cox (TMWC) vs. Nathan Jackson (NYAC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

GR – 87k: Alan Vera (NYAC) vs. Timothy Young (Illinois) at June 8 Final X in New York City

WFS – 68k: Tamyra Mensah Stock (TMWC) vs. Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

Wednesday, June 1

MFS – 97k: Kyle Snyder (NLWC) vs. Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

GR – 97k: G’Angelo Hancock vs. Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

WRS – 72k: Skyler Grote (NYAC) vs. Amit Elor (NYC/TMWC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

Thursday, June 2

MFS – 125k: Hayden Zillmer (Gopher WC/RTC) vs. Nick Gwiazdowski (Spartan/TMWC) at June 8 Final X in New York City

GR – 130k: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Tanner Farmer (NYAC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater

WFS – 76k: Dymond Guilford (USOP/TMWC) vs. Yelena Makoyed (Card/TMWC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater