May 30 Preview of upcoming Final X: MFS 86k, GR 82k, WFS 65k

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Updated: May 30, 2022

• Last summer’s Olympic champ and World silver medalist faces a former two-time NCAA champ from Arizona State in men’s freestyle.

• A two-time Olympian and two-time World Team member meets a native of Alaska in a rematch from the 2021 World Team Trials in Greco-Roman.

• A pair of former World medalists go head-to-head in women’s freestyle.

These are three storylines from WIN’s seventh installment of previews for 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 be our U.S. World Team for 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.

(Please note that 14 World Team Trials Challenge Tourney winners had to win Best-of-3 finals in Coralville, Iowa, 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, in weights where there was no returning World medalist.)

Monday, May 30

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

David Taylor (right) split a pair of matches with Iran’s Hassan Yazdani that led to Olympic gold and World silver last summer and fall for the former two-time NCAA champ and Hodge Trophy winner from Penn State. (Justin Hoch photo)

Taylor, 31, the former two-time Hodge winner and two-time NCAA champ from Penn State, earned a Final X trip to NYC after he earned a pair of World-level medals. The first was a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last August (when he scored a last-second takedown against Iran’s Hassan Yazdani) before he settled for a silver medal in a rematch with the Iranian two months later at the Worlds. Taylor also won a World championship in 2018 before an injury forced him to miss the 2019 season.

Zahid Valencia (left) blanked Mark Hall in a pair of WTT Challenge final matches between the former college rivals. (Sam Janicki photo)

Valencia, 25, is the former four-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion (2018 and ’19) from Arizona State. The native of Bellefonte, Calif., has also excelled in international freestyle, appearing in three UWW Junior World Championships (2015-17), highlighted by a silver medal in 2017. On the Senior level, Valencia reached Final X in 2019, when he lost to Kyle Dake at 79 kilos, before finishing third at 86 kilos at the 2020 Olympic Trials, held in 2021.

Valencia qualified for Final X in NYC after he won two consecutive matches, 6-0 and 10-0, over Mark Hall, the former Penn State star who was the only person to beat Valencia in college (2017 NCAA semifinals) before the former Sun Devil avenged that loss in both the 2018 and ’19 NCAA finals.

“He has been unable to score a point against me,” said Valencia, who looks forward to facing another former Penn State star in New York City. “I love what I do. I’ve come up short for the past few years, but I don’t let it get to me. It’s just another learning experience. I do believe this is my time to show everyone I’m here and ready to get after it.

What is different about Valencia this year?

“Points,” said Valencia what he expects to see more of that against Taylor. “That’s the game plan. I need to score more points than him. I’d also think I’m more tactical offensively, being smart and not over-reaching for my offense.”

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

Two-time Olympian Ben Provisor (left) joined the Grand View program last fall after appearing in his second World Championship. (Sam Janicki photo)

This is a rematch of the 2021 World Team Trials, where Provisor beat Woods, 7-1 and 4-2.

Provisor, 31, a native of Stevens Point, Wisc., has appeared in two Olympics (2012 and ’16) and two World Championships (2017 and 2021), but is still looking for his first medal.  At the London Games, he split two matches before losing his only bout in Rio. In his two World appearances, Provisor is 1-2, beating Japan’s Satoki Mukai last fall before losing a quarterfinal bout. Provisor reached Final X with a 3-1 victory over Ryan Epps at the WTT Challenge tournament.

Spencer Woods (right) wrestled in the U23 Worlds last year while finishing second in Senior World Trials. (Sam Janicki photo)

Woods, 23, who qualified for Final X with a pin against Tyler Cunningham at the Challenge tourney in Coralville, is a native of Shungnak, Alaska, a small village within the Arctic Circle. While he came up short at the 2021 World Team Trials, he did compete in the U23 World Championships last fall. In coming to the mainland, Woods first wrestled at Maryland before focusing full-time at Greco-Roman at Northern Michigan and then joined Army’s World Class Athletic Program in 2020.

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

Forrest Molinari, “Snowflake”, earned World bronze in her third Worlds last fall in Norway. (Justin Hoch photo)

Molinari, 26, hails from Benecia, Calif., who first made her name at King University, where she was a four-time All-American and 2016 national champion. On the international freestyle level, Molinari has appeared in three World Championships, claiming fifth in 2018 and 2019 before she earned a bronze medal in the 2021 Worlds, which earned her a spot in Final X.

She competed at 68 kilos on the Olympic Trials in 2021 when she lost to Kennedy Blades in the Challenge tourney final. Two months later, she earned a spot on the 2021 World Team with a pair of wins over Emma Bruntil. Once she got to the Worlds, Molinari defeated Mongolia’s Enkhjin Tuvshinjargal, Russia’s Dinaro Salikhova and France’s Koumba Larrouque before she lost to Japan’s Miwa Morikawa in the semifinals. She returned to beat Maryia Mamashuk of Belarus, 12-1, for her first World medal.

Mallory Velte avenged a U.S. Open loss to Emma Bruntil by winning two of three WTT Challenge final bouts in Coralville. (Sam Janicki photo)

Velte, 27, has qualified to compete in two World Championships and earned a bronze medal in the 2018 Worlds at 62 kilos (after also wrestling at the 2017 Worlds). But after losing to Kayla Miracle in the Best-of-3 World Team Trials final in 2021, the native of Sacramento, Calif., moved up to 65 kilos this spring. She lost 4-4 criteria to Emma Bruntil in the U.S. Open final, but came back to beat Bruntil in three matches at the World Team Trial Challenge tourney. She won the first match 5-2, lost 3-2 in the second and then blanked Bruntil 6-0 in the third bout.

 

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

Tuesday, May 24

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 25

MFS – 65k: Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan) vs Evan Henderson (Ohio RTC) 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. Alston 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

FUTURE PREVIEWS

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

 

 

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