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• A pair of former Ohio State stars — one an Olympic and World champ, the other a multiple-time All-American — meet in a repeat of the 2020 Olympic Trials final.
• Greco’s first World medalist in four years faces a talented young star in another rematch from the 2020 Olympic Trials.
• Women’s freestyle at 72 kilos features a pair of wrestlers who moved across the country to train.
These are three storylines from WIN’s ninth 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.)
Wednesday, June 1
MFS – 97k: Kyle Snyder (NLWC) vs. Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater
This is a rematch of the 2020 Olympic Trials best-of-3 final, where Snyder won 10-0 and 5-1 in Fort Worth, Texas, in April of 2021.
One has to remember that Snyder, a native of Maryland is only 26 years old. Snyder has been extremely successful at the Senior level despite his age since he won the first of two World championships in 2015 (followed by a second World title in 2017) and an Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016. This was about the time he won three NCAA championships (at Hwt) for Ohio State (2016-18) before he claimed silver medals at the 2018 Worlds, 2020 Olympics and 2021 Worlds (all losses to Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev, whom Snyder beat for the 2017 World title). In 2019, Snyder joined the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.
Like Snyder, Moore developed at Ohio State, where this 25-year-old native of Creston, Ohio, was a three-time All-American and finished as high as second in 2019. The pandemic cancelled his final shot at the NCAA podium and the elusive NCAA title in 2020.
In freestyle, Moore competed in two Junior Worlds, claiming a bronze in his second competition in 2017, before he claimed a silver medal in the U23 Worlds in 2018. He also won a Senior National championship in 2020. At the recent World Team Trials Challenge tournament, Moore defeated Jason Carter, 10-0, and Timothy Dudley, 7-4, before he swept both of his final bouts against Michael Macchiavello, 10-0 and 6-0.
GR – 97k: Tracy G’Angelo Hancock vs. Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC) at June 8 Final X in New York City
This is a rematch of the best-of-3 2020 Olympic Trials final, which Hancock won by identical technical fall scores of 8-0, 8-0, in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Hancock, 24, won a bronze medal in Oslo, Norway last fall; becoming the first American Greco-Roman wrestler on the Senior level since 2018 silver medalist Adam Coon to win a World medal. That placement also earned Hancock an automatic spot in the 2022 Final X.
Hancock also competed in last summer’s Olympics, where he split a pair of matches, beating Mihail Kajaia of Serbia, 5-1, before losing 4-3 to Poland’s Tadeusz Michalick, 4-3, in Tokyo.
The native of Fountain, Colo., also competed in three other Senior Worlds in 2017 (13th), 2018 (23rd) and 2019 (15th), as well as two Junior Worlds (2016, bronze; and 2017, 7th) and two U23 Worlds (10th in 2017 and 17th in 2018).
Amos, 21, also has created a strong international resume at a young age as the five-time Fargo champ and native of Parkersburg, West Va., won Junior World medals in two styles in 2021; claiming gold in freestyle and bronze in Greco-Roman.
Collegiately, this past winter at Wisconsin, he finished 18-10 and was 10th at the Big Tens. He did qualify for the NCAAs, where he won one of three matches.
Amos spoke about how this tough college season was, which also played a part in him choosing to focus on just Greco-Roman this spring, but will train in freestyle again in the future.
“After the NCAAs, coaches gave us our time off, but then sat down and talked with them about what needed to change as far as training and how I’m eating and living in general,” said Amos, whose coaches are Wisconsin’s Chris Bono and Jon Reader. “They said we are doing this right and don’t have time to train in both styles. I will continue to wrestle in freestyle in the future, but we only had about two to three weeks to train and I did not have the conditioning built up.
“College has opened up a lot of opportunities, but I wasn’t ready for life,” said Amos (about his first year in Madison). “There were a lot of things happening behind the scenes that knocked me down a little bit and this past season knocked me down even more. I thought that I had faced adversity, but life gave me a reality check and I realized that I wasn’t the biggest, baddest dude anymore. I had the same expectations for myself that the Wisconsin fanbase did. As much as they didn’t like me after losing some of those (college) matches, I hated myself even worse. I know the sacrifices I’ve made. I turned 21 last month. I sat and wrote a paper and watched Greco film. How many 21-year-olds can say that?”
WRS – 72k: Skyler Grote (Dam RTC/NYAC) vs. Amit Elor (NYC/TMWC) at June 8 Final X in New York City
Grote, 24, has enjoyed a strong wrestling career that included attending Blair Academy in her native New Jersey. She now calls Corvallis, Ore., her home as she wrestles for the Beaver Dam RTC. During her career, she was a four-time Fargo All-American, finished fifth in the 2019 World Team Trials, one year later finished second in the Senior Nationals and was a U23 National champion.
This has been a strong year for Grote, who first won a U.S. Open in April, then earned her first Final X appearance with a technical fall at the World Team Trials. This came after she no longer could compete at 65 kilos.
“I took about eight months off (from competing after the 2021 World Team Trials),” said Grote. “Five weeks from the U.S. Open, we really dialed in on my training. After I made 65 kilos, my body kind of rejected that weight. I need my body to calm down a little bit and wrestle at a weight that was better for me. I feel that my weight is better at 72 kilos. I needed a mental and physical break.”
Fewer young women wrestlers had a better 2021 than Elor, 19, a native of California, who won both the U17 and U20 World Championships last summer; two years after she also claimed a bronze medal at the U17 Worlds. She used that momentum to score a 12-2 technical fall over Marlynne Deede at the WTT Challenge Tournament for a spot in Final X.
Elor had been training with well-known coach Valentin Kalika about the time Kalika was coaching Helen Maroulis before the 2016 Olympics.
“Two years later, he invited me to train with him in New York,” said Elor, who has been studying independently as a high school student. “That’s when my wrestling really started to elevate. I got more one-on-one time to work with him. He’s an amazing coach who really knows how to adapt what he is teaching, based on what an athlete is good at. I have a strong grip and heavy hands so we’ve been working on things like that.”
Click on Previous Dates to preview those weight classes.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 – 65k: Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Mallory Velte (BDRT) at June 3 Final X in Stillwater
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
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