The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
2022 World Team almost set; Zillmer provided biggest upset at Final X NYC
Photo: Hayden Zillmer (right) held off Nick Gwiazdowski at the end of the third and final men’s freestyle bout at 125 kilos during Final X in New York City. Zillmer, who competed at 92 kilos a year ago, rallied to beat the two-time World bronze medalist for his first World Team berth. (Justin Hoch photo).
By Mike Finn
Former World champions Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, Helen Maroulis and David Taylor were among the latest American wrestlers to qualify for this September’s UWW World Championship after winning their weight classes Wednesday night in New York City. However, four other wrestlers earned their first World trips for Team USA, including heavyweight Hayden Zillmer, who turned in perhaps the biggest upset at Final X.
Overall, 29 of the 30 spots over three styles have been filled after the two Final X competitions — 15 from the June 3 Final X in Stillwater, Okla., and 14 from the June 8 Final X in New York City — for the Sept. 10-18 Worlds in Belgrade Serbia. The final spot at 62 kilos in women’s freestyle will be determined at a later date after 2021 World silver medalist Kayla Miracle was unable to compete against Jennifer Rogers in NYC because of an injury.
The following are the results and highlights of Final X New York City, which took place June 8 in Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre.
Best-of-3 MEN’S FREESTYLE SERIES
65 kg MFS – Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan Combat/TMWC) defeated Evan Henderson (Ohio RTC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Diakomihalis dec. Henderson, 11-9; Bout 2 – Diakomihalis won by TF over Henderson, 14-4, 3:48
The three-time NCAA champion from Cornell qualified for his second straight World Championships; first by rallying to beat the former North Carolina All-American by scoring a stepout with two seconds left, then scored four takedowns en route to a technical fall in the second match. Henderson, who reached Final X after an impressive World Team Trials as a No. 8 seed, scored a pair of defensive turns and led 9-8 in the closing seconds of the first bout before giving up a pair of stepouts; the second when Diakomihalis lifted him and deposited him out of bounds with two seconds left.
74 kg MFS – Kyle Dake (Spartan Combat RTC/TMWC) defeated Jason Nolf (NLWC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Dake dec. Nolf, 4-2; Bout 2 – Dake dec. Nolf, 2-1
Dake, a three-time World champ and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist, defeated the former three-time NCAA champ from Penn State when a stepout with 1:39 left provided the winning margin in the second match. Dake, the former four-time NCAA champ from Cornell, trailed 2-1 with 2:16 left in the second period of the first bout (after a takedown by Nolf) but rallied with a stepout and caution-and-1 in the closing minute.
79 kg MFS – Jordan Burroughs (Pennsylvania RTC/Sunkist Kids) defeated Chance Marsteller (TMWC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Burroughs dec. Marsteller, 4-0; Bout 2 – Marsteller dec. Burroughs, 2-2; Bout 3 – Burroughs dec. Marsteller, 5-0
Burroughs, the five-time World champ and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, qualified for his 11thWorld/Olympic tournament by scoring three stepouts and takedown with two minutes left in the third-and-deciding bout. Marsteller, the former NCAA All-American from Lock Haven and WTT champ, forced a third match when an arm-spin gave him a 2-0 lead and provided the winning criteria in the second bout. Burroughs’ double-leg takedown helped him blank Marsteller in the first. All three matches were delayed by blood timeouts by both wrestlers.
86 kg MFS – David Taylor (NLWC/TMWC) defeated Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Taylor dec. Valencia, 4-2; Bout 2 – Taylor tech. fall Valencia, 10-0, 4:51
Taylor, who won Olympic gold and World silver a year ago (three years after also winning a World title in 2018), earned another World Team berth when he scored three takedowns in the second match between these former two-time NCAA champs from Penn State and Arizona State. Taylor trailed Valencia 2-0 at the break (after a stepout and failed shot-clock) of the first match before he rallied with a pair of stepouts and a takedown with 33 seconds left.
125 kg MFS – Hayden Zillmer (Gopher WC – RTC) defeated Nick Gwiazdowski (Spartan Combat RTC/TMWC), two matches to one
Bout 1– Gwiazdowski dec. Zillmer, 5-0; Bout 2 – Zillmer dec. Gwiazdowski, 4-3; Bout 3 – Zillmer dec. Gwiazdowski, 5-5
Zillmer, who wrestled at 92 kilos in the 2021 World Team Trials, may have provided the biggest surprise of both Final X locations when the former NCAA All-American from North Dakota State rallied to win the second and third matches. Gwizadowski, the former NCAA champ from NC State and two-time World bronze medalist, dominated the first match with a pair of takedowns.
Gwiz led the second match 3-0 at the break before Zillmer scored a takedown, stepout and caution-and-1 in the final 33 seconds. Zillmer trailed 5-0 after a takedown and crotch-lift in the final match before the Minnesota native scored two takedowns and a stepout in the final 52 seconds.
Best-of-3 GRECO-ROMAN SERIES
60 kg GR – Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) dec. Dalton Roberts (Army WCAP), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Hafizov dec. Roberts, 11-7; Bout 2 – Roberts dec. Hafizov, 3-2; Bout 3 – Hafizov dec. Roberts, 4-1
Hafizov avenged a loss to Roberts in the 2021 World Team Trials when he used a double overhook for a match-clinching takedown in the third bout. Hafizov, the immigrant from Uzbekistan, who competed in the Tokyo Olympics, rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win the first match when he scored a four-point throw with 1:19 left. Roberts, who competed in last fall’s Worlds, forced a third match when he countered a Hafizov throw in the final minute of the second match.
67 kg GR – Alejandro Sancho (Army WCAP) dec. Alston Nutter (Sunkist Kids), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Sancho dec. Nutter, 10-9; Bout 2 – Sancho dec. Nutter, 5-2
Sancho, the 2020 Olympian, rallied to beat Nutter for his first World Team spot on a four-point throw with 16 second left in the first match. The Miami, Fla., native clinched a World spot by scoring a reversal, a gut-wrench and a takedown to lead 5-1 at the intermission in the second match.
77 kg GR – Kamal Bey (Army WCAP) dec. Britton Holmes (Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Bey pinned Holmes, 5:12; Bout 2 – Bey pinned Holmes, 6:00
Bey, the native of Bellwood, Ill., qualified for his second Worlds (first since 2018), but was actually trailing 3-0 in his first match against the Colorado native before Bey scored the final seven points, including a four-point throw at the end that also put Holmes on his back.
In the second match, Bey was only leading 2-0 at the break before executing a pair of takedowns, including a bear hug in the closing seconds that also put Holmes on his back for a second straight pin.
87 kg GR – Alan Vera (NYAC) dec. Timothy Young (Illinois), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Vera pinned Young, 1:00; Bout 2 – Vera won by TF over Young, 9-1, 2:49
Vera, the 31-year-old immigrant from Cuba, qualified for his second straight Worlds by dominating his opponent from Illinois. In the first match, Vera’s second takedown put Young on his back for the eventual fall. In the second bout, Vera — now a resident of New Jersey — jumped out on top 4-0 after a takedown led to back points. Young responded with a reversal before Vera added a passivity point, a turn from par terre and a pair of stepouts.
97 kg GR – G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist Kids) dec. Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC/Sunkist Kids), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Hancock won by TF over Amos, 8-0, 2:06; Bout 2 – Hancock dec. Amos, 8-2
Hancock, who claimed USA’s first World medal since 2018 with a bronze-medal performance last fall, had no issues with the Wisconsin sophomore and native of West Virginia in the first match; using a high gut to turn Amos three times for the technical fall. In the second bout, Hancock, the native of Colorado, led only 5-2 at the break before he used a passivity point and two-point gut for his final points.
Hancock, who also wrestled in last summer’s Olympics, has now qualified for five Senior Worlds. The 2016 Junior bronze medalist also wrestled in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Best-of-3 WOMEN’S FREESTYLE SERIES
50 kg WFS – Sarah Hildebrandt (USOPTC/NYAC) dec. Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Hildebrandt tech fall Lampe, 10-0, 1:31; Bout 2 – Hildebrandt tech. fall Lampe, 10-0, 2:12
Hildebrandt, who earned a second World silver medal last fall two months after claiming Olympic bronze, had no trouble against the former two-time World bronze medalist.
In the first match, the native of Indiana, turned Lampe three times with a leg-lace after scoring a second takedown. In the second bout, Hildebrandt used a pair of trap-arm guts after a second takedown before ending the bout with her second throw-by takedown of Lampe.
53 kg WFS – Dominique Parrish (Sunkist Kids) dec. Felicity Taylor (Bearcat RTC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Parrish dec. Taylor, 7-2; Bout 2 – Parrish dec. Taylor, 8-2
Parrish, a native of Scotts Valley, Calif., and two-time U23 World competitor, earned her first Senior Worlds berth. In the first match, Parrish scored three takedowns, the final coming shortly after Taylor cut the margin to 5-2 with 14 seconds left. In the second bout, Parris scored four takedowns to build an 8-0 lead.
57 kg WFS – Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids) dec. Alexandra Hedrick (USOPTC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Maroulis won by TF over Hedrick, 10-0, 2:59; Bout 2 – Maroulis won by TF over Hedrick 10-0, 4:49
Maroulis, 30, has now qualified for 11 World/Olympic tourneys and will head to Serbia with seven medals: Olympic gold in 2016 and bronze in 2020; and three World championships, the latest coming last fall.
At Final X, the native of Maryland showed her experience many times against her 23-year-old opponent. In the first match, Maroulis scored three takedowns, including a four-pointer at the end of the first period off a counter. The second match looked similar when she scored a pair of four-point throws, the second coming off an inside trip to end the bout.
72 kg WFS – Amit Elor (NYC RTC/TMWC) dec. Skylar Grote (Beaver Dam RTC/NYAC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Elor won by TF over Grote, 10-0, 5:17; Bout 2 – Elor won by TF over Grote, 10-0, 5:33
Elor, coached by Valentin Kalika (who mentored Helen Maroulis to Olympic gold in 2016), scored five takedowns in the first match. The 2021 World champ at the U17 tourney and U20 championship captured her first Senior World berth with four more takedowns in the second bout, including three in the second period.
The following are the other 15 weight classes that were contested June 3 in Stillwater, Okla.
Best-of-3 Men’s Freestyle Final X Stillwater Matches
57 kg MFS – Thomas Gilman (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC) defeated Vitali Arujau (Spartan Combat RTC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Gilman won by TF over Arujau, 12-2, 5:15; Bout 2 – Gilman won by TF over Arujau, 14-2, 5:09
61 kg MFS –Seth Gross (Sunkist Kids) defeated Daton Fix (Cowboy RTC/TMWC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Fix dec. Gross, 5-5 (criteria); Bout 2 – Gross dec. Fix, 5-4; Bout 3 – Gross dec. Fix, 9-5
70 kg MFS – Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC) defeated Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Retherford dec. Oliver, 8-3; Bout 2 – Oliver dec. Retherford, 5-4; Bout 3 – Retherford dec. Oliver, 4-3
92 kg MFS – J’den Cox (Cliff Keen WC/TMWC) defeated Nathan Jackson (New Jersey RTC/NYAC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Cox dec. Jackson, 4-2; Bout 2 – Jackson dec. Cox, 3-2; Bout 3 – Cox dec. Jackson, 3-0
97 kg MFS – Kyle Snyder (Nittany Lion WC/TMWC) dec. Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Snyder won by TF over Moore, 11-0, 3:37; Bout 2 – Snyder won by TF over Moore, 12-2, 5:46
Best-of-3 Women’s Freestyle Final X Stillwater Matches
55 kg WFS – Jacarra Winchester (USOPTC/TMWC) defeated Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP), two matches to one.
Bout 1 – Burkert dec. Winchester, 6-4; Bout 2 – Winchester won by injury default over Burkert, 2:24; Bout 3 – Winchester won by injury default over Burkert, 0:00 (match not held)
59 kg WFS – Abigail Nette (Army WCAP) defeated Lexie Basham (Spartan Mat Club), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Nette dec. Basham, 12-4; Bout 2 – Nette dec. Basham, 8-5
65 kg WFS – Mallory Velte (Beaver Dam RTC/TMWC) dec. Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Velte dec. Molinari, 9-1; Bout 2 – Molinari dec. Velte, 3-1; Bout 3 – Velte won by TF over Molinari, 10-0, 1:33
68 kg WFS – Tamyra Mensah Stock (USOPTC/TMWC) defeated Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon RTC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Mensah Stock won by TF over Ramirez, 14-3, 5:56; Bout 2 – Mensah Stock won by TF over Ramirez, 10-0, 4:37
76 kg WFS – Dymond Guilford (USOPTC/TMWC) defeated Yelena Makoyed (Cardinal WC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Guilford dec. Makoyed, 10-5; Bout 2 – Guilford won by TF over Makoyed, 12-2 (4:47)
Best-of-3 Greco-Roman Final X Stillwater Matches
55 kg GR – Max Nowry (Army WCAP) defeated Brady Koontz (Ohio RTC/TMWC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Nowry dec. Koontz, 1-1; Bout 2 – Nowry dec. Koontz, 1-1
63 kg GR – Jesse Thielke (Army WCAP) defeated Sammy Jones (NYAC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Thielke dec. Jones, 4-4; Bout 2 – Thielke dec. Jones, 3-2
72 kg GR – Benjamin Peak (Sunkist Kids) defeated Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Smith dec. Peak, 5-3; Bout 2 – Peak dec. Smith, 3-2; Bout 3 – Peak dec. Smith, 6-2
82 kg GR – Ben Provisor (NYAC) defeated Spencer Woods (Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Provisor won by TF over Woods, 8-0, 1:52; Bout 2 – Provisor dec. Woods, 5-3
130 kg GR – Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids WC) defeated Tanner Farmer (NYAC) two matches to none.
Bout 1 – Schultz dec. Farmer, 5-1; Bout 2 – Schultz dec. Farmer, 5-2