Updated: June 3, 2023

Note: Helen Maroulis earned a delay in her match with Xochiti Mota-Pettis

Welcome to Day 4 of WIN Magazine’s countdown to the 2023 Final X event, June 10, in Newark, N.J. And this preview of three weight classes — 70k in men’s freestyle, 57k in women’s freestyle and 67k in Greco-Roman wrestling — marks VII (7) days before the event that will send 30 wrestlers to the 2023 UWW World Championships this September in Belgrade, Serbia.

We also invite you to subscribe to WIN Magazine in time to receive the next issue of WIN, printed June 22, that will provide comprehensive coverage of this year’s Final X.

Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe.

Between May 31 and June 9, WIN is showcasing three weight classes per day. Click on previous previews and look forward to getting the lowdown on all 60 wrestlers who will compete in the Prudential Center.

  • June 4: VI (6) Days before Final X: 74k MFS, 59k WFS, 72k GR
  • June 5: V (5) Days before Final X: 79k MFS, 62k WFS, 77k GR
  • June 6: IV (4) Days before Final X: 86k MFS, 65k WFS, 82k GR
  • June 7: III (3) Days before Final X: 92k MFS, 68k WFS, 87k GR
  • June 8: II (2) Days before Final X: 97k MFS, 72k WFS, 97k GR
  • June 9: I (1) Day before Final X: 125k MFS, 76k WFS, 130k GR

June 3 Final X Previews

Men’s Freestyle – 70k/154lbs: Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Tyler Berger (Sunkist Kids WC/Pennsylvania RTC)

Zain Retherford

Retherford first made his national name while wrestling for Cael Sanderson at Penn State where Retherford won three NCAA titles and two Hodge Trophies between 2016 and 2018. On the international freestyle mats, Retherford, 28, has appeared on three Senior World teams; highlighted by a silver-medal performance last fall, which earned the native of Benton, Pa., an automatic berth in Final X. He also competed in the 2017 and 2019 World Championships as well as the 2012 Cadet Worlds when he won a gold medal before he won two PIAA state championships.

Tyler Berger

Berger, a 27-year-old native of Prineville, Ore., earned the other spot in Final X when he defeated Ohio State All-American Sammy Sasso, 10-9, in the U.S. Open final. Berger joined the Pennsylvania RTC last summer after an impressive college career at Nebraska, where he was a three-time All-American and finished as high as second during his senior season of 2021. He later remained in Lincoln as a volunteer coach while training in freestyle. An upset of Retherford in Newark would earn the former four-time Oregon state high school champ from Crook County his first World Team spot.

Women’s Freestyle – 57k/125.lbs: Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Xochiti Mota-Pettis (Rise RTC)

Helen Maroulis

Maroulis is one of the most successful women freestylers in U.S. history. She has won eight Olympic and World medals; the most notable moment coming in 2016 when she became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal by knocking off Japanese legend Saori Yoshida in Rio. But a couple years later, the current 31-year-old native of Rockville, Md., suffered debilitating concussions, which nearly ended her wrestling career. But after moving to Tempe, Ariz., Maroulis came back to win her third World championship in 2021 (the others coming in 2015 and 2017) and added an Olympic bronze medal in 2021 as well as a second World silver medal last fall. That second-place finish earned her an automatic berth into this year’s Final X.

Xochiti Mota-Pettis

Mota-Pettis, 23, earned her shot against the wrestling legend at Final X when the native of Humble, Texas, won by technical fall over 2022 Final X competitor Alex Hedrick at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas. The daughter of M. Allen Pettis and Luisa Mota won two Texas state championships for Klein High School. Her international experience is minimal, but she did win a Pan Am championship this spring.

Greco-Roman – 67k/147.5lbs: Robert Perez III (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Alejandro Sancho (U.S. Army WCAP)

Robert Perez III

With Sancho failing to medal in last year’s UWW World Championships, both he and Perez were forced to go through one of two qualifying tournaments, including the U.S. Open in Las Vegas where both men entered the tournament.

But Sancho, the 29-year-old native of Miami, who shook up the U.S. Greco world when he upset Ellis Coleman in the 2020 Olympic Trials final, got pinned by youngster Joel Adams in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Open. Perez, just 19 and seeded fourth at the Open, beat Adams in the semis, then won by an 8-0 technical fall over 2022 Final X champ Jesse Thielke to earn his first Final X berth.

Alejandro Sancho

Perez III, who won Pan Am Cadet gold in both freestyle and Greco in 2019, has competed in two age-group World Championships: the 2019 Cadet Worlds and the 2022 U20 Worlds, where he placed seventh.

Sancho, meanwhile, came back to win the World Team Trials Challenge tournament, winning by forfeit over Thielke in the finals, to return to Final X for a second straight year.