Updated: June 8, 2023

Tomorrow is Saturday, June 10, the day that 29 spots — 10 in men’s freestyle, 9 in women’s freestyle and 10 in Greco-Roman wrestling — will be filled at “Final X” in Newark, N.J., for Team USA that will compete in all three styles this September at the UWW World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. (This event will not include the 57k women’s freestyle match-up where Helen Maroulis has been given an extension with her meeting with Xochiti Mota-Pettis because of health issues.)

And today marks the final installment of WIN Magazine’s 10-day countdown to Final X with its “I (1) Day until Final X” preview of the largest weight classes per style: 125k in men’s freestyle, 76k in women’s freestyle and 130k in Greco-Roman. Check out this group of six wrestlers who may be the most credentialed of any of the groups as they collectively have already proven themselves on the world stage. Three have returned to Final X after they already earned World/Olympic medals before stepping away … and the other three shined in age-group World Championships.

The first round of matches begin at 2 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday with the second-round (and possible third-round) matches starting at 6 p.m. in the Prudential Center.

We also invite you to subscribe to WIN Magazine in time to receive WIN’s Final X Commemorative Issue, printed June 22, that will provide comprehensive coverage and a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Final X which crowns the best of the best in the U.S. for 2023 in each Senior-level weight class.

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The following is WIN’s daily preview of all 30 weight classes. Click on previous days to view those previews:

June 9 Final X Previews

Men’s Freestyle – 125k/275lbs: Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) vs. Mason Parris (Cliff Keen RTC)

Gable Steveson

Steveson, who has already accomplished so much at age 23 — winning an Olympic gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021) around the same time that he won three NCAA championships and two Hodge Trophies at the University of Minnesota — before “retiring” in 2022 to go into the WWE. But a desire to return to the international freestyle mat is one reason that the native of Apple Valley, Minn., chose to return this spring; starting in April when he dominated the U.S. Open field to earn the first spot at 125 kilos in Final X.

Parris, who is also 23, is well known in the U.S. wrestling community. He won an NCAA championship and Hodge Trophy this past winter for the University of Michigan. But the three-time All-American, who lost 12-1 to Steveson in the Open semifinals, got his spot in Final X after winning the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament one month later. Parris punched his ticket to Newark with a 6-2 victory over former World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski.

Mason Parris

If he wins, this would actually be the first time Steveson would represent the United States in the Senior World Championships after he lost to Gwiazdowski in the 2019 Final X. But the four-time Minnesota state champion has competed in multiple age-group Worlds; winning Cadet titles in 2015 and 2016 and a Junior World championship in 2017.

Parris, who wrestled at 220 pounds in at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) High School, also competed in an age-group Worlds; winning a gold medal in 2019 at the Junior level. Once he got to Ann Arbor, he grew into the heavyweight class as he qualified for four NCAA Championships and finished second to Steveson in 2022 before winning a championship this March in Tulsa.

Women’s Freestyle – 76k/167.5lbs: Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Adeline Gray (NYAC)

Kennedy Blades

Many wrestling observers felt that this weight class is the deepest in women’s wrestling and Blades, 19, proved it when she defeated several other talented wrestlers at the U.S. Open. That included a 12-2 technical fall in the finals against Gray, the six-time World champ. Like Steveson, Gray was also forced to go through qualifying tournaments after she stepped away from the sport in 2022 as she and husband Demaris Sanders became parents of twins. Despite the loss to Blades, the 32-year-old Gray came back to beat 2022 World Team member Dymond Guilford in the World Team Trials Challenge tournament and earned a rematch with Blades.

Adeline Gray

Blades and her sister Karina first made people take notice when the natives of Chicago, Ill., won Fargo championships, then attended Wyoming Seminary Prep School in Pennsylvania to end their high school careers. Along the way, Kennedy also won a Junior World championship in 2021. She and her sister then chose to move to Tempe, Ariz., and attend Arizona State while competing for the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club.

Of course, no American woman has earned more wrestling honors than Gray, the native of Denver, Colo., who first competed in three Junior Worlds (winning a gold in 2008 and a silver in 2011). She also earned the opportunity about this time to wrestle in eight Senior World Championships; winning a record six golds (2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2021) to go along with two World bronze medals (2011 and 2013). Gray also has competed in two Olympics in 2016 and 2020 (2021), earning a silver medal in Tokyo two years ago.

Greco-Roman – 130k/286lbs: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids WC) vs. Adam Coon (Cliff Keen RTC)

Cohlton Schultz

Schultz wrestled for the United States in the 2022 Worlds, but had to beat Coon, 11-0, in the finals of the U.S. Open to earn a third straight Final X appearance. Coon, meanwhile, came back to beat Donny Longendyke in the finals of the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament to also earn a spot in Final X.

To give some perspective to the careers of these two big men, Coon defeated Schultz 8-0 and 5-1 at the 2019 Final X, one year after the former Michigan All-American earned a silver medal in the 2018 World Championships. But Coon, who also was competing in freestyle about the same time (losing to Gwiazdowski in the 2018 Final X), also “retired” from the sport to focus on his academics while pursuing a career in the NFL.

Adam Coon

That gave an opening for Schultz — born the same day, Sept. 27, 2000, that Rulon Gardner upset Alexander Karelin in the Sydney Olympics — to become USA’s top Greco heavyweight while the native of Parker, Colo., has been wrestling for Arizona State. With a year of eligibility left, the Sun Devil has earned three All-American honors, including a second-place finish (against Steveson) in 2022.

Coon, 28, is a native of Fowlerville, Mich., who won four state championships while he also earned a Cadet World championship in 2011 and a bronze medal in the 2014 Junior Worlds.