By Brogan Louden
Following the conclusion of the US Open and World Team Trial Challengers Tournament, the matches for FINAL X have been officially determined. Each weight class will feature a best of three series; the first individual to win two matches, will earn their spot on the US World Team.
As in years' past, FINAL X will be a benefit event for Beat the Streets New York, serving as a fundraiser to help support youth wrestling programs. The event is set to take place this Saturday, June 10th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Men's freestyle, women's freestyle and Greco-Roman matches will each be contested, with the first session beginning at 2 pm EST, followed by an evening session at 6 pm EST.
57 kg: Thomas Gilman vs Zane Richards
Thomas Gilman, the defending World Champion, will look to take the first step in getting back to a gold medal at this years World Championships. He will first have to get past the likes of Zain Richards, who pieced together an impressive performance at the US Open, taking out Nick Suriano in the finals.
61 kg: Vito Arujau vs Nahshon Garrett
Two former Cornell NCAA Champions will meet here, in what is likely to be some action-packed matches. Arujau enters fresh off a dominant NCAA title run and US Open title. Vito was able to notch a win over Garrett at the US Open. However, after an impressive World Team Trial run for Nahshon, defeating Austin DeSanto and Dayton Fix, things could look a lot different this time around, especially with a world team spot on the line.
65 kg: Yianni Diakomihalis vs Nick Lee
In one of the most highly anticipated bouts of the night, two top-tier competitors will fight it out to represent the US. The last time these wrestlers competed at the 2020 Olympic Trials, it was Nick Lee that came out on top, scoring a 16-8 victory. However, Yianni is hot off his fourth NCAA Championship title, as well as the Pan-American title. He is the returning World silver medalist.
70 kg: Zain Retherford vs Tyler Berger
After a runner up finish at the 2022 World Championships, Zain Retherford will look to take the first step to getting back on the US team and securing another medal. Retherford will face the likes of Tyler Berger, who was able to capture the US Open title in a deep bracket.
74 kg: Kyle Dake vs Jason Nolf
In a rematch of last year's Final X matchup at 74 kg, now teammates, Kyle Dake and Jason Nolf will test each other for a World Team birth. Dake is the two time defending World Champion at 74 kg and will look to add another gold medal to his collection. Nolf comes in off an impressive and dominant performant at the US Open, however, and will look to push Dake to the brink. This matchup between two highly technical wrestlers with unbeatable gas tanks, should make for some action filled bouts that fans will not want to miss.
79 kg: Jordan Burroughs vs Chance Marsteller
Similar to the previous match, 79 kg will also feature a rematch of last year's Final X bout, between Jordan Burroughs and Chance Marsteller. Although Burroughs was able to best Marsteller, two matches to one in 2022, things could look a little different this time around. Chance comes in having won the US Open in a loaded field, taking out many highly regarded competitors. Will there be a new top dog at 79 kg, or will JB reclaim is illustrious thrown?
86 kg: David Taylor vs Aaron Brooks
In the second, all NLWC matchup of the night, reigning World and Olympic Champion, David Taylor, will take on teammate and Penn State great, Aaron Brooks. In a match that has already drawn much speculation in how close or distant these matches will be, it is definitely one that will draw great attention and answer a lot of questions.
92 kg: Mike Macchiavello vs Zahid Valencia
In a weight that many did not know what to expect, Mike Macchiavello and Zahid Valencia will face off after some shocking performances. Macchiavello was able to win the US Open title by securing a technical fall over Kollin Moore in the finals. On the other hand, Valencia made the finals of the US Open at 86 kg, where he fell to Aaron Brooks. He made the decision to move up to 92 kg for the World Team Trials Challengers Tournament, and he did not miss his mark. There, similar to Macchiavello, he would reach the finals and tech fall Kollin Moore.
97 kg: Kyle Snyder vs Jaden Cox
In one of the greater rivalries in US upper weight history, Kyle Snyder and Jaden Cox will face off for the spot at 97 kg. Cox made the decision to move up to 97 kg and challenge Snyder, after finishing with a silver medal at the 2022 World Championships. In the last meeting between the two, Snyder was able to get the best of Cox. However, a dominant performance at the US Open could propel Cox to be a real threat for this spot.
125 kg: Gable Steveson vs Mason Parris
Gable Steveson made his surprising return to wrestling at the US Open, and he did not disappoint. He was able to win the Open with ease, in dominant fashion. He will face Mason Parris at Final X, who he was able to secure a technical fall over at the US Open. Steveson is a true force at this weight and has proven himself as one of the best to do it.
50 kg: Sarah Hildebrandt vs Audrey Jiminez
53 kg: Dom Parrish vs Katie Gomez
55 kg: Alisha Hawk vs Jacarra Winchester
57 kg: Helen Maroulis vs Xochitl Mota-Pettis
59 kg: Michaela Beck vs Jennifer Page
62 kg: Kayla Miracle vs Adaugo Nwachukwu
65 kg: Mallory Velte vs Macey Kilty
68 kg: Forrest Molinari vs Emma Bruntil
72 kg: Amit Elor vs Joye Levendusky
76 kg: Kennedy Blades vs Adeline Gray
Returning World Team Members for the women's freestyle division include Sarah Hildebrandt, Dom Parrish, Jacarra Winchester, Helen Maroulis, Kayla Miracle, Mallory Velte and Amit Elor.
With the US returning seven World Team members (six medalists) from 2022, to Final X, they will be set to be in contention for a team title. Additionally, many of these women who are competing for their first time at Final X, could shake things up and make for a more interesting dynamic.
Some of the most notable matches will take place at 57, 62 and 76 kg. After an extremely impressive performance at the US Open, Xochitl Mota-Pettis, could pose as a serious threat towards Helen Maroulis, one of the greatest American wrestlers to ever compete. Mota-Pettis's undeniable pace and strength will present a real challenge.
Additionally, at 62 kg, Kayla Miracle, the returning World silver medalist, will have her hands full with Chain Wrestling Signature Athlete Adaugo Nwachukwu. Nwachukwu has recently exploded onto the scene, making those who step out onto the mat to face her regret it. This may be the most electric and action packed match of the night, between two highly credentialed competitors.
To round out the women's matches, Adeline Gray will get her shot at redemption against Kennedy Blades. Gray who had a tough time at the US Open, was
able to turn things around, in just a few short weeks, and put on quite a show at the World Team Trials Challengers Tournament. A rematch between Gray and Blades will be another trio of phenomenal matches, that fans will not want to miss.
55 kg: Brady Koontz vs Dalton Duffield
60 kg: Dalton Roberts vs Ildar Hafizov
63 kg: Hayden Tuma vs Xavier Johnson
67 kg: Robert Perez III vs Alejandro Sancho
72 kg: Justus Scott vs Patrick Smith
77 kg: Kamal Bey vs Aliaksandr Kikiniou
82 kg: Spencer Woods vs Ryan Epps
87 kg: Alan Vera vs Zachary Braunagel
97 kg: Josef Rau vs Christian Dulaney
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz vs Adam Coon
About the author: Brogan Louden
Brogan Louden, a 2022 graduate of Shippensburg University, is from the great state of Pennsylvania. Growing up his entire life surrounded by some of the best wrestling in the nation, he quickly discovered his strong passion and love for the sport. Now, he is looking to pursue a career in wrestling media to help bring more awareness and excitement to the sport.
Photo credit: Tony Rotundo/WrestlersAreWarriors.com