NCAA champs Diakomihalis, Nickal advance to U.S. Open finals

Yianni Diakomihalis advanced to the finals at 65 kilograms (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

LAS VEGAS -- 2019 NCAA champions Yianni Diakomihalis and Bo Nickal have arrived on the senior level.

The 20-year-old Diakomihalis, a two-time Cadet world champion and two-time NCAA champion, put together an incredible run to the finals of the U.S. Open in freestyle at 65 kilograms on Friday at South Point Arena in Las Vegas.

Hours after dominating Olympic fifth-place finisher Frank Molinaro 10-3 in the quarterfinals, the Cornell sophomore claimed a 16-5 technical fall over returning U.S. Open champion Jordan Oliver in the semifinals.

He now faces 2017 World Team member Zain Retherford in the finals. Retherford has been untested, claiming three technical falls and a 11-3 victory in the semifinals over Jaydin Eierman.

Nickal, who recently captured his third NCAA title, picked up two falls and two technical falls to reach the finals at 92 kilograms. In the semifinals, Nickal secured a 14-4 technical fall over 2018 NCAA champion Michael Macchiavello. His finals opponent will be Hayden Zillmer, who reached Final X last year.

At 70 kilograms, two-time world medalist James Green scored a late takedown to edge three-time NCAA champion Jason Nolf 6-6 on criteria. Nolf led by two with 10 seconds remaining before Green scored a takedown on the edge of the mat and held on for the criteria victory.

Green faces surprise finalist Ryan Deakin in the finals. Deakin, a 2017 Junior world silver medalist, came through as the No. 10 seed. He topped No. 2 seed Jason Chamberlain 12-3 in the quarterfinals before defeating sixth-seeded Alec Pantaleo 8-4 in the semifinals.

At 57 kilograms, Thomas Gilman, a 2017 world silver medalist, dominated Nathan Tomasello in the semifinals, claiming a victory by disqualification. Gilman built a 9-0 lead before Tomasello was cautioned for the third time, which ended the match. On the other side of the 57-kilogram bracket, Daton Fix reached the finals by defeating Darian Cruz 2-0, setting up a rematch from last year's Final X at 57 kilograms.

Nico Megaludis reached the finals at 61 kilograms (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Top-seeded Nico Megaludis advanced to the finals at 61 kilograms after a dominant 10-1 victory over Cory Clark in the semifinals. He will face sixth-seeded Cody Brewer in the finals.

The top two seeds advanced to the finals at 74 kilograms, Isaiah Martinez and Thomas Gantt. Martinez, who fell to Jordan Burroughs at Final X last year, claimed a 13-0 technical fall over Brian Murphy in the semifinals. Gantt topped Anthony Valencia 10-6 in the semifinals.

At 79 kilograms, Alex Dieringer and Chance Marsteller reached the finals. Both claimed 10-0 technical falls in the semifinals. The two were teammates for one year at Oklahoma State.

Pat Downey, a 2012 Junior world silver medalist, stormed back to beat four-time All-American Myles Martin in the semifinals at 86 kilograms. Martin led 7-0 with 90 seconds remaining before Downey scored nine unanswered points to take the victory. He will meet fourth-seeded Nick Heflin in the finals.

Top-seeded Kyven Gadson, who reached Final X last year, advanced to the finals at 97 kilograms with a 10-0 technical fall in the semifinals. Gadson has picked up three technical falls and outscored his opponents 30-0. He will face third-seeded Ben Honis in the finals. Honis rolled into the championship match with a convincing 11-3 win over Ty Walz.

At 125 kilograms, Adam Coon, a world silver medalist in Greco-Roman last year, blanked NCAA runner-up Derek White 6-0 in the semifinals. In the bottom side of the 125-kilogram bracket, two-time NCAA champion Tony Nelson defeated 2009 Junior world champion Dom Bradley 3-1.

Semifinal results

57 kilograms:
Thomas Gilman def. Nathan Tomasello by DQ
Daton Fix dec. Darian Cruz, 2-0

61 kilograms:
Nico Megaludis dec. Cory Clark, 10-1
Cody Brewer tech. fall Joey Palmer, 11-0 3:52

65 kilograms:
Yianni Diakomihalis tech. fall Jordan Oliver, 16-5 5:27
Zain Retherford dec. Jaydin Eierman, 11-3

70 kilograms:
James Green dec. Jason Nolf, 6-6
Ryan Deakin dec. Alec Pantaleo, 8-4

74 kilograms:
Isaiah Martinez tech. fall Brian Murphy, 13-0 3:34
Thomas Gantt dec. Anthony Valencia, 11-5

79 kilograms:
Alex Dieringer tech. fall Geno Morelli, 10-0 1:09
Chance Marsteller tech. fall Stacey Davis, 10-0 4:41

86 kilograms:
Nick Heflin dec. Sam Brooks, 5-3
Pat Downey dec. Myles Martin, 9-7

92 kilograms:
Hayden Zillmer dec. Kollin Moore, 12-7
Bo Nickal tech. fall Michael Macchiavello, 14-4 4:13

97 kilograms:
Kyven Gadson tech. fall Michael Boykin, 10-0 4:50
Ben Honis dec. Ty Walz, 11-3

125 kilograms:
Adam Coon dec. Derek White, 6-0
Tony Nelson dec. Dom Bradley, 3-1


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