Isaiah Martinez defeated Jason Nolf to earn a spot in Final X (Photo/Larry Slater)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Four of the 10 champions crowned on Sunday in the freestyle competition at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament will be making return trips to Final X.
2018 Final X participants Thomas Gilman (57 kilograms), James Green (70 kilograms), Isaiah Martinez (74 kilograms) and Kyven Gadson (97 kilograms) claimed titles on Sunday in Raleigh, N.C.
Three 2019 U.S. Open champions advanced to Final X: Alex Dieringer (79 kilograms), Pat Downey (86 kilograms) and Bo Nickal (92 kilograms).
The other champions crowned on Sunday included Tyler Graff (61 kilograms), Zain Retherford (65 kilograms) and Gable Steveson (125 kilograms).
Gilman, a 2017 world silver medalist, earned his spot in Final X by controlling Darian Cruz in two matches. Gilman blanked Cruz 4-0 in the first match and took the second match 5-2.
He will face U.S. Open champion Daton Fix at Final X. Gilman defeated Fix at last year's Final X, but Fix came back to defeat Gilman at this year's U.S. Open.
"I think I just need to keep doing the things I'm doing and read the referee and wrestle just a little bit smarter," said Gilman. "I gave up a couple points that I really just didn't need to give up. I need to read the referee a little bit better. If I do that, then I'm doing pretty good."
Green, a two-time world medalist, picked up a 10-0 technical fall over 2019 NCAA champion Anthony Ashnault in their opening match at 70 kilograms. Ashnault sustained an injury in the match and was forced to forfeit the second match, giving Green the victory and berth in Final X. He will meet U.S. Open champion Ryan Deakin.
Martinez needed three matches to top three-time NCAA champion Jason Nolf at 74 kilograms. The first match went to Martinez, 7-4. Nolf, who recently moved up from 70 kilograms, battled back to win the second match, scoring with a four-point move as time expired for a come-from-behind 7-5 victory. Martinez closed it out the series by winning the third and deciding match by technical fall, 12-2. He will now face Olympic champion and multiple-time world champion Jordan Burroughs at Final X.
"I feel good," said Martinez. "I'm in a good place. I'm so excited to see where I'm at and try to win this and be the best in the world because that's ultimately what I want."
Dieringer exacted revenge on Zahid Valencia from last year's World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. A year ago, Valencia dominated Dieringer, outscoring him 12-1 to earn a spot in Final X. This year it was all Dieringer as he claimed two straight technical falls over Valencia, outscoring him 24-3. Dieringer will meet returning world champion Kyle Dake at Final X.
Downey, who won his first U.S. Open title in April, added a World Team Trials Challenge Tournament title to his resume by defeating Nick Heflin in two straight matches at 86 kilograms. Downey used a late takedown to win the first match 6-2 before closing out the series with a 4-0 victory. He will face world champion David Taylor at Final X.
Nickal, a Dan Hodge Trophy winner and U.S. Open champion this year, was dominant in picking up two straight shutout victories over Michael Macchiavello. After claiming a 10-0 technical fall in the first match, Nickal closed out the series with a 5-0 win. Next up for Nickal: a meeting with world champion J'den Cox at Final X.
Three-time age group world champion Gable Steveson advanced to Final X with a dominant victory over U.S. Open champion Adam Coon. Steveson, who placed third at the NCAAs this past season, claimed a technical fall in the first match and won 8-1 in the second match. He will meet Nick Gwiazdowski at Final X.
Tyler Graff secured his spot in Final X at 61 kilograms by defeating U.S. Open champion Cody Brewer in two straight matches. The first match saw 38 points scored, with Graff coming out on top 22-16. Graff then earned a fall over Brewer to close out the series. Graff will take on returning world medalist Joe Colon at Final X.
At 65 kilograms, Zain Retherford, a 2017 World Team member, advanced to Final X against Yianni Diakomihalis by edging Jordan Oliver in two matches. Oliver led 6-1 in the opening match before Retherford came back to win 7-6. Retherford then closed out the series with another 7-6 win.
Freestyle best-of-three finals results
57 kilograms: Thomas Gilman over Darian Cruz, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Gilman dec. Cruz, 4-0
Match 2: Gilman dec. Cruz, 5-2
61 kilograms: Tyler Graff over Cody Brewer, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Graff dec. Brewer, 22-16
Match 2: Graff pinned Brewer
65 kilograms: Zain Retherford over Jordan Oliver, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Retherford dec. Oliver, 7-6
Match 2: Retherford dec. Oliver, 7-6
70 kilograms: James Green over Anthony Ashnault, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Green tech fall Ashnault, 10-0
Match 2: Green by forfeit over Ashnault
74 kilograms: Isaiah Martinez over Jason Nolf, 2 matches to 1
Match 1: Martinez dec. Nolf, 9-4
Match 2: Nolf dec. Martinez, 7-5
Match 3: Martinez tech. fall Nolf, 12-2
79 kilograms: Alex Dieringer over Zahid Valencia, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Dieringer tech. fall Valencia, 12-1
Match 2: Dieringer tech. fall Valencia, 12-2
86 kilograms: Pat Downey over Nick Heflin, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Downey dec. Heflin, 6-2
Match 2: Downey dec. Heflin, 4-0
92 kilograms: Bo Nickal over Michael Macchiavello, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Nickal tech. fall Macchiavello, 10-0
Match 2: Nickal dec. Macchiavello, 5-0
97 kilograms: Kyven Gadson over Ty Walz, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Gadson dec. Walz, 3-2
Match 2: Gadson dec. Walz, 3-0
125 kilograms: Gable Steveson vs. Adam Coon
Match 1: Steveson tech. fall Coon, 13-3
Match 2: Steveson dec. Coon, 8-1