Returning world medalists Cox, Gwiazdowski, Mensah-Stock earn spots on World Team

Nick Gwiazdowski (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Three returning world medalists earned spots on the 2019 U.S. World Team on Saturday at Final X: Rutgers.

World champion J'den Cox (92 kilograms), along with world bronze medalists Nick Gwiazdowski (125 kilograms) and Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kilograms), were among the seven champions crowned in the final session of Final X: Rutgers.

The 24-year-old Cox won in two straight matches over 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy winner Bo Nickal at 92 kilograms. Cox claimed a 4-2 victory in the first match. In the second match, Cox blanked Nickal 5-0 to earn his fourth straight spot on a World or Olympic Team.

"He's a great wrestler," Cox said of Nickal. "He presented a lot of challenges. I think that he's going to be really tough in the future."

Gwiazdowski, a two-time returning world bronze medalist, defeated three-time age-group world champion Gable Steveson in two straight matches at 125 kilograms. Gwiazdowski won both matches on criteria. He took the first match 4-4, scoring a takedown in the final period. He claimed the second match 3-3 on the strength of a late reversal.

"I've been through this," said Gwiazdowski. "It's a different challenge. But they challenge me in different ways to be a master of this sport. There are things I haven't faced before. I was prepared for them. I focus on those things. I was confident in what I was doing."

Mensah-Stock won in two straight matches over WCWA national champion Alexandria Glaude at 68 kilograms. Mensah-Stock, the only American wrestler ever to win three Yarygin Grand Prix gold medals, secured a fall in the first match after building a 6-0 lead. She closed out the victory with a 10-0 technical fall.

At 50 kilograms in the women's wrestling competition, Whitney Conder made her fourth World Team by beating Victoria Anthony in two straight matches. Conder, a six-time U.S. Open champion, took the first match 7-4 before earning a first-period fall in the second match to close out the victory.

"I'm not just trying to wrestle one person ... It's the world," said Conder. "So I have to improve every position as much as I can."

Forrest Molinari came back to defeat Maya Nelson (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

World fifth-place finisher Forrest Molinari came from behind to defeat 2017 Junior world champion Maya Nelson at 65 kilograms to earn a spot back on the World Team. Nelson claimed a 5-3 victory in the first match before Molinaro came back to win by technical fall in the second match and 4-1 in the third and deciding match.

Zain Retherford defeated Yianni Diakomihalis in two straight matches (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

2017 World Team member Zain Retherford punched his ticket to the World Championships by beating U.S. Open champion Yianni Diakomihalis at 65 kilograms in two straight matches, avenging a U.S. Open finals loss. Retherford rolled to a 10-4 victory in the first match before closing out the victory with a 6-6 victory on criteria.

"Yianni is a great opponent," said Retherford. "Shooting on his legs is dangerous, but I know I've got to take that risk or else I'm not going to beat him. So that is kind of my thought … just to keep going."

Pat Smith bounced back to defeat 2017 Junior world champion Kamal Bey at 77 kilograms. Bey rolled to an 11-2 technical fall in the first match. But Smith came back to win the final two matches by scores of 3-2 and 6-3. It's the second time in three years Smith has made a World Team. Bey defeated Smith at the U.S. Open in April.

"I'm focused on giving everything I have, being the best possible version I can of me," said Smith. "That's the No. 1 goal. The results follow that. The biggest thing is wrestle well."

Freestyle results

65 kilograms: Zain Retherford over Yianni Diakomihalis, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Retherford dec. Diakomihalis, 10-4
Match 2: Retherford dec. Diakomihalis, 6-6

92 kilograms: J'den Cox over Bo Nickal, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Cox dec. Nickal, 4-2
Match 2: Cox dec. Nickal, 5-0

125 kilograms: Nick Gwiazdowski over Gable Steveson, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Gwiazdowski dec. Steveson, 4-4
Match 2: Gwiazdowski dec. Steveson, 3-3

Women's wrestling results

50 kilograms: Whitney Conder over Victoria Anthony, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Conder dec. Anthony, 7-4
Match 2: Conder pin Anthony, 1:57

65 kilograms: Forrest Molinari over Maya Nelson, 2 matches to 1
Match 1: Nelson dec. Molinari, 5-3
Match 2: Molinari tech. fall Nelson, 12-2
Match 3: Molinari dec. Nelson, 4-1

68 kilograms: Tamyra Mensah-Stock over Alexandria Glaude, 2 matches to 0
Match 1: Mensah-Stock pin Glaude, 4:50
Match 2: Mensah-Stock tech. fall Glaude, 10-0

Greco-Roman results

77 kilograms: Pat Smith over Kamal Bey, 2 matches 1
Match 1: Bey tech. fall Smith. 11-2
Match 2: Smith dec. Bey, 2-1
Match 3: Smith dec. Bey, 6-3


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timjhart (1) about 4 months ago
Anyone can't comment on the Zain/Yanni challenge?
Brick seemed late...too late to overturn action that occurred 58 seconds previously in the match.
dbestsport (2) about 4 months ago
The rule states: Challenge Rule b.) Via a challenge, the wrestler is allowed to stop the action and request the refereeing body, in full view of the entire audience, to re-score a particular scoring sequence.
The scoring sequence in the Zain/Yianni match went on for almost a minute.
The question has to do with Challenge Rule c.), which states: The coach must request a challenge within 5 seconds after the questioned score is posted on the official scoreboard. That clearly did not happen.
pubgadd (1) about 4 months ago
that is so nice
pubgadd (1) about 4 months ago
cong on your success its very tough. you really deserve this.
HindiMeSikhe (1) about 4 months ago
Nice match. I love to see it live but unfortunately missed.
When coming again!
tjhart01 (1) about 4 months ago
The "5 second challenge" rule was also my understanding. That there was no-one there who knew the rulebook, or, that everyone was afraid to go against all things Penn St. is disappointing. Now, instead of having the match 1-1 with both wrestlers sweated up and knowing what was at stake, we may have a result that leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouths. Not Zane's fault, but if this stands it will forever cheapen the result.
dbestsport (1) about 4 months ago
You must be new to wrestling. This was not a college tournament. Penn State didn't wrestle in this tournament.
I already explained that there are 2 rules, and in this case it appears they contradict one-another.
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ozzybhai (1) about 2 months ago
ozzybhai (1) about 2 months ago
You deserved it.
ozzybhai (1) a week and a half ago
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