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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Final X Facts and Trends

    Nick Gwiazdowski defeats Gable Steveson at Final X Rutgers in 2019 (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    It's officially Final X week! The first installment of the method used to determine our Senior-level world teams takes place Friday in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Before getting to actual previews of the action and competitors, we're looking back at the first two editions of Final X (2018 and 2019) to find some trends and figures to monitor for 2021. Remember, Greco-Roman did not participate in 2018's version of Final X, so many of our facts will be skewed towards freestyle.

    The following wrestlers have qualified to wrestle in all three editions of Final X:

    Men's Freestyle

    Thomas Gilman, Daton Fix, Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, David Taylor, J'den Cox, Kyle Snyder, Nick Gwiazdowski

    Women's Freestyle

    Sarah Hildebrandt, Jacarra Winchester, Jenna Burkert, Kayla Miracle, Mallory Velte, Forrest Molinari, Tamyra Mensah-Stock

    Rematches from prior Final X series:

    Women's Freestyle

    57 kg - Helen Maroulis vs. Alex Hedrick (2018). Won by Maroulis 10-0, 12-0.


    55 kg - Max Nowry vs. Brady Koontz (2019). Won by Nowry 3-0, 11-5.

    Wrestlers seeking to win their third Final X series:

    Men's Freestyle

    Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, J'den Cox, Kyle Snyder, Nick Gwiazdowski

    Women's Freestyle

    Sarah Hildebrandt, Jacarra Winchester, Forrest Molinari, Tamyra Mensah-Stock

    Of the wrestlers with 2-0 series records (and are competing this year) in Final X, only Sarah Hildebrandt and Tamyra Mensah-Stock have gone unscored upon during their four wins in two series'.

    Over the first two years of Final X, only nine series have gone to three matches:

    2019: MFS 57 kg: Daton Fix over Thomas Gilman
    2019: MFS 61 kg: Tyler Graff over Joe Colon
    2019: MFS 74 kg: Jordan Burroughs over Isaiah Martinez
    2019 WFS 65kg: Forrest Molinari over Maya Nelson
    2019 MGR 77kg: Patrick Smith over Kamal Bey

    2018 MFS 61kg: Nahshon Garrett over Joe Colon
    2018 WFS 50kg: Whitney Conder over Victoria Anthony
    2018 WFS 62kg: Mallory Velte over Kayla Miracle
    2018 WFS 72kg: Erin Clodgo over Rachel Watters

    Of the series that went three matches, only five of the eventual winners lost in bout one:

    2019: MFS 61 kg: Tyler Graff over Joe Colon
    2019 WFS 65kg: Forrest Molinari over Maya Nelson
    2019 MGR 77kg: Patrick Smith over Kamal Bey

    2018 MFS 61kg: Nahshon Garrett over Joe Colon
    2018 WFS 62kg: Mallory Velte over Kayla Miracle

    Patrick Smith is the only wrestler in Final X history to have lost a bout via tech, but still won the series. He fell to Kamal Bey 11-2, then rallied to win 2-1 and 6-3.

    Smith and Erin Clodgo are the only two that picked up series wins while being outscored by their opponent. Smith won despite being outscored 14-10, while Clodgo's margin was 14-8 in favor of Rachel Watters.

    Jenna Burkert is the only wrestler that has appeared in all three Final X's and will compete at three different weights. This year she is competing at 55 kg. In 2019, she was at 57 kg and in 2018 Burkert wrestled at 59 kg.

    Speaking of moving weights, Hayden Zillmer qualified for Final X at 125 kg. In 2018, Zillmer fell to J'den Cox at 92 kg at Final X Bethlehem.

    The Greco portion of Final X will feature two bouts between Army WCAP teammates (60 kg - Ildar Hafizov and Dalton Roberts; 77 kg - Kamal Bey and Britton Holmes). In 2019, there was one between Hafizov and Leslie Fuenffinger. Hafizov won that clash, 7-5, 9-0.

    The men's freestyle side of Final X will have three battles between former teammates/training partners. At 65 kg with Yianni Diakomihalis and Evan Henderson, 92 kg between J'den Cox and Nate Jackson, and former Buckeye big men Kyle Snyder and Kollin Moore at 97 kg.

    Three of the ten women's freestyle bouts at Final X will see former world medalists square off. 50 kg between Sarah Hildebrant and Alyssa Lampe. 55 kg with Jacarra Winchester and Jenna Burkert, and at 65 kg with Forrest Molinari and Mallory Velte. There are no such instances in men's freestyle and Greco-Roman.

    Across the three styles, there are three series' that are rematches from the 2020 Olympic Team Trials finals. Gilman/Vito Arujau at 57 kg MFS, Snyder/Moore 97 kg MFS, G'Angelo Hancock/Braxton Amos 97 kg MGR.

    In Greco, there are four Final X matchups that took place in the 2021 World Team Trials finals. 55 kg Nowry/Koontz, 60 kg Roberts/Hafizov, 72 kg Smith/Benji Peak, 82 kg Ben Provisor/Spencer Woods.

    There are no rematches from the 2021 WTT finals in men's freestyle and only one in women's freestyle. 55 kg between Jenna Burkert and Jacarra Winchester.

    Over two years of competition, only six falls have been registered in Final X bouts:

    2019: Whitney Conder, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Victoria Francis, Adeline Gray, and Ellis Coleman

    2018: Adeline Gray

    Conder, Francis, and Gray (2018) picked up pins in series-clinching victories.

    Men's freestyle has tended to be the most competitive style of the three. Only one series (David Taylor/Nick Reenan in 2018) has ended with two techs.

    Also, during the previous 50 Final X series', only one ended with two matches decided on criteria. That was in 2019 when Gwiazdowski defeated Gable Steveson 4-4 and 3-3.

    Patrick Downey, in 2019, is the only Final X winner to receive a forfeit.

    Nahshon Garrett, in 2018, is the only Final X winner who did not compete at the World Championships. He pulled out due to an injury and Joe Colon replaced him, then came home with a bronze medal.

    We mentioned earlier that former Ohio State teammates Snyder and Moore will meet in the 97 kg men's freestyle series. It's the second time that Ohio State alums have met in Final X. In 2018, Logan Stieber and Joey McKenna wrestled for the 65 kg spot.

    Since the inception of women's wrestling at the collegiate level, Simon Fraser has been a consistent power. That's on display again as four SFU alums have qualified for Final X (Dom Parrish, Helen Maroulis, Alex Hedrick, and Mallory Velte). Maroulis and Hedrick will meet at 57 kg in New York. In past years, Victoria Anthony and Alyvia Fiske are other former SFU stars that have competed at Final X.

    To date, the only wrestler to compete in Final X in freestyle and Greco-Roman was Adam Coon, who lost to Gwiazdowski in freestyle in 2018 and beat Cohlton Schultz in Greco in 2019.

    The only returning world medalists who have lost series' in Final X are Becka Leathers (2018 and 2019), Mallory Velte (2019), and Joe Colon (2019).

    Three series have been decided outside of the original Final X sites/dates. The controversial matchup between Zain Retherford/Yianni Diakomiahlis featured a match re-wrestled at Wilkes University in 2019. Injuries pushed back Kyle Dake's win against Alex Dieringer that same year. The two ended up wrestling in Round Rock, Texas later in the year. Maroulis and Hedrick were slated to meet in Bethlehem in 2018, which technically happened, but a few months later at Who's #1, rather than their originally scheduled Final X date.

    Speaking of Dake. He continues to have as tough of a path to the world team as anyone. This year's matchup is against Jason Nolf. Dake's three Final X opponents have combined to win eight NCAA titles (Nolf x3, Dieringer x3, and Zahid Valencia x2). At least one of the three is capable of a world medal, had Dake been out of the picture.

    Burkert has had a tough run in her own right. In 2018, she fell to two-time world silver medalist Alli Ragan. In 2019, she knocked off world bronze medalist Becka Leathers. This year, Burkert is a part of one of the most anticipated women's matchups by facing 2019 world champion Jacarra Winchester.

    Home field advantage. The following wrestlers will compete in their home state. Daton Fix (Stillwater). Nick Gwiazdowski, Kyle Dake, Yianni Diakomihalis (New York). Additionally, Jordan Oliver is an Oklahoma State graduate and wrestles in Stillwater.

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