World medalists Alyssa Lampe (left) and Sarah Hildebrandt (photos courtesy of Sam Janicki (Lampe) and Tony Rotundo (Hildebrandt)
We already know one half of our 2022 Senior world team as the first leg of Final X (Stillwater) took place on Friday. Now we await the other half of the team. On Wednesday, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, the rest of the squad will be determined. Final X Stillwater yielded some surprising results, classic matches, and memorable moments. You can guarantee there will be more of all three Wednesday. Before then, here's what to expect from the competitors taking the mat in Final X New York. We'll move on to women's freestyle, before closing with Greco-Roman.
***Note the 62 kg match between Kayla Miracle and Jennifer Rogers has been postponed due to medical reasons on Miracle's behalf***
50 kg - Sarah Hildebrandt vs. Alyssa Lampe
The women's freestyle portion of Final X featured three bouts between past world medalists. Two of those series' took place in Stillwater. The third is Sarah Hildebrandt against Alyssa Lampe. Hildebrandt has established herself as one of the more consistent figures in American women's wrestling. She has made every World/Olympic team since 2018 and has come away with a medal in three of those four appearances. 2021 saw her grab Olympic bronze and world silver. Hildebrandt moved down from 53 kg for the Olympic run and has been even more impressive than at 53 kg. She'll face off with a veteran herself in Alyssa Lampe. Lampe has been a part of five world teams during her long career with bronze medals coming in 2012 and 2013. Both were in the same bracket for the 2020 Olympic Trials; however, Hildebrandt was waiting in the finals, while Lampe finished true second in the challenge tournament. This year, Lampe finished as a runner-up at the US Open (at 53 kg), before dropping down and defeating Erin Golston in the WTT's best-of-three finals. Lampe is seeking to make her first world team since 2015 and most of her best work was done in the old 48 kg weight class.
53 kg - Dom Parrish vs. Felicity Taylor
Stillwater saw two women make their first Senior world team with Abby Nette and Dymond Guilford doing so at 59 and 76 kg, respectively. Someone else will do at 53 kg, but the question is who? Dom Parrish has plenty of experience with three U23 world team competitions under her belt and an appearance in Final X 2019 to her name. Those came at 55 kg; however. Now at 53 kg, Parrish recently captured her first Pan-American title and was third at the Yasar Dogu. Parrish only needed to win once at the WTT's to claim a spot in Final X, but it was quite the win. She shut out 2020 Olympic Trials runner-up Ronna Heaton, 6-0 for the honors. Though Parrish has a longer international resume, she'll have to contend with the red-hot Felicity Taylor. Taylor was not seeded at the Open, but ran through the competition with two falls and a victory via tech in the finals over Lampe. If I had to guess, I'd think this series will be the most competitive and highest scoring of any on the women's side in Final X NYC.
57 kg - Helen Maroulis vs. Alex Hedrick
Sitting in Final X is Helen Maroulis, who is attempting to make her 12th World/Olympic Team and bring home her eighth medal. Maroulis' place in US wrestling history is already safe with her 2016 Olympic gold medal and three world titles; so anything from here out is icing on the cake. In her only action of 2022 thus far, Maroulis came away with a gold medal from Russia's Ivan Yarygin. It was the first time she competed (and won) at the prestigious event. The only other time Maroulis qualified for Final X was in 2018 againstâ€¦Alex Hedrick. The series had to be delayed because of injuries to Maroulis and it was the precursor to a prolonged absence from the sport due to concussions and shoulder injuries. Despite all of this, Maroulis still managed to defeat Hedrick 10-0, 12-0, to make the 2018 World Team. Hedrick has international experience competing at two Junior World Championships and one at the U23 level. In order to qualify for this Final X, Hedrick managed to emerge victorious in two tight bouts with Cam Guerin at the WTT's. She also won a close one over Amanda Martinez in the semis. If she can slow down the offense from Maroulis, Hedrick does have experience in those tight situations.
72 kg - Amit Elor vs. Skylar Grote
72 kg's will be the second women's weight class in New York with a first-time world team member. Both Amit Elor and Skylar Grote are young, so it could be the first of many for the winner. Elor has been a prodigy and competed favorably against older competition, since she broke on the scene as a Cadet. In 2019, as a first-year Cadet, she took home bronze from Worlds. Last year, Elor won gold medals at both the Cadet and Junior World Championships. With a resume at such a young age, she won't be blinded by the big stage and the bright lights at Madison Square Garden. I would expect the crowd to favor her opponent, Skylar Grote, from across the river in New Jersey. Grote has had a remarkable year after moving up to 72 kg. She's claimed titles at the US Open and the Pan-American Championships, along with making the WTT finals and securing a berth at Final X. Grote went unscored upon during her three matches at the Open and WTTs. She is one of three women from the Beaver Dam RTC that have qualified for Final X. Mallory Velte already is on the world team, with teammate Alyssa Lampe competing at 50 kg. However this turns out, New York is the appropriate place for the match to take place, as it will be the crowning of a new, young star.