3x Final X winner Sarah Hildebrandt (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
With Final X in the rearview mirror and 29 world team members crowned, it's time to reflect on some of the results we've seen within the last week. Now that there has been three years' worth of Final X, we can also develop some sort of records and identify trends that have formed. Below are some of the standout performers and records from the events this year and over time.
Max Nowry and Helen Maroulis were both victorious in their Final X series'. Both were facing opponents from a previous Final X appearance. Nowry (Brady Koontz) and Maroulis (Alex Hedrick). Those were the only past rematches on the docket for 2022.
The following wrestlers won their third Final X series:
Men's Freestyle: Kyle Dake, Jordan Burroughs, J'den Cox, and Kyle Snyder
Women's Freestyle: Sarah Hildebrandt, Jacarra Winchester, and Tamyra Mensah-Stock
Forrest Molinari and Nick Gwaizdowski are wrestlers that had an opportunity to win a third Final X series but were stopped (by Mallory Velte and Hayden Zillmer, respectively).
Of the wrestlers that have won three series', only Dake, Snyder, Hildebrandt, and Mensah-Stock have been able to do so without losing a single bout.
The only wrestler that has competed in all three years of Final X and has not yielded a single point is Sarah Hildebrandt. ('18 vs. Haley Augello; 6-0, 8-0; '19 vs. Katherine Shai: 3-0, 8-0; '22 vs. Alyssa Lampe: 10-0, 10-0).
During the first two years of Final X, nine series went to three matches. 2022 had nine series' that went the full three matches.
Of those nine series' from 2018-19, only five saw the loser of the first match win the series. That happened four times in 2022. Seth Gross, Hayden Zillmer, Jacarra Winchester, and Benji Peak.
Hayden Zillmer joined Pat Smith ('18) and Erin Clodgo ('18) as the only wrestlers to win a series where they were outscored cumulatively. Nick Gwiazdowski outscored Zillmer 12-9 in their three matches. The big difference between that point margin is a 5-0 win by Gwiz in match one.
Both of Ildar Hafizov's Final X wins have come at the expense of Army WCAP teammates. In 2019, he defeated Leslie Fuenffinger, while he beat Dalton Roberts in three matches this year.
Speaking of Army WCAP, half of the 2022 Greco World Team is a part of the program. Nowry, Hafizov, Jesse Thielke, Sancho, and Kamal Bey all qualified.
California has long been one of the powers of women's wrestling. The state flexed its muscles this year as half of the women's squad hails from Cali. Dom Parrish, Jacarra Winchester, Mallory Velte, Amit Elor, and Dymond Guilford. Both Velte and Guilford defeated opponents from California, as well (Molinari and Yelena Makoyed).
Final X '22 featured three Olympic Trials Finals rematches. Thomas Gilman/Vito Arujau, Kyle Snyder/Kollin Moore, and G'Angelo Hancock/Braxton Amos. In each instance, the Olympic Trials winner was victorious at Final X.
Prior to 2022, the only Final X series that featured two bouts that ended in criteria was when Nick Gwiazdowski defeated Gable Steveson at Final X Rutgers. That was matched by Nowry who defeated Koontz in two matches decided by criteria.
Speaking of Nowry/Koontz. Both of their matches ended 1-1. That made it the lowest-scoring match and two-match series of any year/style in Final X. With rule changes, it's hard to imagine we'll have any lower-scoring matches in the future.
On the other end of the spectrum, the 11-9 win by Yianni Diakomihalis over Evan Henderson made it the highest-scoring single bout in Final X history. The previous high was 16 points. That was done three times (Nowry/Koontz 11-5 in 2019, Logan Stieber/Joey McKenna 8-8 in 2018, and Winchester/Becka Leathers 10-6 in 2018). Thomas Gilman also matched 16 points last week in his 14-2 win over Vito Arujau.
A pair of 2022 Greco bouts amassed point totals that would have eclipsed the previous high (16 points), but occurred after the Diakomihalis/Henderson contest. Hafizov/Roberts put up 18 points, while Sancho/Nutter had 19.
Speaking of Gilman, his 12-point victory over Arujau tied him for the highest margin of victory in Final X history. The 12-point margin has been hit twice; once by Nahshon Garrett in his 12-0 win over Joe Colon in 2018 and also by Helen Maroulis with the same score that same year.
2022 saw two of the lowest scoring three-match series' in the history of Final X contested. Previously, there had never been a three-match series with a total cumulative score lower than 20. That mark was missed twice in 2022. J'den Cox and Nate Jackson only put up a total of 14 points in Stillwater (4-2, 2-3, 3-0). That low point stood for less than a week as Jordan Burroughs and Chance Marsteller "broke" it with 13 (4-0, 2-2 ,5-0).
After three Final X's, Joe Colon remains the only wrestler to have two career match victories, yet has never won a series. He lost in three matches to Garrett in 2018 and Tyler Graff in 2019.
Mallory Velte and Jordan Burroughs are the only two wrestlers who have won multiple three-matches series' in Final X history. Velte defeated Forrest Molinari this year in three matches and Kayla Miracle in 2018. Burroughs survived a test from Chance Marsteller this year after beating Isaiah Martinez in 2019.
Burroughs, Velte, and Molinari have the most total Final X matches for their career. Each has wrestled in eight over the three years of the event. Kayla Miracle could also do so if her eventual wrestle-off goes to three matches.
This year saw four returning world medalists lose their respective Final X series' (Daton Fix, Nick Gwiazdowski, Jenna Burkert, and Forrest Molinari). Only three wrestlers combined to lose four series' in the two prior events.
Despite having more three-match series' than previous years, 2022 also had more lopsided results than any of the three previous years. 22 of 66 matches ended with some sort of match termination (fall/tech). 2019 saw 18 terminated. 12 is the number from 2018; however, that isn't an apples-to-apples comparison as Greco wasn't a part of Final X that year.