Final X Lincoln Picks & Preview
FINAL X LINCOLN
With all the excitement and controversy surrounding the first chapter of this year’s Final X Rutgers, who’s counting down the days till round two?? Let’s get right in to it then:
Session One 12pm
Bout 1 Women’s Freestyle 59KG: Alli Ragan HWC vs. Lauren Louive HWC
Ragan: 2019 US Open Gold medalist, 2018 Final X Champion, and 2017 Yarygin runner-up.
Louive: 2019 World Team Trials champion, Silver at 2019 US Open, and silver at the 2018 World Team Trials.
My Pick: Both ladies are extremely tough, and both have the privilege of wrestling for one of the most coveted clubs in the country in the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. Both have shown tremendous skill and extreme mat prowess leading up to this point, but I believe that miss Louive has the edge. She is one of five female hammers for the HWC, and has her sights set on becoming the first Division 1 female head coach, and ambassador/ overseer of the female programs for USAW. A win here would definitely boost her already stellar rap sheet.
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Bout 2 Men’s Greco 60KG: Leslie Fuenffinger, Army vs. Ildar Hafizov, Army.
Fuenffinger: 2019 US Open champion, 2019 US Greco Nat’l champion, and NCAA Division III Nat’l champ for Augsburg.
Hafizov: 2019 WTT champ, Armed Forces champ, and 2008 Olympian.
My Pick: I’m split on this one. Fuenffinger beat Hafizov this year in the finals of the US Open with a convincing win, however Hafizov knows now what he has to do to make it back to the Olympic stage. It’ll be and exciting one for round 2 with more at stake.
Bout 3 Women’s Freestyle 55KG: Jacarra Winchester, TMWC vs. Dominique Parrish, Sunkist Kids
Winchester: 2019 US Open champ, 2018 World Team Trials Champ, and 2018 Final X Champ.
Parrish: 2019 World Team Trials Champ, 2018 U23 World Team Trials Champ, and 2x WCWA Nat’l Champ at Simon Fraser University.
My Pick: Parrish. Jacarra has won in this situation before and definitely has the skill and experience, but Parrish is hot! Red hot! Sometimes that kind of momentum can be difficult to stop.
Bout 4 Men’s Greco 72KG: Raymond Bunker, USMC vs. Alex Mossing, Air Force.
Bunker: US Open Champ, 2019 Dave Schultz Memorial Champ, and 2017 University Nat’ls Champ.
Mossing: 2019 World Team Trials Champ, 24-13 as a Senior in 2019 at 157lbs for the Air Force wrestling team.
My Pick: Bunker. He is an exceptionally tenacious Greco artist with an apparent mean streak that seems far and few between in the worlds toughest sport. Bunker has had some ups and downs but his dominating performance at the Dave Schultz proved that this young man is all about the business. Mossing doesn’t seem to offer as much as experience or convincing victories but I still expect a good match with so much on the line.
Bout 5 Men’s Greco 63KG: Ryan Mango, Army vs Xavier Johnson, USMC
Mango: 2019 US Open Champ, 2016 Olympic Trials Bronze, and a 2x All-American for Stanford before joining the Army.
Johnson: 2018 World Team Trials champ, and 2018 Zagreb Open Bronze medalist
My Pick: Mango. Mango has beaten some of the competition above his weight class, forcing them to move up, and is one of the most dynamic Greco specialists in the world. I don’t feel Johnson has quite the experience needed for the task, so I’ll have Mango sweeping this one.
Bout 6 Men’s Greco 97KG: G’Angelo Hancock, Sunkist Kids vs. Lucas Sheridan, Army.
Hancock: 2019 US Open champ, 2017 World Team Trials champ, and bronze in the 2016 Olympic Trials.
Sheridan: 2018 World Team Trials champ, runner up at the 2019 US Nationals, and a 2018 national team member.
My Pick: This is another I’m split on. My mind leans toward Hancock having already performed at a high level on the big stage, but my heart goes with Sheridan. Being an Indiana native, it’d be nice to see the IU guy get the job done.
Session 2 6PM
Bout 1 Women’s Freestyle 53KG: Mallory Velte, TMWC vs. Kayla Miracle, HWC
Velte: bronze medalist at the 2018 world championships, runner up at the 2016 Olympic trials (non-Olympic weight), and a 3x WCWA champion
Miracle: 2018 World Team Trials Champion, 2018 U23 WTT champ, and the first ever girl to qualify for the Indiana boys state tournament.
My Pick: Miracle, again subject to my own bias. Having watched Kayla prep and compete alongside her brother and father I have seen first hand what she is capable of. GO TEAM INDIANA!
Bout 2 Women’s Freestyle 53 KG: Sarah Hildebrandt, NYAC vs. Katherine Shai, TMWC
Hildebrandt: 2018 world championship runner up, final x champ, and Pan Ams champ.
Shai: WTT champ, 2x Olympic Alternate, and 5x National Team Member
My Pick: I am definitely torn here. Shai is such a phenomenal wrestler, and has the championship caliber to go places, but Hildebrandt is another team Indiana member with a very high caliber of past performances.
Bout 3 Women’s Freestyle 76KG: Adeline Gray, NYAC vs. Precious Bell, TMWC
Gray: 2018 world champion, 2019 Pan Ams champ, and 2016 Olympian
Bell: WTT champ, and wrestled all the way back to a 4th place finish at this year’s WCWA’s after dropping her first round match.
My Pick: Gray. After her triumphant run to the 2016 Olympics and coming up short, she now sees the level she needs to be at to be the best in the world. Based off how she has performed, I’d say the fire has been lit so watch out!
Bout 4 Men’s Greco 130KG: Adam Coon, CKWC vs. Cohlton Schultz, Sunkist Kids.
Coon: 2018 world championships runner up, Greco WTT champ, and 2016 Olympic Trials Runner Up.
Schultz: WTT champ, 4x Colorado state champ at HWT, and the 2017 Cadet Greco World champ, being the first American in 20 years to do so.
My Pick: Coon. Schultz has shown great promise and I believe that he is the future for the big guy division, but right now he takes a back seat to the former university of Michigan standout.
Bout 5 Men’s Freestyle 61KG: Joe Colon, TMWC vs. Tyler Graff, NJRTC
Colon: 2018 World bronze medalist, US Open freestyle champ, and assistant coach for the newly revamped Fresno State Wrestling team.
Graff: World Team Trials champ, WTT runner up in 2016, and Olympic trials bronze in 2012, and again in 2016.
My Pick: I’m going with Colon here and I’ll tell you why. The man has been a highly overlooked wrestler with extreme potential. He flew under the radar at UNI and holds almost every notable wrestling record the school has. He finished as a 3rd place All-American as a senior, and has quietly yet again had some tremendous success internationally. Graff is a long standing vet, and tougher than a $2 steak, but I feel this will be Joe’s big breakthrough to tell the world he can no longer be denied.
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Bout 6 Men’s Freestyle 97KG: Kyle Snyder, TMWC vs. Kyven Gadson, Cyclone RTC
Snyder: 2018 world runner up, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and the youngest ever Olympic and World Champion.
Gadson: 2019 US Open champ, 2018 WTT champ, and 2017 US Open champ
My Pick: I’m going with Snyder solely on the fact that aside from 1 or 2 losses the guy seems virtually unbeatable. He’s like a real life cheat code in this 97 Kilo class. He’s strong, athletic, has a gas tank for days, and his footwork is simply unparalleled. However, part of me would like to see Gadson get the upset. He is one of the most emotionally charged wrestlers you’ll ever see, yet as humble as they come. His dad passed in his junior year of college and as a senior, Kyven won an NCAA title in his honor. It’d be really awesome to see him in the Olympic hunt.
Bout 7 Men’s Freestyle 70KG: Ryan Deakin, Chicago RTC vs. James Green, Sunkist Kids
Deakin: 2019 US Open champ, 2x NCAA Qualifier for Northwestern placing 6th in 2019
Green: 2018 WTT champ, world cup Champ, and 2017 World championships runner up.
My Pick: James Green. Deakin may be the future contender but right now Green is the man to beat. Plus since his graduation from Nebraska, Green’s main training partner has been Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs, who is the main event for this Saturday evening.
Bout 8 Men’s Freestyle 57KG: Daton Fix, TMWC vs. Thomas Gilman, HWC
Fix: US Open champ, 2019 NCAA runner up, and the owner of the record for the longest high school match in history vs Nick Suriano at Who’s #1, with a total of 32 min and 12 sec.
Gilman: 2018 WTT champ, 2017 world runner up, and WTT champ.
My Pick: Before I make my pick, let it be known that I am a huge Hawkeye wrestling fan and my heart would love to see Thomas Gilman get his hand raised…..BUT, I’m not quite sure he can hang with the young gun on this one. Fix is one of the most dynamic scramblers in the game and can put you in trouble from almost anywhere. He’ll definitely be a great contrast for the “grind down” style Gilman brings to the circle.
Bout 9 Men’s Freestyle 74KG: Jordan Burroughs, Sunkist Kids vs. Isaiah Martinez, TMWC
Burroughs: 2018 world bronze medalist, 2x Olympian, 2012 Olympic gold medalist
Martinez: 2019 US Open champ, WTT 2018 champ, and 2x NCAA champ
My Pick: Burroughs, of course! I-Mar was pretty dominant in college but trust me when I say he doesn’t have what it takes to knock off the big dog of this 74 Kilo class. After not medaling in Rio in 2016, it was a blessing in disguise for Burroughs to return to his former glory, and since then he’s been wrestling much like his old self. Burroughs in 2.
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