Olympic champs Burroughs, Snyder joined by Green, Ragan, Winchester, Gilman, Mensah-Stock as Final X champs in Lincoln

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | June 09, 2018, 10:56 p.m. (ET)
Jordan Burroughs works an ankle lace on Isaiah Martinez on the way to a victory at 74 kg. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com .

FINAL X VIDEOS: Interviews and press conferences

LINCOLN, Neb. – The big dogs had a big night in Final X in Lincoln, as five of the six past World medalists in the field won their best-of-three championship series at the Bob Devaney Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln on Saturday night.

It was a great night for 2012 Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs of the Sunkist Kids and 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder of the Titan Mercury WC, who swept their best-of-three series with impressive efforts. Both were leaders of the 2017 U.S. World Championship team and earned another chance to compete in 2018.

The event determined seven members of the 2018 U.S. Senior World Teams in men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling. Each earned a spot on Team USA at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, October 20-28.

Burroughs made his eighth straight U.S. World or Olympic team, defeating four-time NCAA finalist Isaiah Martinez of the Titan Mercury WC at 74 kg in two straight matches in front of a loud local crowd in his current hometown of Lincoln.

Burroughs won the first match, 4-1, where all of the point scored came on stepouts or cautions. The match was tied at 1-1, when Burroughs forced a stepout to lead 2-1 at the break. In the second period, he forced two more stepouts.

The second match was all Burroughs, after falling behind 1-0 on a stepout. A takedown and two turns gave him a 6-1 lead, and he unleashed his offense, getting two more takedowns and a stepout to close out the win in the second period.

“It was incredible. The atmosphere is electric, mostly because of the fact that James Green and I were competing here. We realized that coming into this event and that made us work really hard in preparation for it. We always want to compete at our highest level, but it’s especially important when you get to do it in front of people that you know and love in Lincoln, Nebraska,” said Burroughs.,

Burroughs is a 2012 Olympic champion and four-time World champion, who won two NCAA titles for Nebraska and is an assistant coach with the Huskers. Martinez was a star at the University of Illinois, where he won two NCAA crowns.

Snyder, who had World titles in 2015 and 2017 to go with his 2016 Olympic crown, needed only two bouts to beat 2015 NCAA champion Kyven Gadson of the Sunkist Kids at 97 kg.

In bout one, Snyder wore down Gadson for a 9-0 decision. Snyder scored two takedowns and forced a step out to lead 5-0 in the first period. In the second period, he tacked on two more takedowns.

In the second match, Gadson quickly had an explosive double leg, driving Snyder off the mat and off the podium for a 2-0 lead. Snyder came back with a takedown to tie it at 2-2 at the break. The second period was all Kyle Snyder, coming hard and scoring four straight takedowns for a 10-2 win and his fourth straight U.S. World or Olympic Team.

“We won [a World Team title] last year, but I think everyone thought it was a fluke. For us, we have to prove it again. We showed that we’re the best in the world, but [the other countries] probably don’t take it seriously. They may say, “Oh we had an off year and USA didn’t have to wrestle this guy or that guy.” But if you do it twice in a row, then there is nothing anybody can say. The pressure goes to them,” said Snyder.

Snyder won three NCAA titles and was a four-time finalist for Ohio State. Gadson, a three-time All-American for Iowa State, beat Snyder in the 2015 NCAA finals. Snyder also beat Gadson in the 2017 World Team Trials.

The other past World medalists who earned Final X titles and qualified for the U.S. Senior World Team were two-time World silver medalist Alli Ragan of the Sunkist Kids, two-time World medalist James Green of the Sunkist Kids and World silver medalist Thomas Gilman of the Titan Mercury WC.

Ragan made her sixth straight U.S. Senior World Team when she stopped 2014 U.S. World Team member Jenna Burkert of the U.S. Army WCAP in two straight bouts at 59 kg.

Ragan won the first match, 4-0, scoring a takedown in each of the two periods. In the second match, Ragan converted two more takedowns and added a stepout against Burkert for a 5-0 victory, getting a shutout in both matches.

“I knew Jenna was a really strong hand fighter and she was going to bring the heat. I knew I had to stay in the fight and really crowd the space and hand fight back with her. I think that’s what worked today. Hopefully, come Budapest, you’ll see a lot more offense,” said Ragan.

Ragan won two WCWA college national titles for King University. She and Burkert were teammates on U.S. World Teams in the past at the Junior and Senior levels.

Green, who boasts World silver and bronze medals, made his fourth straight U.S. World Team, when he defeated Jason Chamberlain of the Titan Mercury WC at 70 kg in two straight. There were no takedowns scored in either match between former workout partners in Lincoln.

The first match featured no offensive points from either athlete. Green won 2-0, as Chamberlain was twice put on the shot clock and unable to score in the 30 seconds allotted.

He closed it out with a 2-1 win in the second bout. Green forced a stepout early in the match. In the second period, Chamberlain could not score on the shot clock, giving Green another point, but then forced Green to step out to make it 2-1. No more points were scored..

The crowd was excited for local hero Green, who was a four-time All-American for the Huskers. Chamberlain was a two-time All-American at Boise State, but trained in Lincoln for three years.

Gilman, who had a supporting local crowd, held the edge in both matches against 2017 Junior World champion Daton Fix of the Titan Mercury WC at 57 kg.

Gilman opened with a 6-3 win. Fix got the first point when Gilman was unable to score on the shot clock. Gilman scored a takedown, but Fix responded with a counter exposure to lead 3-2 at the break. Gilman tied it a 3-3 when Fix couldn’t score on the shot clock. Gilman forced a stepout to lead 4-3, then added a late takedown for the win.

In the second match, Gilman led 1-0 at the break after a Fix stepout. The second period featured another point for Gilman on a stepout, and Fix scored when Gilman was put on the shot clock, giving Gilman a 2-1 win.

Gilman won four Nebraska state high school titles for Omaha Skutt Catholic High School and went on to be a three-time All-American for Iowa. Fix is coming off a redshirt year as a freshman at Oklahoma State.

The only athlete to win who had to qualify for Final X by winning the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament was 2014 University World bronze medalist Jacarra Winchester of the Titan Mercury WC at 55 kg. She needed just two bouts to knock off 2017 World bronze medalist Becka Leathers of the Titan Mercury WC.

Winchester won the first bout 10-6. In the first period, Leathers scored first, but Winchester hit a big four-point takedown and a turn to take the lead. They each got another takedown, and Winchester led 8-4 at the break. Both athletes had second-period takedowns.

This is Winchester’s first Senior World Team. Both are past WCWA college champions, Leathers at Oklahoma City and Winchester at Missouri Valley.

2017 World Team member Tamyra Mensah-Stock of the Titan Mercury WC made it two straight World Team with a dominant two-match sweep over Randyll Beltz of U.S. Army WCAP.

Mensah-Stock was dominant in both bouts with 10-0 technical falls in each match. Mensah-Stock was very effective with her takedown attack, and also scored some exposure points with turns.

Mensah-Stock, a two-time WCWA national champion for Wayland Baptist, was a 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion. Beltz was a WCWA All-American at Missouri Valley.

The other two Final X competitions are Final X in State College on June 16, and Final X at Lehigh on June 23. Tickets for all three Final X events can be purchased at www.FinalX.tv

FloWrestling will provide exclusive live and on-demand coverage of the three-event Final X series. Watch the events across all screens by downloading the FloSports app on iOS, Roku, or Apple TV 4, as well as on desktop or mobile web via FloWrestling.com

Saturday, June 9 at the Bob Devaney Center

Men's freestyle 70 kg
James Green, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC/Nebraska WTC) dec. Jason Chamberlain, Fresno, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC), two matches to none
Bout One – Green dec. Chamberlain, 2-0
Bout Two – Green dec. Chamberlain, 2-1

Women's freestyle 59 kg
Alli Ragan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC/OTC) dec. Jenna Burkert, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout One – Ragan dec. Burkert, 4-0
Bout Two – Ragan dec. Burkert, 5-0

Men's freestyle 97 kg
Kyle Snyder, Columbus, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) dec. Kyven Gadson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids/Cyclone RTC), two matches to none
Bout One – Snyder dec. Gadson, 9-0
Bout Two – Snyder dec. Gadson, 10-2

Women's freestyle 55 kg
Jacarra Winchester, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC/OTC) dec. Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), two matches to none
Bout One – Winchester dec. Leathers, 10-6
Bout Two – Winchester dec. Leathers, 5-1

Men's freestyle 57 kg
Thomas Gilman, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC) dec. Daton Fix, Sand Springs, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy WC), two matches to none
Bout One – Gilman dec. Fix, 6-3
Bout Two – Gilman dec. Fix, 2-1

Women's freestyle 68 kg
Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC/OTC) dec. Randyll Beltz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout One – Mensah-Stock tech. fall Beltz, 10-0
Bout Two – Mensah-Stock tech. fall Beltz, 10-0

Men's freestyle 74 kg
Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC) dec. Isaiah Martinez, Leemore, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/Illini RTC), two matches to none
Bout One – Burroughs dec. Martinez, 4-1
Bout Two – Burroughs tech. fall Martinez, 11-1