Preview of Final X Stillwater Greco-Roman
On June 3, the country’s top two senior-level athletes in 15 weight classes will battle for the opportunity to represent Team USA at the Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia (Sept. 10-18) at Final X Stillwater. , brought to you by Tezos.
A week from now, a year of senior-level competition will culminate for 30 wrestlers in this best-of-three series at Gallagher-Iba Arena on the Oklahoma State University campus. There will be two sessions to determine the members of the 2022 World Team. It will be an intense and emotional day of competition because for every wrestler who achieves their dream, there will be one who fails.
The first games of the series will take place in the first session starting at 2:00 p.m. CT. The second session with games two and three (if necessary) of the series will begin at 7 p.m. CT.
The five Greco-Roman bouts scheduled for Stillwater will feature several rematches between familiar opponents. Between the 10 wrestlers are two Olympians, eight world championship appearances and 12 Pan American championship medals. Here is an overview of the Greco-Roman clashes.
Fight 1 – 63 kg GR – Sammy Jones (NYAC) against Jesse Thielke (WCAP Army)
The battle at 63kg will feature a rematch of the Bill Farrell Memorial Championship Round in April where Sammy Jones scored on a gut wrench to lead 3-0 at the minute-and-a-half mark of the game’s first period. Early in the second period, Jones took advantage of Jesse Thielke’s leading position and landed a forward header to win the game 9-0 with a technical pinfall. The only other time the two have met recently was five years ago at the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial International, where Thielke beat Jones 8-0.
Despite those results, anything can happen at the historic Gallagher-Iba Arena in Final X. In his 2016 Olympic run, Thielke proved he could do anything during an iconic winning streak. Thielke upset Spencer Mango, a sports legend, at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials with an 8-0 technical fall. He then defeated Ildar Hafizov in a best-of-three series to make the Olympic team. He then put on another incredible performance to qualify the weight for the Olympics, displaying his prolific goalscoring abilities.
Jones and Thielke have very different histories in the sport leading up to this point. An accomplished wrestler age-wise, Thielke made four World Junior Teams, earning bronze at the 2012 World Junior Championships. He continued to wrestle collegiately at the University of Wisconsin where he qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2015. In contrast, Jones was homeschooled until high school and went straight to NMU OTS for Greco-Roman training. Jones is hot right now, making the national team at the Olympic trials, making his first senior world team in 2021 and a Pan American championship. The battle for the 2022 World Team spot at 63kg will be one of Stillwater’s most entertaining Greco-Roman matches.
April 1, 2022 – Bill Farrell Memorial International Finals – Sam Jones tech. Jesse Thielke, 9-0
November 1, 2017 – Dave Schultz Memorial International 3rd place – Jesse Thielke tech. Sam Jones, 8-0
Fight 3 – 130 kg GR – Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids) against Tanner Farmer (NYAC)
When Cohlton Schultz and Tanner Farmer last met in the 2021 Senior World Team Semi-Final, Schultz dominated the game, 5-0. Schultz moved Farmer around the mat and scored a point on passivity and four more on the edge to seal the win. Both wrestlers had a closer semifinal matchup at the 2020 Senior Nationals. Schultz scored a point on a passivity call, then two more on a gut wrench. Farmer managed to emerge victorious with a knockdown, followed by a turn, tying the score at 3-3. Schultz responded with an aggressive push to take the lead at 4-3, the final score.
Schultz is a member of the 2021 World Senior Team, has won world medals at the U20 and U17 age levels and finished second at the US Olympic Trials behind world silver medalist Adam Coon. Farmer is an incredible athlete and student of sports. Farmer played football at the University of Nebraska and used his senior year of eligibility to wrestle at NAIA Concordia University. It’s a testament to his athleticism that he can have such high levels of success in two different sports. Farmer put in an incredible performance at the 2022 Bill Farrell Memorial Tournament beating all three opponents by eight points and allowing just one point against him that day.
September 11, 2021 – Senior World Team Trials Semi-Finals – Cohlton Schultz Dec. Tanner Farmer, 5-0
October 9, 2020 – Senior Nationals Semi-Finals – Cohlton Schultz Dec. Tanner Farmer, 4-3
Fight 5– 72 kg GR – Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) against Benjamin Peak (Sunkist Kids)
Returning World Team member Patrick Smith and two-time Senior Open champion Benjamin Peak will turn heads as they both put their all on the line for a World Team spot. The pair features one of the most drastic style differences among Greco-Roman competition. Smith remains in good position and is still advancing. He will press hard into the punch to wear down his opponents, while using the workings of Greco-Roman wrestling to get the job done. Peak is tall, long and looking to excite the crowd. Peak’s leverage can put his opponents in dangerous situations.
Smith and Peak met at the 2021 World Team Trials in the best of three finals. An exchange of passivity pushes and calls led to a tight 3-3 game, in favor of Smith. In game two, Peak was leading 3-0 after scoring on a wrench. Peak scored another point on a push out to extend their lead to 4-0 with 45 seconds left in the first half. Smith responded in the remaining seconds of the period with a four-point shot to tie the game and ultimately won the game, 6-4 and made the World Team.
September 11, 2021 – Second Round of Senior World Team Selections – Patrick Smith Dec. Benjamin Peak, 6-4
September 11, 2021 – First Round of Senior World Team Selections – Patrick Smith Dec. Benjamin Peak, 3-3
Fight 7 – 82 kg GR – Ben Provisor (NYAC) against Spencer Woods (Army WCAP)
Provisor and Woods, who have struggled multiple times, will meet in what will be a rematch of the USMC 2022 US Open final that took place a month ago on April 27. In the four games they’ve struggled recently, Provisor has been successful on Woods, while Woods has closed the gap by a few points each game. In the US Open final, it was Provisor’s work on the floor that made the difference in the match. He scored on two gut wrenches to build a lead. Woods responded with an out and was close to scoring on another out when time expired. Provisor finished with a 5-3 victory.
Provisor, a 2012 and 2016 Olympian, will be competing to repeat his spot on the 2021 World Team where he beat Woods in back-to-back games in the best-of-three series (7-1, 4-2) at the Trials. of the 2021 Senior World Team. Provisor has perhaps the most prominent resume on the Greco-Roman scene, with results at senior level dating back to 2009. Woods, a member of the 2021 U23 World Team and 2021 US Open champion, will compete to make his senior world first team. Woods competed with Northern Michigan University – National Training Site before enlisting in the military and joining its world-class athlete program.
April 27, 2022 – USMC US Open Finals – Ben Provisor Dec. Spencer Woods, 5-3
April 1, 2022 – Bill Farrell Memorial International Finals – Ben Provisor Dec. Spencer Woods, 2-1
September 11, 2021 – Second Round of Senior World Team Selections – Ben Provisor Dec. Spencer Woods, 4-2
September 11, 2021 – First Round of Senior World Team Selections – Ben Provisor Dec. Spencer Woods, 7-1
Fight 9 – 55 kg GR – Max Nowry (Army WCAP) against Brady Koontz (Ohio RTC / TMWC)
To close the evening of Greco-Roman competition, a Final X 2019 rematch between Max Nowry and Brady Koontz. Nowry, a 2021 World Team member, three-time Pan Am Gold Medalist and 2019 Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year, has beaten Koontz in the last six encounters. In the championship round at the World Team Trials last year, Nowry won the best of three series in two straight games by winning 3-1 and 2-1. Since the two met in the second round of the 2019 Final X, where Nowry won 11-5, Koontz has seemingly adjusted and been able to stay within three points of Nowry in his final games.
In Game 1 of the World Team Trials, Nowry was put down on passivity, putting Koontz ahead, but Knootz was unable to capitalize with a turn. In the second half, the score was leveled at 1-1 when Koontz was called off for passivity. Nowry then took a side lift out of bounds for another point and finished with a 2-1 win over Koontz. The second round started the same way as the first, Nowry was put down on passivity and Koontz couldn’t capitalize. Both were put back on their feet when Nowry knocked down Koontz and trailed for two points, making it 2-1 at the end of the first period. A passivity on Koontz locked the final score 3-1 in favor of Nowry. The last two times these athletes have wrestled it has been close and Koontz, who wrestles at Ohio State, was just one step away from catching Nowry. Both will be in a familiar position and on a familiar stage as they battle for the 2022 World Team spot.
September 11, 2021 – Second Round of Senior World Team Selections – Max Nowry Dec. Brady Koontz, 3-1
September 11, 2021 – First Round of World Senior Team Selections – Max Nowry Dec. Brady Koontz, 2-1
April 30, 2021 – Senior National Finals – Max Nowry Dec. Brady Koontz, 1-1
November 15, 2019 – Bill Farrell Memorial International Round of 16 – Max Nowry Dec. Brady Koontz, 5-2
June 8, 2019 – Final X Round 2 – Max Nowry Dec. Brady Koontz, 11-5
June 8, 2019 – Final X Round 1 – Max Nowry Dec. Brady Koontz, 3-0
Final X Stillwater will be held alongside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Honors Weekend, which takes place at the Hall of Fame premises next door, June 3-4.
FloWrestling will serve as the hosting broadcast partner for Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos, and Final X New York, presented by Tezos.
Click here for the Final X Stillwater FloWrestling stream: https://flosports.link/3Fjqg1x
Tickets to Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos