Rochester, Minn. – There were two Minnesota wrestlers who battled in the best-of-three finals today at the World Team Trials with Hayden Zillmer, who hails from Minneapolis, earning a Final X birth at 92-kilograms.
University of Minnesota alum Tony Nelson, who was fresh off his victory over Gable Steveson yesterday, dropped his finals series with, now former, Michigan wrestler Adam Coon.
Zillmer took on Deron Winn, who wrestled for a junior college in the past, also fought and won in a Bellator fight just recently. Zillmer patiently wrestled his way to an 8-2 win in the first bout. It was the second bout that Zillmer brought the fireworks.
Trailing 7-3 with under 90 seconds remaining in the second and final period, Zillmer went to work. He used back-to-back step out points to cut the score to 7-5. Then with 39 seconds to go, powered through for a takedown and subsequently a turn to take a 9-7 lead. He would drain out the rest of the clock and obtained the right to appear at Final X later this summer.
Nelson was then pitted against Coon, who had qualified for the best-of-three finals by winning the U.S. Open in late April. Coon was able to control the first match, with Nelson scoring just a step out point, falling 6-1. In the second match, Nelson was able to get in on some offensive shots.
A key sequence in the first period would put Coon on top. A shot, initiated by Nelson, turned into four points for Coon. A challenge would come out for Nelson, and ended up changing the score to 5-2 after a four-point move for Coon, a two-point move for Nelson and a one-point reversal for Coon, who ended up on top in the sequence.
Zillmer now will shift his training focus for his Final X appearance, which is set for June 23 in Bethlehem, Penn. He will wrestle J’den Cox, who is the reigning Olympic bronze medalist for the United States. There will be six weight classes wrestling in the final of the three Final X events. Winners earn spots on the U.S. senior world team to compete at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 20-28.
Nelson will officially be in the third spot for the World Team with his finish at the World Team Trials. He will be eligible to tour with the U.S. team during their events for the next year.
Full Match-by-Match Results:
Hayden Zillmer (2-0, Final X Qualifier)
Finals Rnd 1: Hayden Zillmer over Deron Winn (TMWC), 8-2
Finals Rnd 2: Hayden Zillmer over Deron Winn (TMWC), 9-7
Tony Nelson (0-2)
Finals Rnd 1: Adam Coon (NYAC) over Tony Nelson, 6-1
Finals Rnd 2: Adam Coon (NYAC) over Tony Nelson, 10-4