Gophers rising sophomore Gable Steveson (125kg) and alum Pat Smith (77kg) are set to compete at Final X: Rutgers this Saturday in a pair of best-of-three series. Steveson faces 2018 World Medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in freestyle while Smith challenges 2019 US Open Champion Kamal Bey in Greco-Roman.
Smith will be the second bout in the 5 pm evening session while Steveson and Gwiazdowski will wrestle fifth following the Whitney Conder/Victoria Anthony bout. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow @GopherWrestling on Twitter.
If victorious, the wrestlers will compete at the 2019 United World Wrestling Championships from September 14-22 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
While Gwiazdowski automatically earned his spot in the competition as a returning medalist, Steveson punched his ticket with a 5-0 run at the World Team Trials in Raleigh the weekend of May 17. Steveson defeated training partner and former Gophers heavyweight Tony Nelson in the bracket finals before dispatching Adam Coon in two consecutive matches in the best-of-three finals.
Steveson, the youngest heavyweight in the original trials field, is now the youngest freestyle competitor at Final X. Steveson would be the first teenager to make the senior world team since Kyle Snyder did so at 97kg in 2015.
Only 19-years-old, Steveson is a two-time Cadet World Champion, 2017 Junior World Champion, and a 2018 Junior World Team member. Steveson is vying to be the first Maroon and Gold wrestler to make the senior freestyle world team since Dustin Schlatter did so in 2009.
Schlatter will be in Steveson’s corner alongside Gophers assistant coach Trevor Brandvold. Brandvold himself was an Olympic Trials finalist while head coach Brandon Eggum won silver at the 2001 World Championships.
If either fails, they solidify their spot as alternates. If Steveson falls he also has the option to request a wrestle-off against U23 Champion Daniel Kerkvliet for the 125kg spot at U23 World Champions in Budapest, Hungary.
Smith, a 2017 World Team Member at 71kg, will attempt to avenge a loss to Bey in the 2019 US Open Finals that gave Bey the bye to Final X. Smith is coached in part by Gophers legend and 2019 National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee Brandon Paulson.
Smith earned his spot by running through the World Team Trials undefeated including a pair of victories over Mason Manville in the best-of-three finale.
All action can be watched via Flowrestling.
(GR = Greco-Roman, FS = Freestyle)
Session One Weigh-Ins: 8:30-9am CT
Session One – 11:00 am CT
- Bout 1: Men’s GR 87kg – Joe Rau (Titan Mercury WC/Chicago RTC) vs. Ben Provisor (New York AC/Nittany Lion WC)
- Bout 2: Women’s FS 72kg – Alyvia Fiske (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Victoria Francis (Titan Mercury WC)
- Bout 3: Men’s GR 82kg – Kendrick Sanders (New York AC) vs. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps)
- Bout 4: Men’s GR 55kg – Max Nowry (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Brady Koontz (Ohio RTC)
- Bout 5: Men’s GR 67kg – Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps)
- Bout 6: Women’s FS 57kg – Becka Leathers (Titan Mercury WC/Tar Heel RTC) vs. Jenna Burkert (U.S. Army WCAP)
Session Two Weigh-Ins – 2:30-3pm CT
Session Two – 5:00 pm CT
- Bout 1: Women’s FS 65kg – Forrest Molinari (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC) vs. Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids/OTC)
- Bout 2: Men’s GR 77kg – Kamal Bey (Sunkist Kids/OTC) vs. Pat Smith (Minnesota Storm)
- Bout 3: Women’s FS 68kg – Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Titan Mercury WC/OTC) vs. Alexandria Glaude (Titan Mercury WC/McKendree Bearcat WC)
- Bout 4: Women’s FS 50kg – Whitney Conder (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Victoria Anthony (Sunkist Kids)
- Bout 5: Men’s FS 125kg – Nick Gwiazdowski (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC) vs. Gable Steveson (Minnesota RTC)
- Bout 6: Men’s FS 65kg – Yianni Diakomihalis (Titan Mercury WC/Finger Lakes RTC) vs. Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion WC)
- Bout 7: Men’s FS 92kg – J’den Cox (Titan Mercury WC/OTC) vs. Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion WC)