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Final X Stillwater Greco-Roman preview

by By Ellen Paddock, USA Wrestling

On June 3, the nation’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, presented by Tezos.

A week from now, a year of Senior-level competition will culminate for 30 wrestlers in this best-of-three series in the Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University. There will be two sessions to determine the 2022 World Team members. It will be an intense and emotional day of competition because for every wrestler who achieves their dream, there will be one who falls short.

The first matches of the series will be held in session one starting at 2 p.m. CT. Session two featuring match two and three (if necessary) of the series will start at 7 p.m. CT.

The five Greco-Roman bouts set for Stillwater will feature several rematches between familiar opponents. Between the 10 wrestlers, there are two Olympians, eight World Championship appearances and 12 Pan American Championship medals in the mix. Here’s a closer look at the Greco-Roman match ups.

Bout 1 – 63 kg GR - Sammy Jones (NYAC) vs. Jesse Thielke (Army WCAP)

The battle at 63 kg 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 a minute and a half into the first period of the match. Early in the second period, Jones took advantage of Jesse Thielke’s head position and cinched up a front headlock to take the match 9-0 with a technical fall. The only other recent time the two met was five years ago at the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial International, where Thielke topped Jones 8-0.

Despite these results, anything can happen in the historic Gallagher-Iba Arena at Final X. In his 2016 Olympic run, Thielke proved he can make anything happen during an iconic winning streak. Thielke upset Spencer Mango, a legend of the sport, at the 2016 U.S.Olympic Team Trials with an 8-0 technical fall. He went on to beat Ildar Hafizov in a best of three series to make the Olympic Team. He then put together another incredible performance to qualify the weight for the Olympics, displaying his prolific scoring abilities.

Jones and Thielke have very different histories in the sport leading up to this point. An accomplished age level wrestler, Thielke made four Junior World Teams, placing bronze at the 2012 Junior World Championships. He went on to wrestle collegiately at the University of Wisconsin where he qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2015. In contrast, Jones was homeschooled through high school and went straight to the NMU OTS to train Greco-Roman. 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 63 kg will be one of the most entertaining Greco-Roman matches in Stillwater.

Recent results

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

Bout 3 – 130 kg GR - Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids) vs. Tanner Farmer (NYAC)

When Cohlton Schultz and Tanner Farmer met last at the 2021 Senior World Team semifinal, Schultz dominated the match, 5-0. Schultz moved Farmer around the mat and scored one point on passivity and four more points on the edge to seal the victory. The two wrestlers had a closer semifinal match at the 2020 Senior Nationals. Schultz scored one point on a passivity call, and then two more on a gut wrench. Farmer was able to come out on top with a reversal, followed by a turn, tying the score at 3-3. Schultz answered with an aggressive pushout to gain the lead at 4-3, the final score.

Schultz is a 2021 Senior World Team member, won World medals at the U20 and U17 age levels and took second at the U.S. Olympic Trials to World silver medalist Adam Coon. Farmer is an incredible athlete and student of the sport. Farmer played football at the University of Nebraska and used his final year of eligibility to wrestle at NAIA Concordia University. It is a testament to his athleticism that he can have such high levels of success in two different sports. Farmer put on an incredible performance at the 2022 Bill Farrell Memorial tournament beating all three of his opponents by eight points and allowing only one point to be scored against him that day.

Recent results

September 11, 2021 - Senior World Team Trials Semis - Cohlton Schultz dec. Tanner Farmer, 5-0

October 9, 2020 - Senior Nationals Semis - Cohlton Schultz dec. Tanner Farmer, 4-3

Bout 5– 72 kg GR - Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) vs. Benjamin Peak (Sunkist Kids)

Returning World Team member Patrick Smith and two-time Senior Open Champion Benjamin Peak will turn heads as they both lay it all on the line for a spot on the World Team. The pair has one of the most drastic style differences among the Greco-Roman competition. Smith stays in good position and is always moving forward. He will bring heavy pressure in the pummel to wear out his opponents, while using the nuts and bolts of Greco-Roman wrestling to get the job done. Peak is tall, lengthy 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 final. An exchange of push outs and passivity calls made for a close match one at 3-3, in favor of Smith. In match two, Peak was up to a 3-0 lead after scoring on a gut wrench. Peak tallied another point on a push out to widen his lead to 4-0 with 45 seconds left in the first period. Smith answered back in the remaining seconds of the period with four-point throw to tie the match and eventually won the match, 6-4 and made the World Team.

Recent results

September 11, 2021 - Senior World Team Trials Round 2 - Patrick Smith dec. Benjamin Peak, 6-4

September 11, 2021 - Senior World Team Trials Round 1 - Patrick Smith dec. Benjamin Peak, 3-3

Bout 7 – 82 kg GR – Ben Provisor (NYAC) vs. Spencer Woods (Army WCAP)

Provisor and Woods, who have wrestled several times, will meet again in what will be a rematch of the 2022 USMC U.S. Open Finals that took place one month ago, on April 27. In the four matches they have wrestled recently, Provisor has been successful over Woods, while Woods has closed the gap by a few points each match. In the finals of the U.S. Open, it was Provisor’s work in par terre that made the difference in the match. He scored on two gut wrenches to build a lead. Woods responded with a takedown and was close to scoring on another takedown as time expired. Provisor finished with a 5-3 victory.

Provisor, a 2012 and 2016 Olympian, will be competing to repeat his 2021 World Team spot where he defeated Woods in two straight matches in the best-of-three series (7-1, 4-2) at the 2021 Senior World Team Trials. Provisor has perhaps the largest resume on the Greco-Roman scene, with Senior-level results going back to 2009. Woods, a 2021 U23 World Team member and 2021 U.S. Open champion, will be competing to make his first Senior World Team. Woods competed with Northern Michigan University – National Training Site prior to enlisting in the Army and joining its World Class Athlete Program.

Recent results

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 - Senior World Team Trials Round 2 - Ben Provisor dec. Spencer Woods, 4-2

September 11, 2021 - Senior World Team Trials Round 1 - Ben Provisor dec. Spencer Woods, 7-1

Bout 9 – 55 kg GR - Max Nowry (Army WCAP) vs. Brady Koontz (Ohio RTC/TMWC)

To close out the night for Greco-Roman competition will be a 2019 Final X rematch between Max Nowry and Brady Koontz. Nowry, a 2021 World Team member, three-time Pan American gold medalist and 2019 Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year has defeated Koontz the last six times they have met. In the championship round at the World Team Trials last year, Nowry took the best of three series in two straight matches winning 3-1 and 2-1. Since the two met in the second round of Final X 2019, where Nowry won 11-5, Koontz apparently adjusted, and has been able to stay within three points of Nowry in their latest matches.

In match one at the World Team Trials, Nowry was put down on passivity, putting Koontz in the lead, but Knootz was unable to capitalize with a turn. In the second period, the score was tied up at 1-1 when Koontz was called on passivity. Nowry then took a side lift out of bounds for another point and finished with a 2-1 victory over Koontz. The second round started the same way as the first, Nowry was put down on passivity and Koontz was unable to capitalize. The two were brought back up to their feet where Nowry snapped Koontz down and went behind for two points, making it 2-1 at the end of the first period. A passivity on Koontz locked in the final score of 3-1 in favor of Nowry. The last two times these athletes wrestled, it has been close and Koontz, who wrestles at Ohio State, was only one move away from catching up to Nowry. The two will be in a familiar position and on a familiar stage as they battle for the 2022 World Team spot.

Recent results

September 11, 2021 - Senior World Team Trials Round 2 - Max Nowry dec. Brady Koontz, 3-1

September 11, 2021 - Senior World Team Trials Round 1 - Max Nowry dec. Brady Koontz, 2-1

April 30, 2021 - Senior Nationals 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 is happening at the Hall of Fame facility next door, June 3-4.

FloWrestling will serve as the host broadcasting partner for both Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos, and Final X New York, presented by Tezos.

Click here for the Final X Stillwater FloWrestling Broadcast:

Tickets for Final X Stillwater, presented by Tezos