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Final X Stillwater Women’s Freestyle preview

by Gary Abbott, 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, at the Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University.


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 women’s matches in Stillwater feature an Olympic champion, two World champions, five World medalists, as well as some of the most exciting young talents on the national scene. In these five bouts, there will be at least two first-time Senior World Team members determined (76 kg, 59 kg), although there could be three.


Final X Stillwater Women’s match-ups


Bout 2 –76 kg WFS - Dymond Guilford (USOPTC/TMWC) vs. Yelena Makoyed (Cardinal WC/TMWC)


For fans of women’s college wrestling, this is a great battle between a two-time NAIA champion in Dymond Guilford of the University of the Cumberlands against a two-time NCWWC champion (for NCAA schools) in Yelena Makoyed of North Central College. This Final X series is for much more than college bragging rights. With Adeline Gray missing the 2022 season due to being pregnant, one of the nation’s best young heavyweight stars will get a wonderful opportunity to compete at the Senior World Championships and set the stage for a run for the 2024 Olympic Team.


Makoyed placed third at 72 kg at the 2021 World Team Trials, while Guilford was fourth in both the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at 76 kg and fourth at the 2021 World Team Trials at 72 kg. Guilford boast two U.S. Open titles and has a decided advantage in her experience at the international level. Both wrestlers were dominant at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, winning their semifinal matches by technical fall and punching their tickets to Stillwater.


Since April 2021, these athletes have wrestled four times, splitting their series at two wins each. It will be interesting how a best-of-three series will come out between two improving stars looking to break through at the World level.

Recent results

April 27, 2022 – U.S. Open semifinals – Guilford pin Makoyed, 5:40

September 11, 2021 – World Team Trials, 3rd place – Makoyed dec. Guilford, 10-8

May 7, 2021 – U23 Nationals semifinals – Makoyed dec. Guilford, 10-8

April 3, 2021 – U.S. Olympic Team Trials, 3rd place – Guilford dec. Makoyed, 9-6

Bout 6 – 59 kg WFS - Lexie Basham (Spartan Mat Club) vs. Abigail Nette (Army WCAP)


This is another weight class in which neither of the Final X competitors have been on a Senior World Team. However, Abigail Nette has a decided experience advantage over Lexie Basham when it comes to Senior-level experience. Nette was third at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and was a 2021 U.S. Open champion. In college, she won two WCWA national titles, one for Campbellsville and one for Emmanuel. She has made a change in her training situation by joining the U.S. Army WCAP program.


Basham is relatively new to the Senior level, having placed third at both the 2020 and 2022 U.S. Open. She won the NAIA national title for Texas Wesleyan this year, beating Menlo’s Nanea Estrella in the finals. Estrella went on to win the U.S. Open and had the No. 1 seed at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. Basham proved her NAIA title was no fluke by beating Estrella again in the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament semifinals. Basham shows a toughness and a level of confidence that makes her an athlete to watch for the long term.


Will Nette’s edge in experience prove to be a difference maker, or will Basham continue her rise on the Senior level? Although this is a non-Olympic weight, you can expect both of these athletes to be serious contenders at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

No recent results

Bout 11 – 55 kg WFS – Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP) vs. Jacarra Winchester (USOPTC/TMWC)


Of the women’s matchups in Final X this year, the Burkert vs. Winchester showdown promises to be both exciting and dramatic. Both are proven winners. Winchester won a World title at 55 kg in 2019, then claimed her spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team at 53 kg. Winchester tried out for the 2021 World Team back up at 55 kg, and met Burkert in the championship series. Burkert won two of the three matches at the Trials and advanced to the 2021 World Championships, where she won a bronze medal and earned her automatic spot in Final X.


Winchester can be dominant when wrestling at her best, often finishing her matches with first-period technical falls. However, Burkert has proven that she can battle head-on with the best in the world. At the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Burkert took Olympic champion Helen Maroulis to three matches at 57 kg, before Maroulis won the deciding third bout with a stunning fall. Burkert has been on four U.S. Senior World Teams, and will battle Winchester for every point in their Final X series.


Who ya got? Will we see Winchester at her explosive, high-scoring best in Stillwater, or will we see Burkert’s toughness and clutch wrestling under pressure prevail. Either way, this series should be a fan favorite in Stillwater.

Recent results

September 11, 2021 – World Team Trials round 3 – Burkert dec. Winchester, 4-3

September 11, 2021 – World Team Trials round 2 – Winchester dec. Burkert, 9-8

September 11, 2021 – World Team Trials round 1 – Burkert dec. Winchester, 6-6

August 3, 2013 – World Team Trials consi semis – Burkert dec. Winchester, 10-2

Bout 13 – 65 kg WFS – Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids) vs. Mallory Velte (Beaver Dam RTC/TMWC)


What can you say about a Final X best-of-three series between two proven international veterans, both who have won World bronze medals for the United States. When 2021 World bronze medalist Forrest Molinari goes to the center of the mat to face 2018 World bronze medalist Mallory Velte, we can expect to see some great wrestling.


Molinari has made three Senior World Teams at 65 kg, reaching the medal match every time. She was fifth at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships, then claiming the bronze medal at the 2021 Worlds, all at 65 kg. Velte made two World Teams at 62 kg, missing the medals in 2017 then getting the bronze in 2018. Molinari would seem to have a size advantage, after competing in the Olympic Trials up at 68 kg. Velte looked especially strong at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, with a big win over 2022 U.S. Open champion Emma Bruntil in the finals series, two matches to one.


Molinari wins bouts with her power and tenacity, while Velte has shown some clutch technical skills in her most challenging matches. While their style is different, both have proven they know how to win when it counts. Molinari won the most recent battle, 7-4 at the Yasar Dogu in Turkey in February. This one should be a barn burner.

Recent results

February 24, 2022 - Yasar Dogu International (Turkey) – Molinari dec. Velte, 7-4

November 1, 2017 – Dave Schultz Memorial International finals – Molinari dec. Velte, 4-2

April 26, 2017 – U.S. Open quarterfinals – Velte dec. Molinari, 6-2

Bout 15 – 68 kg WFS – Tamyra Mensah Stock (USOPTC/TMWC) vs. Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon RTC)


Remember to 2020 Olympic Games? It was not really that long ago when Tamyra Mensah Stock became an international sensation with her dramatic gold-medal performance in Tokyo, becoming only the second U.S. woman to win an Olympic wrestling gold medal. Prior to that, Mensah Stock was dominant in her run to the 2019 Senior World title. She has three World medals and an Olympic gold, and can add in three Yarygin Grand Prix titles to boot. She has not wrestled since October in Oslo, when she lost her first bout and finished with a bronze medal. A major question will be whether or not she has some ring rust by not wrestling during the regular season.


Her opponent is a relative unknown on the international scene, 2021 NAIA national champion Sienna Ramirez of Southern Oregon. She has made a name on the college level, with an NAIA title in 2021, an NAIA third place finish in 2022, and an All-American placement at the 2019 WCWA Nationals. This year, she has stepped up to the Senior level with great results. Ramirez won the 2022 U.S. Open, then captured the title at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament to earn her place in Final X. Her championship series battle with a past NAIA and WCWA national champion Solin Piearcy was as close as it gets, as all three matches were decided by criteria.


Mensah Stock is known worldwide, while Ramirez is just making her name on the national level. Mensah Stock is an overwhelming favorite in Final X Stillwater, but Ramirez will have no pressure battling against a reigning Olympic champion. It could be interesting if Ramirez can fight tough and not be overwhelmed by this opportunity.

No recent results


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

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