Final X Takes Over State College on Saturday; Preview and Picks

It’s Final X day here in State College, PA as some of the Nation’s top wrestlers invade the Keystone State for the second of three World Team qualifications. PA Power Wrestling will be on hand to give you all the updates. You can watch live on Flo with action kicking-off at 6:00 PM. PA Power’s Jeff Upson and Eric Knopsnyder give their predictions and previews below!


Match #1 – Men’s 65 kg


Joseph McKenna, Towaco, N.J. (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)


Logan Stieber, Columbus, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)


Two Ohio State Buckeyes, albeit never on the same squad, are practice partners at the Ohio Regional Training Center, but on Saturday, they will face-off in enemy territory for a spot on the 2018 USA World Team. 4-time NCAA National Champion Logan Stieber was the 2016 Senior World Champion at 61 kilograms but last year went (1-2) in Paris at the World Championships, again at 61 kilograms. Now up at 65 kilograms, an Olympic weight-class, Stieber comes in to Final X after a few setbacks in the qualification round. At the U.S. Open Stieber fell to Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) in the quarterfinals and ended up finishing in third. McKenna, a New Jersey native, ended up earning a spot in Final X by defeating Eierman in the U.S. Open finals. McKenna is no stranger to World Teams as he was a Cadet World Team member is 2012 and was a Junior World Team member in both 2013 and 2014 – capturing a World Silver Medal in 2014.

Upson’s Pick: Stieber 2 to 0

Knopsnyder’s Pick: Stieber 2 to 0 



Match #2 – Women’s 62 kg


Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids)


Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)


Probably the most intriguing of the Women’s Freestyle matches is Mallory Velte vs. Kayla Miracle at 62 kilograms. The two met in the U.S. Open finals a month ago with Miracle winning (3-0) to earn a spot in Final X. Miracle is a Women’s Wrestling prodigy who recently finished her career capturing her fourth WCWA National Championship. Velete on the other hand was the 63 kilogram World Team member last year for the United State’s in Paris. Miracle has the International advantage as of late coming off a Gold Medal at the Klippan Open in Sweden where she took down a World Champion in Yulia Tkach (Ukraine).

Upson’s Pick: Miracle 2 to 0

Knopsnyder’s Pick: Miracle 2 to 0 



Match #3 – Women’s 72 kg


Erin Clodgo, Richmond, Vermont (Sunkist Kids)


Rachel Watters, Ankeny, Iowa (New York AC/Aires WC)


Like the first Women’s bout, Match #3 will feature a rematch from a month earlier with Erin Clodgo and Rachel Watters at 72 kilograms. Clodgo qualified for Final X when she edged out Watters in the U.S. Open Finals (6-5). Watters bounced back to win the World Team Trials in dominating fashion, setting up the rematch in State College. Clodgo has been on a total of nine different USA Women’s Teams including the 2015 Senior World Team. Watters has been on three Junior World Teams for the United State’s.

Upson’s Pick: Clodgo 2 to 0

Knopsnyder’s Pick: Clodgo 2 to 1 



Match #4 – Men’s 79 kg


Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y. (Titan Mercury WC)


Zahid Valencia, Bellflower, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)


The young stud vs. the veteran hammer. Can Zahid Valencia spoil Kyle Dake’s plans of making his first ever Senior World Team? The Arizona State National Champion made a strong case at the World Team Trials when he defeated Alex Dieringer in two straight matches. Valencia has been on three Junior World Teams for Team USA winning a Silver Medal in 2017. Kyle Dake is not only a 4-time NCAA Champion but one of the biggest names in USA Wrestling. He went undefeated at the 2018 World Cup and was a Silver Medalist at the prestigious Ivan Yarygin Memorial. Without a doubt the most intriguing match of the Final X in State College – we’ll see if it lives up to the hype!

Upson’s Pick: Dake 2 to 1

Knopsnyder’s Pick: Dake 2 to 0 



Match #5 – Women’s 76 kg


Adeline Gray, Kingston, Pa. (New York AC)


Korinahe Bullock, Cahokia, Ill. (McKendree Bearcat WC)


Much like the final Men’s match of Final X State College, the Women’s finale between Adeline Gray and Korinahe Bullock isn’t expected to be a overly competitive series. Adeline Gray has been one of the biggest United State’s names in Women’s wrestling having three senior level World Championship titles to her name. She was the Olympic representative for Team USA in 2016, falling short of her ultimate goal but, after taking 2017 off, she appears poised to win her fourth World Gold. Standing in her way is Korinahe Bullock, a young up-and-comer who just wrapped up her true-freshman season at McKendree. Despite having a tall task in Adeline Gray at Final X, Bullock will also be representing Team USA on the U23 World Team.

Upson’s Pick: Gray 2 to 0

Knopsnyder’s Pick: Gray 2 to 0 



Match #6 – Men’s 86 kg


David Taylor, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)


Nick Reenan, Dallas, Texas (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC)


Nittany Lion favorite and wrestling super star David Taylor returns to Rec Hall where he looks to make his first ever Senior level World Team. David Taylor will look to dazzle his Blue and White fans on Saturday night in a place he now calls home. According to Flo’s Willie Saylor we are now allowed to claim the Magic Man for ourselves in Pennsylvania! #Winning 

The 2-time NCAA Champion finally looks like the favorite for a spot on a Senior level team and shouldn’t have any issues getting past N.C. State’s Nick Reenan who, despite spending some time at Wyoming Seminary, is most definitely from Texas (as PA Power’s Eric Knopsnyder found out on Twitter a few years ago). Taylor style of high pace scoring in bunches will be on full display on Saturday night against Reenan. 

Upson’s Pick: Taylor 2 to 0

Knopsnyder’s Pick: Taylor 2 to 0 


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