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Battle at Final X

Battle at Final X

(2023 Men’s World Team Members)

Newark, NJ  The 2023 Final X wrestling event was a thrilling display of skill and athleticism from some of America’s best wrestlers. The event featured both male and female wrestlers, with notable standout performances from Team RUDIS athletes. Winners of this tournament earned their spots on the World team and will go on to compete in Belgrade, Serbia in September. With Olympic dreams on the line, all athletes poured their hearts and souls onto the mat. 


(Sarah getting her hand raised)

Sarah Hildebrandt returned to take care of unfinished business and earned a spot for her 7th World team. She put on an impressive performance in the women’s 50 kg weight class, blanking her opponent, Audrey Jimenez in two straight matches with a dominant display of technique and strength. Utilizing a flurry of ankle-picks and front-headlock to spin-by takedowns, Sarah didn’t allow her opponent to score a single point on her, making this the seventh consecutive year that no one has scored on her at Final X. This win is also significant in that it will give Sarah another shot at pursuing her dream of winning Olympic gold. 


(Kayla wrestles Adaugo)

In an impressive showdown, Kayla Miracle faced off against Adaugo Nwachukwu, a talented 19 year-old U20 World medalist and two-time NAIA champion. Kayla defended her spot at 62 kg weight class and rolled to two straight victories with a series of impressive arm-spins, fireman’s carry takedowns, and a trap-arm gut. In both matches, Kayla showcased her exceptional positioning, effectively denying Adaugo’s offensive attempts.


(Amit wrestles her opponent)

In the women’s 68 kg weight class, Amit Elor was the standout performer. She won by consecutive tech falls and dominated both matches with a stunning display of strength and speed, brandishing an arsenal of Russian-tie snapdowns, front-headlock spin-bys, and a trap-arm gut-wrench. Since last year, Amit has had an outstanding performance, winning three golds in three different age groups. In a similar fashion, she hopes to secure gold again on the international stage.


(Blood runs down Zain’s face)

On the men’s side, Zain Retherford was the standout performer in the 65 kg weight class. Although he was hampered with a head-wound that would require stitches due to an illegal headbutt sustained during the final seconds of the first match, Zain dug deep. He won two back-to-back decisive matches with a combination of precise attacks and quick finishes unleashing a flurry of single-leg, double-leg, and snapdowns enroute to his fourth World team berth.


(Kyle walks off the mat)

Finally in the 97 kg weight class, Kyle Snyder had an uncontested win by injury-default over J’den Cox. Cox made it to weigh-ins on crutches but did not wrestle, effectively forfeiting the match to Kyle.


While there were many standout performances that resulted in victories, there were also some losses that were difficult to witness. Although heartbreaking, losses are a part of the journey. They are a part of being a wrestler. This past weekend was a reminder that wrestling teaches fortitude, courage, patience and humility.


(Kollin wrestles Nate Jackson)

Kollin Moore faced off against Nathan Jackson for the true third place match to make the world team. Battling through injuries, Kollin stepped onto the mat with a fierce determination to secure victory. His explosive takedowns, lightning-fast transitions, and impeccable technique left his opponent struggling to keep up. In the end, Kollin secured a late takedown to defeat Nate Jackson, earning himself a well-deserved third place. Kollin Moore proved once again why he is one of the most formidable wrestlers in the world.


(Kennedy faces off against Adeline Gray)

Despite suffering her losses in the women’s 68kg weight class, Kennedy Blades had the lead in both matches. Although she put up a valiant effort, Blades was ultimately unable to overcome her opponent’s skill and technique. However, it’s important to remember that Blades is an incredibly talented athlete who has accomplished a great deal in her career so far. She can be proud of all that she has achieved and use this experience as motivation to continue improving and striving for success in the future.


Similarly, in perhaps the feature matches of the night, Jordan Burroughs suffered tough losses in the men’s 79 kg weight class. Burroughs is a legendary wrestler who has achieved incredible success throughout his career. He has proven time and time again that he is an amazingly-resilient athlete who never gives up. He is sure to use this experience as motivation to continue pushing himself to new heights.

Congrats to our Team RUDIS athletes. We look forward to seeing them compete again in Belgrade, Serbia for the 2023 UWW World Wrestling Championships on September 16-24.

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