Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!
Already a subscriber? Log In
James Green came to Lincoln in 2010, a kid from New Jersey looking to make his mark. Now, he might be wrestling his final matches ever in the city he now calls home.
The New Jersey native became just the second Husker ever to become a four-time All-American, and finished his career with the fifth most wins in school history. He went on to represent the NWTC at the international level, winning two world medals and now looking to hold the 70kg world team spot for the fifth straight time.
Sat. June 15 | 12PM & 6PM Central
But is this the last time we'll ever see Green compete in Nebraska? He'll be 27 at the end of this year, and has to move up to 74kg for the Olympic year. He's married now and his credentials will carry over well into the coaching and clinic market, where accolades matter heavily.
Few wrestlers compete into their 30s, and even if Green continues competing, there's no guarantee the World Team Trials or future Final X locations will include the Devaney Center, which hosted the Trials in 2017 and Final X both this year and last.
Green has been a huge part of college and USA wrestling for nearly a decade now. We've seen him win in every way imaginable: ugly on riding time or shot clock points, blowing guys out with leg attacks, lacing opponents up in freestyle. He can wrestle any style you need him to, not just an explosive leg attacker or grinding hand fighter, but both, with high mat IQ, tactical acumen, and technique that future generations of middleweights should study.
This article is not meant to encourage or even imply James Green is retiring. It is merely a plea, in the moment, for wrestling fans to appreciate, as it's happening in real time, the career of a future hall of famer competing in his home gym for possibly the last time.
Not that we don't enjoy seeing Green wrestle elsewhere. He's competed in Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, France, Poland and others during his career. The 26-year-old competed at four Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, three Pan Am championships, and four world championships (so far). But there was something special about hearing him yell "Go Big Red" after beating Jason Chamberlain in Final X last year.
The opponent Green is facing is a formidable one: Ryan Deakin. An All-American for Northwestern this past college season, he made it to Final X with is U.S. Open title over Green, scoring the winning takedown in the dying seconds of the match. He registered another massive upset in 2017 when he won the Junior Open, beating Yianni Diakomihalis in the semis and going on to get silver at Junior worlds. His performance there was a huge part of why America won the team title that year.
Can Green close out the match this time? Will home field advantage be a factor? Could the feeling of his final competition in Nebraska get to him? Is it Ryan Deakin's time?
All of these questions and more will be answered at 6:00 PM central time on Saturday night at Final X: Lincoln.