57 kg and 65 kg are phenomenal, but I think most people have 125 kg circled as the weight to watch in Cincinnati. Two-time World medalist and NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski, three-time age level World champion Gable Steveson, and 2019 Junior World champion Mason Parris headline a phenomenal weight; and all in the same pool.
I didn’t even mention two-time NCAA champion Tony Nelson, two-time NCAA finalist Adam Coon, U23 World bronze Youssif Hemida, current World #18 Amar Dhesi, Cadet World silver Jordan Wood, and veteran Senior Nationals champ Dom Bradley. This weight really is stacked from top to bottom, including reserves.
Below is a breakdown and what it means for the Olympic Trials in April. Even if the Olympic Trials seeding committee doesn’t take this competition into consideration, these matches have huge implications towards who will be representing Team USA in Tokyo.
Probable Seeds If Olympic Trials Were Held Today
Five through nine get a little murky and could be debated, but I believe the top four are locked in. Lucky for us, the top five will be competing Friday and Saturday.
Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack WC)
Gable Steveson (Gopher WC)
Mason Parris (Cliff Keen WC)
Dom Bradley (Spartan Combat RTC)
Tony Nelson (Gopher WC)
Gwiz Is The Favorite And Already Has The 1 Seed Locked
While Nick Gwiazdowski won’t be sitting until the finals like he has twice in the past, he already has the Olympic Trials #1 seed locked up. He did this by being a 2019 World Team member and qualifying the weight for Tokyo at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier in March. This is according to USA Wrestling’s seeding procedures, which can be found HERE.
A 2019 World Championship team member who qualifies the weight for the 2020 Olympic Games will automatically receive the #1 seed at the same weight category in which he qualified.
So, even if Gable 14-0s Gwiz, the NC State grad will be at the top of the bracket in April. While this is unfortunate for Gable, it doesn’t mean a victory still wouldn’t be huge. And Gable winning is a very real possibility. Although Gwiz is 2-0, both matches went to criteria. It doesn’t get closer than that, and those matches were almost a year-and-a-half ago. Gable has made it known how bad he wants this rematch.
Watch Gwiz defeat Gable in match two of 2019 Final X below.
Hopefully both wrestlers remain healthy through their first two duals and we get to see that match Friday evening. That may or may not be the case with several other matches due to high profile back ups.
Who Will Michigan and Minnesota Send Out?
There is a chance that we the fans will be deprived of a much anticipated match between Gable Steveson and Mason Parris. Do not fret, however, as three solid backups give us an excellent combination of possible match ups across the board. Tony Nelson is a two-time NCAA champion with a rivalry with Adam Coon that has been ongoing for years. In addition to being big enough to utilise the +3 kg at heavyweight, Coon is a two-time NCAA finalist, Cadet World champion in freestyle, and senior World silver medalist in Greco-Roman. Michigan sends out Youssif Hemida? Cool. Hemida is a multiple-time NCAA All-American and 2018 U23 World bronze medalist.
Luckily for the fans, I think we will get to see a Mason Parris - Nick Gwiazdowski match. Gwiz is the only heavyweight on the Wolfpack WC roster and in terms of seeding, there is no downside to wrestling Parris if you’re Cliff Keen.
Dom Bradley Will Be Defending The #4 Seed Out Of Pool B
Dom Bradley is the only heavy qualified for Olympic Team Trials in Pool B, and will be the favorite in every match on day one. He beat current World #18 Amar Dhesi, who competes for Canada, 9-0 at the Bill Farrell.
Watch Dom Bradley beat Amar Dhesi at the 2019 Bill Farrell below.
Where things get interesting for Bradley is potential matchups on day two. Since beating Gable at the 2018 US Open, Bradley is 0-3 against him. However, he has split matches with Tony Nelson. We haven’t seen Bradley - Gwiazdowski since 2017, but Gwiz is a heavy favorite there.
Each potential Michigan match-up is intriguing. We’ve never seen Bradley - Parris as they just missed each other at Senior Nationals. Coon is 1-0 against Bradley, but that was in 2018 and I would think Bradley would now be the favorite as Coon has primarily wrestled Greco since May of 2019. And last, but not least, Youssif Hemida and Dom Bradley is one of the most fun current upper weight rivalries. These two do not like each other, but they do love slamming each other.
Here's me getting absolutely trucked by Dom Bradley and Youssif Hemida. (sound on please🔊🔊) pic.twitter.com/1EtOfhXkhE— The Night Scootsman (@SpeyWrestle) May 19, 2019
Top Five Potential Matches
Nick Gwiazdowski - Gable Steveson: Friday, 8 PM
Gable Steveson - Mason Parris: Friday, 6 PM
Mason Parris - Nick Gwiazdowski, Friday, 7 PM
Mason Parris - Dom Bradley, Saturday TBD
Adam Coon - Dom Bradley, Saturday TBD
*All times Eastern. Full schedule HERE.