LAS VEGAS, Nev. – 2020 Olympic champion Gable Steveson finished off his comeback U.S. Open with a dominant technical fall victory over two-time World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in the 125 kg finals, and was named Outstanding Wrestler at the 2023 U.S. Men’s Freestyle Open on Friday night.

And after rallying the crowd behind him, he hit his patented back flip, the first time since he entertained the fans at the 2022 NCAA Championship finals.

All 10 of the champions have earned a spot in Final X in Newark, New Jersey, June 10. In seven of the weight classes, the U.S. Open champion will face a 2022 Senior World medalist who has already earned their spot in Final X. In three weight classes, the U.S. Open champion will battle the winner of the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., in May.

Steveson advances to Final X, but does not know his opponent yet, since the USA did not win a medal at the 2022 Senior Worlds at 125 kg. The other weight classes where the U.S. Open champion does not know their Final X opponent are 61 kg and 92 kg (where J’den Cox declined his berth in Final X in order to move up to 97 kg).

The weight classes where the U.S. Open winner will face a 2022 World medalist are 57 kg, 65 kg, 70 kg, 74 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg and 97 kg.

2016 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time World champion J’den Cox moved up to 97 kg, and defeated Isaac Trumble handily, 12-3. He earned the right to battle 2022 World champion Kyle Snyder in Final X. Cox dropped a two-of-three in the exhibition Super Match last year in Detroit prior to the NCAA Championships, and is looking for the chance to wrestle him again.

At 57 kg, Zane Richards scored a late takedown to edge Nick Suriano of the Sunkist Kids, 3-3, to earn the right to wrestle 2022 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman in Final X.

At 65 kg, after trailing early, Nick Lee opened up his offense to secured a 10-5 victory over Joey McKenna, and will battle 2022 World silver medalist Yianni Diakomihalis at Final X in Newark.

In one of the most exciting finishes of the night, Tyler Berger scored late and edged Sam Sasso, 10-9 at 70 kg and will face 2022 World silver medalist Zain Retherford in Final X.

Also with a strong second period that included some explosive technique, Jason Nolf defeated his former Penn State teammate Vincenzo Joseph at 74 kg by a 10-5 margin. He will face 2022 World champion Kyle Dake in Final X.

Chance Marsteller won the 79 kg title, edging Alex Dieringer 3-2 at 79 kg. The match was tied at 2-2, and Dieringer was placed on the shot clock and could not score, giving Marsteller the winning point. For the second straight year, Marsteller will face Olympic champion and six-time World champion Jordan Burroughs in Final X.

At 86 kg, Aaron Brooks fell behind Zahid Valencia by a 6-0 margin, then scored 10 straight points to win his first Senior Nationals title. Brooks, a three-time NCAA champion for Penn State, will face Nittany Lion WC teammate David Taylor, the 2022 World champion and 2020 Olympic champion, in Final X.

In addition to Steveson, the two other U.S. Open champions who don’t know their Final X opponents are Vitali Arujau at 61 kg and Michael Macchiavello at 92 kg.

Arujau scored a takedown and four turns for a quick 10-0 technical fall over Austin DeSanto in the finals. Arujau will await the 61 kg winner of the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Final X.

Macchiavello broke open a close match with multiple turns in the second period, on the way to a 12-2 technical fall over Kollin Moore. His Final X opponent is also to be determined at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament.

At Las Vegas, Nev., April 28, 2023

57 kg
1st – Zane Richards (Illinois RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nick Suriano (Sunkist Kids WC), 3-3
3rd – Jakob Camacho (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Austin Assad (Ohio), 13-2
5th – Cooper Flynn (Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Spencer Lee (Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Caleb Smith (North Carolina) fall Michael Tortorice (Knights RTC), 4:26

61 kg
1st – Vitali Arujau (Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Austin Desanto (Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-0
3rd – Nahshon Garrett (Lehigh Valley WC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Nathan Tomasello (Cliff Keen WC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-0
5th – Joe Colon (Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Seth Gross (Sunkist Kids WC)
7th – Aden Valencia (California RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Daniel Deshazer (Gopher WC-RTC), 2-1

65 kg
1st – Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Joseph McKenna (Pennsylvania RTC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-5
3rd – Matthew Kolodzik (New York AC) dec. Beau Bartlett (Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC), 8-6
5th – Anthony Ashnault (New York City RTC/Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Ridge Lovett (Sunkist Kids WC)
7th – Jason Miranda (California) inj. def. Evan Henderson (Lehigh Valley WC /Titan Mercury WC)

70 kg
1st – Tyler Berger (Pennsylvania RTC/Sunkist Kids WC) dec. Sam Sasso (Ohio RTC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-9
3rd – Alec Pantaleo (Cliff Keen WC /Titan Mercury WC) dec. Jarrett Jacques (Tiger Style WC), 4-2
5th – Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Jarod Verkleeren (Cavalier WC), 11-0
7th – Jaydin Eierman (Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Joshua Reyes (Oregon)

74 kg
1st – Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Vincenzo Joseph (Sunkist Kids WC), 10-5
3rd – Keegan O’Toole (Tiger Style WC) dec. Joshua Shields (Sunkist Kids WC), 10-2
5th – Derek Gilcher (Indiana RTC) dec. Collin Purinton (Sunkist Kids WC), 10-8
7th – Thomas Gantt (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC) inj. def. Joey Lavallee (Lehigh Valley WC/Titan Mercury WC)

79 kg
1st – Chance Marsteller (New York City RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Alex Dieringer (Cliff Keen Wrestling Club/Titan Mercury WC), 3-2
3rd – David McFadden (Pennsylvania RTC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Alex Marinelli (Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-0
5th – Michael Kemerer (Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Carter Starocci (Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Taylor Lujan (Panther WC-RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Devin Skatzka (Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC), 12-7

86 kg
1st – Aaron Brooks (Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids WC), 10-6
3rd – Mark Hall (Pennsylvania RTC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Trent Hidlay (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC), 13-2
5th – Andrew Morgan (Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Dylan Fishback (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC), 8-6
7th – Owen Webster (Gopher WC-RTC) dec. Maximus Hale (Pennsylvania RTC), 4-0

92 kg
1st – Michael Macchiavello (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC/Titan Mercury WC), 12-2
3rd – Nathan Jackson (New York AC) dec. Eric Schultz (Sunkist Kids WC), 4-2
5th – Jonathan Aiello (Cavalier WC/Titan Mercury WC) inj. def. Morgan Mcintosh (Nittany Lion WC)
7th – Jacob Cardenas (Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. John Gunderson (Panther WC-RTC), 7-6

97 kg
1st – J’den Cox (Cliff Keen WC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Isaac Trumble (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC), 12-3
3rd – Timothy Dudley (Sunkist Kids WC) dec. Silas Allred (Sunkist Kids WC), 10-6
5th – Morgan Smith (Lehigh Valley WC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Samuel Mitchell (Bulls WC), 2-0
7th – Marco Retano (La Grande Mat Club) forfeit Malik McDonald (Golden Pride WC)

125 kg
1st – Gable Steveson (Gopher WC-RTC) tech. fall Nick Gwiazdowski (Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-0
3rd – Mason Parris (Cliff Keen WC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Wyatt Hendrickson (Colorado), 20-7
5th – Dominique Bradley (Sunkist Kids WC) dec. Demertius Thomas (Pittsburgh WC/New York AC), 8-2
7th – Ty Walz (Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Christian Lance (Sunkist Kids WC), 2-1

Outstanding Wrestler – Gable Steveson, 125 kg

Div. I teams– 1. Titan Mercury, 2, Sunkist Kids
Div. II teams- 1 – New York AC

Original article by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling: Original article by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling: