ROCHESTER, Minn. — University of Michigan graduate student Adam Coon moved one step closer to making the 2018 U.S. world freestyle team after sweeping the 125kg/275-pound best-of-three finals at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament on Sunday (May 20) at the RCTC Regional Sports Center.
Coon controlled both matches to defeat former Minnesota NCAA champion Tony Nelson, 6-1 and 10-4, in the championship series. He used three pushouts and a passivity point to build a lead in the first match before icing it on a go-behind takedown late. In the second bout, Coon jumped out to a sizable early advantage with a four-point crotch lift off a Nelson high-crotch attempt before adding two takedowns in the second.
It was the first matches between the two since the 2014 Michigan-Minnesota dual meet at Cliff Keen Arena — which Coon clinched with an overtime win against the Golden Gopher.
Coon now advances to Final X on Saturday, June 23, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he will face 2017 World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in a best-of-three series for the world team spot at 125kg.
New this year, USA Wrestling’s Final X series splits the 10 weight classes among three campus sites — Lincoln, Nebraska, and State College, Pennsylvania, are the others — to determine the 2018 U.S. world team.
Michigan also had a pair of third-place finishers in senior/junior Alec Pantaleo in the 70kg/154-pound senior division and freshman Jelani Embree in the 86kg/189-pound junior division.
Pantaleo, a 2016 junior world team member, posted a 3-1 record and defeated Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin, 5-0, in the third-place bout. Pantaleo scored on a passivity point and late takedown in the first period and iced the bout with another takedown midway through the second. It was his second win over Deakin, a 2017 junior world silver medalist, this spring.
Embree, who qualified for the 2015 Cadet world team but could not compete due to injury, also went 3-1 en route to third place, defeating Minnesota’s Owen Webster, 6-2, in the medal match. The Wolverine wrestler blew the match open with a five-point second period, scoring on a double leg before using leg attacks to earn three pushouts over the final 69 seconds.