- Written by Mollie Hanke Mollie Hanke
- Published: 11 June 2018 11 June 2018
Tempe, Arizona - After competing for the United States for three years on the Junior World Freestyle Team, 2018 NCAA Champion Zahid Valencia will compete Saturday, June 16 at Final X State College for a spot on the Senior World Team for the first time.
Three weights on both the men's and women's side will be contested in State College as part of the three-week Final X series (also June 9 in Lincoln, Neb. and June 23 in Bethlehem, Pa.), with matchups as follows:
65kg: Joey McKenna vs Logan Stieber
79kg: Kyle Dake vs Zahid Valencia
86kg: David Taylor vs Nick Reenan
62kg: Kayla Miracle vs Mallory Velte
72kg: Erin Clodgo vs Rachel Watters
76kg: Adeline Gray vs Korinahe Bullock
Valencia earned his first NCAA Championship in 2018, avenging his 2017 semifinal loss vs. Penn State's Mark Hall to win the title, and has represented the United States three times at the junior level. He has the chance to be one of the youngest-ever Americans to make a USA Senior World Team as only a handful of Americans have made the team while still competing in college.
The training center housed at ASU's Riches Wrestling Complex, the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Regional Training Center, where Valencia and the Sun Devils train for international competition, currently leads the nation with six wrestlers, including three Sun Devils, in the finals of USA Senior and Junior World Team Trials. Sun Devil coaches Lee Pritts (USA Cadet World Team) and Chris Pendleton (USA Pan American Championships Coach) are also both coaching at the international level this year.
Dake became the third wrestler in history to win four NCAA Championships at Cornell and earned the Dan Hodge Trophy as the most outstanding college wrestler at the end of his senior season. On the international stage, he was a runner-up at World Team Trials in 2013, 2015, and 2017, a runner-up at the US Olympic Team Trials in 2016, and a World Cup champion..
Saturday's schedule, including face-off, weigh-ins, and championship rounds is as follows (ET):
3:30-4 pm ET: Medical Check & Face-Off Weigh-In (Media Room/Weigh-In Room)
6 pm ET: Best 2 out of 3 Championship – Round 1 (Rec Hall)
7:15 pm ET: Best 2 out of 3 Championship – Round 2 (Rec Hall)
8:30 pm ET: Best 2 out of 3 Championship – Round 3 (Rec Hall)
Valencia and Dake will face in the fourth match on the rotation on Saturday, with full rotation schedule as follows: McKenna/Stieber, Miracle/Velte, Clodgo/Watters, Dake/Valencia, Gray/Bullock, Taylor/Reenan.
The winner of each best-of-three series will earn a spot on the Senior World Freestyle Team to compete for their country in Budapest, Hungary Oct. 20-28, 2018.