It is always disappointing when the World Championships come to end. This year, however, disappointment is not what wrestling fans were feeling at the end of October. Team USA had a record-setting year in Budapest, taking home 12 medals in all. Of these 12 medals, four were gold, three were silver, and five were bronze. Eight medals were won by former collegiate superstars, all from different NCAA schools. The other four medals were earned by U.S. women; some of which set records of their own.
Team USA has never won 12 medals in a single year before, making this a historic world championship for them. After ranking second in men’s freestyle and third in women’s freestyle, the U.S. is now ranked third overall after Russia and Japan. Here are some of our favorite moments from the 2018 World Championships.
J’den Cox won the gold against Ivan Yankouski of Belarus in the 92-kilogram weight class. Formerly a star at Mizzou competing in the 86-kilogram class, Cox was a three-time NCAA champion, four-time All-American and four-time Mid-American Conference champion for the school. After winning the bronze in 2017 and the Olympic bronze in 2016, Cox is finally a world champion after his exciting match against Yankouski.
Kyle Dake had an unforgettable first year on the world team. He won the gold in the 79-kilogram class against Olympic bronze medalist Jabrayil Hasanov of Azerbaijan. Dake is a four-time NCAA champion from Cornell, and he entered the 2018 World Championships ranked number four in the world.
When Adeline Gray defeated Yasemin Adar of Turkey this year, she claimed her fourth world title and sixth world medal overall. Only one other female wrestler in history has this many world titles, and two other male wrestlers. Gray now gets to join legendary Tricia Saunders, Jordan Burroughs and John Smith on this list. Before she could win the gold in the 76-kilogram weight class, Gray had some tough competitors to beat like Olympic gold medalist Erica Wiebe and Olympic bronze medalist Elmira Syzdykova. Adeline Gray has also been nominated for the Team USA Awards: Best of October for her outstanding achievements.
Adam Coon was able to pin four opponents on the way up, but fell just short of first place against Sergey Semenov of Russia. A three-time NCAA All-American and two-time NCAA runner-up from Michigan, Coon won silver for the 130-kilogram weight class. This accomplishment makes Coon the first U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to make it to the final round in a world championship since 2009. Fortunately for Team USA and fans, Adam chose to be a heavyweight wrestler instead of a pro football player after graduation.
After crushing Sumit Malik of India, Nick Gwiazdowski (Gwizz) became a world bronze medalist for the second year in a row. The number one ranked wrestler at 125 kilograms is also a two-time NCAA champion and three-time All-American from N.C. State. Gwizz spent his freshman year at Binghamton where he also earned All-American status, making him a four-time All-American overall.
One of the most-anticipated matches of the World Championships this year: The rematch between Ohio State’s three-time NCAA champion Kyle Snyder and Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev. Both wrestlers were two-time world champions and Olympic gold medalists going into the match, so the pressure was on for Snyder to take home the gold for the second time in a row. Even though it was a close match, Kyle took the silver in the 97-kilogram class. When Snyder defeated Sadulaev in 2017, it gave the U.S. the points it needed to win the team title over Russia; the first team title for the U.S. since 1995.
David Taylor also made his debut appearance at the 2018 World Championships, and much like Kyle Dake, he did not disappoint. Taylor overpowered No. 1 seed Fatih Erdin of Turkey and won the gold for the 86-kilogram weight class. This was the first gold medal awarded to Team USA at this World Championships. The two-time NCAA champion and two-time runner up from Penn State was nominated for the Team USA Awards: Best in October for his remarkable performance.
If you want to be as good as one of these guys one day, you’d better get started! Browse through our huge selection of wrestling singlets, wrestling gear and custom team apparel to find what’s right for you. Our buddy Nick Gwiazdowski seems to like them.