Elevating the Sport

On this episode, Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan talk about and recap all of the exciting stories revolving around Final X Rutgers. Dernlan attended Final X Rutgers at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) and speaks about how phenomenal of an event it was. Dernlan’s opinion echos the online consensus of how much everyone enjoyed it. Wrestling is a winter sport which makes tailgating very difficult so having a huge wrestling event during summer is a welcomed change. Dernlan also gives kudos to the RAC for staging the event and making the environment spectacular.

Yianni vs Zain (4:19)

Wasting no time Askren jumps into the topic everyone is talking about the controversial official call during the second match of Yianni Diakomihalis vs Zain Retherford. After the first period and a series of exciting scrambles, Diakomihalis was up 8-6 at the end of the match. Retherford’s coach Cael Sanderson challenged the sequence that awarded Diakomihalis two exposure points with just under a minute left in the second. After a long review, they took away the points and awarded Retherford the win 6-6 with criteria. Askren’s first issue is that in the rule book although ambiguous clearly states you only have five seconds after the scoreboard changes to challenge it.

Controversy (8:40)

In Askren’s estimation, he sees the scramble as a 2-2 scenario. Dernlan talks about how the three officials all had different scores and from his understanding whenever that happens they should meet automatically and make a call. He also states that even if Sanderson would have thrown the challenge brick during the sequence they wouldn’t have stopped the wrestling until the sequence was over. In freestyle, they don’t restart the clock to the time of the challenge like they do in folkstyle. If that would have been the case, Diakomihalis would have had 45-50 seconds of time to wrestle with the knowledge he needs to score. This is why Dernlan says they should have stopped the sequence because they know they have to get the score right because they can’t restart the clock.

Technicalities (22:30)

Reading from the rule book Askren talks about the rule that states no challenge can be requested after the regular time of a period (In this case it was). It goes on to say, except when the points are added to the scoreboard after the referee’s whistle (ending the period). In this case, it was not because the points were added about 50 seconds before the end of the period. Overall, both Askren and Dernlan are on board for a third winner take all match and have the wrestlers decide and not leave it up to the officials.

Bo Nickal vs J’Den Cox (28:08)

Bo Nickal weighs in at 87.7 practically 10 kg underweight and extremely close to 86 kg weight class. This is surprising because it means he most likely could have made that weight and wrestled against Pat Downey instead of facing J’Den Cox. This is if he had a heads up from his close friend David Taylor when he knew he wasn’t going to be able to compete this year. Askren understands the concept and principal of not wrestling one of your best friends but if they’re the same weight class they may not have a choice in the future. All this being said, Cox didn’t win the matches because he was the heavier wrestler, he won because he was the better wrestler. Askren’s advice for Nickal would be to go wrestle-off for a spot on the U23 team at 86 kg and get some world experience.

Gwiz vs Steveson (38:18)

Askren gives credit to Dernlan for calling Nick Gwiazdowski’s ability to get second and third re-attack points in their Final X Technical Breakdowns. Askren was also extremely impressed with Gable Steveson and his athleticism.

Golden Era (40:55)

Askren speaks about how this is the first time in a long time the U.S. has second and third guys that could medal at Worlds. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific reason why the U.S. has the depth of talent we do right now but we are not taking it for granted.


Featured RUDIS Gear:

Askren is wearing the Ben Askren Funky Silhouette T-Shirt found here: https://rudis.com/product/ben-askren-funky-adult-t-shirt/

Dernlan is wearing the USA Merit Halverson Jacket found here: https://rudis.com/product/rocky-champion-adult-t-shirt/


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Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan host the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast. Askren, World Champion, and Olympic Wrestler joins in official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS. Matt Dernlan joins from years of experience in D1 college coaching at Binghamton, Clarion, and Penn State University.

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