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Kyven Gadson, a former Iowa State wrestler, won the 2018 world team trials challenge tournament in Rochester, Minnesota, to advance to Final X next month. Cody Goodwin, cgoodwin2@dmreg.com

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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Kyven Gadson stood in the mixed zone of the Regional Sports Center here wearing a medal around his neck and holding a plaque in his hand. Before him stood a throng of media — and, next month, an unenviable task.

Gadson won the 2018 men’s freestyle world team trials challenge here this weekend. He navigated Saturday’s mini-tournament and then won the best-of-three finals at 97 kilograms (roughly 213 pounds) over former Oklahoma State wrestler Austin Schafer on Sunday afternoon.

In doing so, the Waterloo native advanced to Final X, the third leg of the world team trials process. He will wrestle Kyle Snyder on June 9 in Lincoln, Nebraska, in a best-of-three set for the right to represent the United State’s at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in October.

Snyder, of course, is the current face of USA Wrestling, a three-time world and Olympic champion at just 22 years old. He is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound wrestler on the planet. It is not so much an uphill climb for Gadson as much as it’ll be akin to scaling a mountain.

Gadson, for his part, said all the right things Sunday. He was upbeat about his wrestling — he recorded a pin and a technical fall Saturday to advance to Sunday’s best-of-three final against Schafer. He took the first match 8-1 before Schafer injury-defaulted out.

But afterward, with his medal and plaque in tow, he couldn’t escape what is coming next month.

“Obviously, Kyle is a tough competitor,” Gadson said, “and to make the world team, that’s who I have to beat — best two-out-of-three. He’s another competitor, and to get to where I want to be, I have to beat him.”

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To be fair, it’s not like Snyder is completely unbeatable. He’s lost matches before — including one to Gadson, in the 2015 NCAA finals, when Gadson pinned Snyder on the raised stage in St. Louis.

But since then, Snyder has owned the series. Just last year, the former Buckeye beat Gadson twice by technical fall to win the 2017 world team trials. Gadson says he’s learned from that experience and believes he’ll give it a much better shot in Lincoln.

“A lot of it is just mind maintenance,” Gadson said, “just taking care of my mind and being in a good place — a happy place. If I’m in a happy place, I’ll be excited about what takes place on the mat.

“I can be tough in a happy place.”

Tony Ramos falls in best-of-three final

The future face of Oklahoma State — and perhaps one of the next NCAA stars — took down former Hawkeye Tony Ramos on Sunday.

At 57 kilograms, Daton Fix, Oklahoma State’s star true freshman, swept Ramos in the best-of-three finals. Fix avenged his loss in the U.S. Open final last month by downing the former Iowa national champion 4-1 and 10-3. He pointed to his chest and said, “I’m coming,” after the second victory.

As such, Fix advances to Final X, where he’ll meet Thomas Gilman in a best-of-three series in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 9. Gilman, yet another former Iowa All-American, is the reigning world silver medalist at the weight and will have his hands full with Fix.

“I just have to go wrestle,” Fix said Sunday. “I feel like if I get into a wrestling match with anybody in the world, there’s a really good chance I can win. I need to make them wrestle me — I can’t wrestle their style.”

Ramos has used tough defense since joining the Senior scene, as it’s helped him to three U.S. Open titles and two world teams. But Fix overpowered Ramos in both matches, scoring a late takedown off a scramble to win in the first match, then scoring on a big four-point inside trip in the second to set the tone for a series sweep.

One thing Fix was real good at on both Saturday and Sunday was applying constant pressure and also executing re-attacks — something Gilman struggled with while at the World Cup. It’ll be a barnburner of a series in Lincoln between the proven and credential against the young and hungry.

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Former Iowa national champion Tony Ramos discusses the challenges his first two years of coaching has brought. Cody Goodwin/The Register

Nahshon Garrett to meet Joe Colon at Final X

Nahshon Garrett, a former Cornell star, won the world team trials challenge at 61 kilograms (roughly 134 pounds) this weekend to advance to Final X, where he’ll face former Northern Iowa All-American Joe Colon in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on June 23.

Garrett looked solid on Sunday, rolling through Nico Megaludis by scores of 11-0 and 10-0 to win the best-of-three series. He often flashed that patented blast double that he used to beat Cory Clark in the 2016 NCAA finals.

This will be a rematch of the U.S. Open finals, where Colon beat Garrett 20-13. The series may very well go to the third match next month, but you can expect tons of points either way with a world team spot on the line.

“Joe Colon is good at what he’s good at, and I’m good at what I”m good at,” Garrett said. “But I’ve been cleaning up what I’m good at — I need to be ready.”

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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