LINCOLN — Seven of eight wrestlers who were expected to be at a press conference sat on one side of a table, awaiting for it to start Friday afternoon at the Devaney Center.
The one missing? James Green, a four-time All-American at Nebraska. Once he was reminded about the event, it didn’t take him long to make it to Devaney and to his spot at the table.
That’s one of the benefits of being at home. Green and fellow Husker Jordan Burroughs are hoping a very familiar setting helps in qualifying for another world team.
The Final X Lincoln, which helps determine Team USA’s lineup for this fall’s freestyle world championships, will take place Saturday at Devaney. There will be seven matches, with the first beginning at 6 p.m.
Four men’s weight classes and three women’s classes will be decided, with the winners earning a spot on Team USA. The Lincoln event is one of three Final X event sites; the other two take place later this month. The winners of each site advance to the world event, which will take place Oct. 20 to 28 in Budapest, Hungary.
Green will face Jason Chamberlain in the opening match at 154 pounds. Chamberlain, who trained in Lincoln for three years.
“I learned a lot while I was here,” said Chamberlain, who currently is an assistant at Fresno State. “One of the big reasons I moved here was to train with guys like James. … It’s kind of ironic that (we’re wrestling for a world team spot).”
Burroughs, a five-time world champion, will be matched with Isaiah Martinez, who was a two-time NCAA champion at Illinois, at 163 pounds in the final match. It will be their first meeting.
“It’s crazy because I’ve seen Isaiah grow up as an athlete,” Burroughs said.
Burroughs added that he’s watched Martinez defeat fellow Huskers in recent years, like Green, Tyler Berger and Isaiah White.
“It’s like all the guys on the playground that get beat up by the bully and finally go home and get their big brother. I’m the big brother,” Burroughs said. “I think it’s going to be fun.”
In between, the other men’s matches feature Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder in the heavyweight match as well as former Iowa All-American Thomas Gilman wrestling at 126 pounds.
Gilman, last year’s world silver medalist, will square off with 2017 junior world champion Daton Fix. Gilman was a four-time state champion for Omaha Skutt and said he’s “very comfortable” at Devaney.
“My hometown is about an hour away, so I’ll have a big (group) here with family and friends. I’ll looking forward to that,” Gilman said.
There will be other activities Saturday before Final X starts.
From 1 to 3 p.m. at the Devaney indoor track, Nebraska assistant Kendric Maple will conduct a youth clinic. It is geared toward wrestlers ages 8 to 18 and is free for all who have a USA Wrestling full athlete membership. The clinic is limited to the first 150 participants.
A tailgate party beginning at 3 p.m. at The Railyard downtown also will take place.
The order of Saturday’s matches:
Men’s 154 pounds: James Green vs. Jason Chamberlain
Women’s 130: Alli Ragan vs. Jenna Burkert
Men’s heavyweight: Kyle Snyder vs. Kyven Gadson
Women’s 121: Becka Leathers vs. Jacarra Winchester
Men’s 126: Thomas Gilman vs. Daton Fix
Women’s 150: Tamyra Stock vs. Randyll Beltz
Men’s 163: Jordan Burroughs vs. Isaiah Martinez