USA brings five past freestyle World medalists to Pan American Championships
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 21:11 By Taylor Miller
LIMA, Peru – The men’s freestyle Pan American bracket will be full of talent, including eight Senior World medalists—five of which are from the United States. The 2018 Pan American Championships will take place this week, May 3-6, in Lima, Peru, starting with Greco-Roman competition May 3-4, followed by women’s freestyle May 4-5 and men’s freestyle May 5-6.
USA athletes highlighting the men’s freestyle field are 2016 World champion Logan STIEBER at 65 kg, two-time World medalist James GREEN at 70 kg, Olympic and World bronze medal winner J’den COX at 92 kg, 2017 World silver medalist Thomas GILMAN at 57 kg and 2017 World bronze medalist Nick GWIAZDOWSKI at 125 kg.
Of these five, only one has one a Pan American championship, which was Green, who won at 70 kg in 2017.
The U.S. is also bringing along two-time Junior World champion Mark HALL at 79 kg.
In search of their first Pan Am titles, Stieber and Gilman will have to go through past World medalists. Awaiting Stieber at 65 kg is 2017 World bronze winner Alejandro Enrique VALDES TOBIER (CUB), while Gilman will have reigning U23 World champion Reineri ANDREU ORTGEA (CUB) in his bracket at 57 kg.
Valdes Tobier has collected three Pan Am gold medals (2010, 2013 and 2014).
Another Cuban World medalist in the mix is three-time World medalist and 2016 Olympic top-five placer Reneris SALAS PEREZ (CUB). Salas Perez, who owns World silvers from 2013 and 2014 and a bronze from 2010, has won four Pan American Championship titles and seeks his first since 2014. He won the Pan Am Games in 2015.
At 86 kg, Yurieski TORREBLANCA QUERALTA (CUB) looks to defend his 2017 title. He also won gold in 2015.
Two other past Pan American champions represent Cuba, counting Yurieski TORREBLANCA QUERALTA, who won in 2015 and 2017 at 86 kg, and Livan LOPEZ AZCUY, who was victorious in 2016 at 86 kg. Torreblanca is expected to compete at 86 kg and Lopez Azcuy will wrestle at 74 kg.
2011 World silver medalist Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR), who will compete at 74 kg, aims for his second Pan American title. His last came in 2011. That same year, he claimed gold at the Pan Am Games.
Other notable freestylers include 2017 Commonwealth Games bronze winner Jordan Steen at 97 kg and two-time Commonwealth Games medalist Korey Jarvis at 125 kg.
WOMEN’S FREESTYLE, May 4-5
In women’s freestyle, the 62 kg bracket is the weight to watch as it features three World medalists across all age-groups.
Leading the way is Jackeline RENTERIA CASTILLO (COL), who is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist, winning in 2008 and 2012. Most recently, she captured bronze at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France. Renteria Castillo enters her eighth Senior Pan Ams in search of her fifth championship.
Looking to challenge the Colombian are Kayla MIRACLE (USA) and Linda MORAIS (CAN). Miracle is a two-time Junior World bronze medalist, while Morais won the 2016 University World gold, followed bronze at the 2016 Senior World Championships shortly after.
Also in the mix at 62 kg is Yaquelin ESTORNELL ELIZASTIGUE (CUB), a five-time Pan Am medalist and 2013 Pan Am champion.
Other weights that will see multiple World medalists fight for the crown are 68 kg and 76 kg.
Starring in the 68 kg weight class is Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB), who grabbed two World medals in 2017, counting a Junior World silver and a U23 World bronze. Also at 68 kg is Dailane GOMES DOS REIS (BRA), a two-time World Military bronze winner.
Three-time World champion Adeline Gray is the headliner at 76 kg. Gray won World titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015. An injury kept her out of the 2017 Worlds. Gray is making her first trip to the Pan American Championships.
2017 U23 World silver medalist Gracelynn DOOGAN (CAN) will also seek her first Pan Am gold this week.
The only reigning Pan Am champion expected to enter the competition is Becka LEATHERS (USA). The 2017 World bronze medalist seeks to hold onto her 2017 Pan Am crown at 55 kg.
GRECO-ROMAN, May 3-4
Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI) and Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) are both 2017 World bronze medalists, who will fight for a Pan American title at 130 kg. Pino Hinds won last year’s 130 kg title, defeating Acosta Fernandez in the finals.
Not to be counted out at heavyweight is Robert SMITH (USA), who took bronze at last year’s event and has two top-five finishes at Senior Worlds.
Cuba also brings two other World medalists to the Greco field, including Ismael BORRERO MOLINA at 67 kg and Yasmany Daniel LUGO CABRERA at 97 kg.
A 2016 Olympic champion and 2015 World champion, Borrero Molina also owns three Pan Am gold medals. His last came in 2014.
Lugo Cabrera looks to defend his 2017 title and earn his seventh Pan American championship. The Cuban’s resume is even more impressive with a 2016 Olympic silver and a 2009 Junior World gold to his name.
Another past Junior World champion competing in Greco is Kamal BEY (USA), who won the Junior crown last summer in Tampere, Finland. Bey will wrestle at 77 kg this week.
John YEATS (CAN) was the 2017 Junior Pan Am champion and will bump up to the Senior this level, looking to contest at 77 kg. Also bumping up after a 2017 championship run at the Junior level is Joilson DE BRITO RAMOS JUNIOR (BRA), who is registered at 67 kg.
At 87 kg, reigning champion Benjamin PROVISOR (USA) will wrestle in hopes of defending his 2017 Pan Am title.
Thursday, May 3
10:00 a.m. – Greco-Roman Qualification Rounds and Repechage (55, 60, 63, 67, 72, 97, 130 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
6:00 p.m. – Greco-Roman Medal Matches (55, 60, 63, 67, 72, 97, 130 kg)
Friday, May 4
10:00 a.m. – Greco-Roman Qualification Rounds and Repechage (77, 82, 87kg) and Women’s Freestyle Qualification Rounds and Repechage (55, 59, 65 kg)
6:00 p.m. – Greco-Roman Medal Matches (77, 82, 87kg) and Women’s Freestyle Medal Matches (55, 59, 65 kg)
Saturday, May 5
10:00 a.m. –Women’s Freestyle Qualification Rounds and Repechage (50, 53, 57, 62, 68, 76 kg) and Men’s Freestyle Qualification Rounds and Repechage (79, 92 kg)
6:00 p.m. – Women Freestyle Medal Matches (50, 53, 57, 62, 68, 76 kg) and Men’s Freestyle Medal Matches (79, 92 kg)
Sunday, May 6
10:00 a.m. –Men’s Freestyle Qualification Rounds and Repechage (57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 86, 97, 125 kg)
6:00 p.m. – Men’s Freestyle Medal Matches (57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 86, 97, 125 kg)