GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Female welterweight (-67kg) Paige McPherson (Sturgis, S.D.) captured the U.S. Taekwondo team’s fourth medal of the competition on Monday at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara. McPherson won the silver medal to go along with the three bronze the American squad captured over the first two days of competition.
It was a bittersweet result for McPherson who led Canada’s Melissa Pagnotta 6-2 midway through the third and final round only to see the Canadian close the gap and then tie the match with seconds remaining when McPherson had a point deducted for stepping out of bounds. That penalty tied the match 6-6 and sent the bout into a sudden death overtime period.
In the extra stanza, Pagnotta scored on a counter kick just 13 seconds into the overtime to win the gold medal.
"The last round was hard because I knew I had it,” said McPherson. “I made stupid mistakes. It's a learning experience for my overall experience of fighting in high competition. Other than that I'm very blessed and thankful of what I did because I know I wouldn't have done it without my Lord. I'm just excited for next month (Pan Am Olympic Qualifier). This was a big tournament for me but the most important one is next month. All I need to do is qualify there and win that. That is the ultimate goal. I'm not happy with my result because I know I could have won, but I'm content for now because I know in the future it's not going to be like that. It's a growing experience whether I like it or not."
McPherson won her first match of the day in convincing fashion with a 16-2 victory over Colombia’s Katherine Dumar and then prevailed in her semifinal match by a 4-1 count over Cuba’s Taimi Castellanos who would claim a bronze medal along with Katherine Rodriguez Peguero of the Dominican Republic.
In men’s welterweight (-80kg) action on Monday, TJ Curry (Berkeley, Calif.) won his opening match over Brazil’s Douglas Marcelino. Curry broke open a 4-4 tie at the end of the second round to prevail by an 8-5 count over Marcelino.
In the quarterfinals, Curry found himself in an early hole against Mexico’s Uriel Avigdor Adriano. Spurred on by the vociferous home-country crowd, Adriano scored a four-point turning head shot to take an 8-0 lead in the first round. Curry was able to close the gap to 8-2 at the end of the round and chipped away at the deficit in the second stanza, narrowing the gap to 13-7.
In the third round Curry edged even closer, making the count 15-11, but an axe kick by Adriano scored three points and the Mexican was able to walk away with a 20-13 victory.
Argentina’s Sebastian Crismanich won the gold medal, Venezuela’s Carlos Vasquez took the silver and the bronze medalists were Adriano and Guatemala’s Stuardo Andre Solorzano.
The final day of taekwondo competition is on Tuesday featuring the heavyweight division. Americans Lauren Hamon (Miami, Fla.) and Stephen Lambdin (Colleyville, Texas) will be in action for the U.S.